Northwestern University

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Jan
17
Wed 12:00 PM

Zekeria Ahmed Salem: How to Get Away with Blasphemy

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When: Wednesday, January 17, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Room 106, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: - Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Co-Sponsor(s):
International Studies
Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

Join the Program of African Studies for our weekly lunch and lecture.

Cosponsored by the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

ISITA seminar: How to Get Away with Blasphemy: The Politics of Religious Offense in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

Zekeria Ahmed Salem, Director, ISITA and Political Science, Northwestern University

Biography
Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and Director of The Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa in the Program of African Studies. He specializes in Islam and Muslim Politics in Africa in comparative perspective. His research engages contemporary academic debates regarding religion and politics, especially the interplay in contemporary African societies of a variety of issues such as: the state, religious authority, race, social hierarchies, identity politics, Islamic knowledge and political power. Ahmed Salem secondary research interests include everyday negotiations over citizenship, bureaucratization and the Institutionalization of the state in Africa.

Jan
24
Wed 12:00 PM

Erik Ponder: Stalled Democracy, Incomplete Transition

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When: Wednesday, January 24, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Room 106, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: - Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

Join the Program of African Studies for our weekly lunch and lecture.

Stalled Democracy, Incomplete Transition: South Africa and the African National Congress at a Crossroads

Erik Ponder, Northwestern University Library

Bio and Abstract
Erik Ponder is the African Studies librarian at Michigan State University Libraries. He is a southern African specialist and has been traveling to the region for over 20 years. He has conducted numerous research projects in South Africa that have focused on contemporary issues of democracy and democratization.

The presentation explores the crisis of democracy and one-party politics in South Africa. It is posited that South Africa has experienced a partial democratic transition and that in fact the democratic process has been stalled. The presentation will analyze political developments within the past year and pay particular attention to the electoral outcome and selection of new party leadership at the 54th National Conference of the African National Congress and its implications for national elections in 2019.

Jan
31
Wed 12:00 PM

Will Reno: Investigating New Models of Civil-Military Relations in Africa

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When: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Room 106, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: - Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Co-Sponsor(s):
International Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

Join the Program of African Studies for our weekly lunch and lecture.

Investigating New Models of Civil-Military Relations in Africa: Evidence from the Field

Will Reno, Director, PAS, Political Science

Biography
Professor Reno's research, teaching, service and community engagements focus on understanding the causes of political violence, comparisons of political violence in Africa with political violence elsewhere, the organization and behavior of insurgent groups, and the politics of authoritarian regimes. He collects data through field research, and consultation of primary documents, and critical readings of secondary sources. Reno's analytical method includes the comparison of case studies, chosen to maximize controls of particular variables in efforts to identify strong causal links. Blending an observational approach from the traditions of area studies with qualitative analytical models in the field of Comparative Politics, he participates in a conversation with anthropology and sociology about how to conduct ethical and analytically rewarding research in politically unstable environments. Reno also participates in broad analytical debates about the nature of corruption and coercion and their roles in the development of political institutions and the changing nature of contemporary insurgencies.

Feb
7
Wed 12:00 PM

Pamela Khanakwa: “Take him and tell him to be circumcised”

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When: Wednesday, February 7, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Room 106, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: - Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Co-Sponsor(s):
International Studies
History Department
Buffett Institute for Global Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

Join the Program of African Studies for our weekly lunch and lecture.

“Take him and tell him to be circumcised”: Moral Order and Respectability in Early Postcolonial Uganda

Pamela Khanakwa, History, Archaeology, and Heritage Studies at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda (currently visiting scholar, University of Michigan)

Bio
Pamela Khanakwa is a lecturer in the Department of History, Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. She is currently visiting at the African Studies Centre at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor under the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholarship (UMAPS). At the University of Michigan, she is working on her book project tentatively entitled: “Bagisu Men Don’t Cry: Imbalu and the Construction of Masculinities in Uganda”.

She received her Ph.D. in History from Northwestern University in Evanston in 2011and worked as a Research Fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University before taking up appointment in the Department of History.

Dr. Khanakwa won a postdoctoral fellowship of the American Council of Learned Societies on the African Humanities Program (2013/2014) and an individual grant from the African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council in 2015.

She has carried out research in eastern Uganda on masculinities, ethnicity and land struggles. She has contributed a chapter in Doing Conceptual History in Africa (2016) edited by Fleisch and Stephens.

Abstract
This paper explores circumcision controversies in early postcolonial Uganda where several cases of forcible circumcision were reported among the Gisu in the eastern part of the country. In contrast to existing literature that explains the centrality of imbalu (male circumcision) in marking the transition from boyhood to manhood, this paper examines why some “boys” defied the cultural requirement on one hand, and why Gisu “ethnic patriots” enforced it, on the other. First, the paper argues that Gisu elites especially those employed in the civil service rejected imbalu because they considered it irrelevant to their needs and identity in postcolonial Uganda. Through education and employment, they were confident that they had acquired alternative manhood. Secondly, the paper argues that the ethnic patriots pursued and forcibly circumcised defaulters because they wanted to protect the deep rooted cultural institution that defined the Gisu as a moral community. And because they were worried about their numbers and place in Independent Uganda, they deployed forcible circumcision in order to “tribalize” the uncircumcised and promote social discipline, moral order as well as respectability. They feared that deviant actions such as rejecting imbalu threatened the social fabric and existence of the Gisu who were a cultural minority in the multi-ethnic Ugandan nation-state.

Feb
14
Wed 12:00 PM

Adeline Masquelier: The Taste of Prayer

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When: Wednesday, February 14, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, Room 106, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: - Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Co-Sponsor(s):
International Studies
Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa
Buffett Institute for Global Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings

Description:

Cosponsored by the Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)

ISITA seminar: The Taste of Prayer: Making Sense of Sufi Devotional Practice in Niger

Adeline Masquelier, Anthropology, Tulane University

Abstract:

The salāt al-fātih (Arabic: ‘prayer of the opener’) is one of the sacred formulas members of the Tijāniyya Sufi order recite numerous times each day as part of the litanies they are enjoined to perform. Also known as the prayer on the Prophet, the salāt al-fātih has been the object of a bitter controversy between Tijānīs and reform-minded Muslims. In Niger members of the Society for the Removal of Innovation and Reinstatement of the Sunna reject salāt al-fātih as un-Islamic. Their Tijānī opponents insist it is a central element of Islamic worship: it purifies the heart while helping reciters reach closeness to God. In my talk I discuss a Tijānī adept’s comparison of the recitation of salat al-fatih to the ingestion of delectable food and consider how pleasure provides a gateway to a heightened awareness of the divine. Through a focus on the delectability of prayer, I explore the role of sensual delight in Sufi spiritual interiority.

Bio:

Adeline Masquelier is Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University. Her research, based upon long-term field research in Dogondoutchi, Niger, focuses on spirit possession, reformist Islam, Bori religious practices, twinship, witchcraft, the pathology of consumption, medical anthropology, and gender. Masquelier’s books include Women and Islamic Revival in a West African Town (Indiana University Press, 2009), winner of the 2010 Herskovits Award for best scholarly book on Africa; and Prayer Has Spoiled Everything: Possession, Power, and Identity in an Islamic Town in Niger (Duke University Press, 2001). She has contributed chapters to edited collections on veiling in Africa, African dress and fashion, African agency in the appropriation of global culture, and African divinities. She recently co-edited, with Benjamin Soares, Muslim Youth and the 9/11 Generation (University of New Mexico Press, 2013).