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Centre for Africa Studies : News

Centre for Africa Studies Fellow and PhD Graduate, Prisca Odero, awarded prestigious 2014 African Studies Association (ASA) Presidential Fellowship

Prisca Odero, who obtained her PhD (Africa Studies) at the July 2014 ceremony at the UFS, received the African Studies Association Presidential Fellow award at the ASA Annual Meeting that was held from 20-23 November 2014 in Indianapolis, USA. She was nominated by Dr Cyril Obi from the Social Science Research Council (New York) and was competitively selected based on her PhD thesis and applied research work in rural development in Africa.

On 22 November 2014, she also gave a public lecture at the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. The event was hosted by the Political Science Department at Brooklyn College. Her paper titled “Sources and role of social capital in smallholder agricultural production: The value of membership of community groups to Zimbabwe rural livelihoods” sought to address the question whether social capital contributed to the resilience of rural households in the face of economic difficulties and food security challenges. Dr Odero argued that the link between social capital and agricultural production manifests in the ways in which farmers use social capital derived from membership of groups to alleviate agricultural production challenges.

Smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe, who face constraints in acquiring the necessary resources for production due to failing markets and reduced agro-industry productive capacity, employ a range of methods to deal with the challenges. She presented an analysis of data that was collected through focus group discussions with representatives groups and through a household survey.

Dr Odero’s research forms part of a book project. While books on agricultural development knowledge do exist, more studies that analyse issues and offer solutions from an African perspective would help to address the gap in African knowledge production.

Description: Prisca for UFS Tags: Prisca for UFS

Photo: Dr Odero (on the right) pictured with Suzanne Baazet, ASA Executive Director at the Awards Ceremony.



Centre for Africa Studies staff attend International Conference on African Studies in Accra, Ghana

The Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, celebrated their 50th anniversary with the International Conference on African Studies, from 24-26 October 2013. Representing the UFS at the conference was Professor Heidi Hudson (Director), Dr Stephanie Cawood and Ms Kamo Dipico from the Centre of Africa Studies. The theme of the conference was ‘Revisiting the first international congress of Africanists in a globalised world’. The conference opened formally with, among others, a keynote address by Dr Carlos Lopes (Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) and a closing statement from the President of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama.

A large number of international delegates attended the conference and it offered an exceptional African experience and diversity in cultures and languages. Included was a film screening on Heritage Africa, exhibitions of African writers’ books and cultural items, a fashion show promoting various African fabrics and designs, and an experiential tour of the Central region of Ghana and its slave trade history.

The conference closed officially with a memorable evening banquet and special awards ceremony. Professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o, literary scholar and writer, was the keynote speaker for the evening. A continental African Studies Association was launched at the conference and directors of Centres and Institutes participated in a round table to reassess theories and methodologies for the study of Africa.

It goes without saying that a great wealth of knowledge and expertise was gained. The conference further offered the Centre for Africa Studies valuable networking opportunities as well as the chance to showcase it's programmes.


CAS to hold panel discussion on Africa and Migration

The Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) will hold a panel discussion on migration-related issues affecting the continent, entitled "Africa and Migration: From Analysis to Action", as part of its May 25 celebration of Africa Day. For more information on the panel discussion, click here.


CAS holds seminar on art and tradition

The Centre for Africa Studies (CAS) recently held a seminar on African art as an instrument to bridge cultural divides. The seminar was conducted by Dr Tzfira Gitay, a renowned art historian from Beersheva, Israel. She was accompanied by her husband, Prof Yehoshua Gitay, who delivered a lecture on Orality: a creative, living culture. A joint project between CAS and Israel regarding the orality of an oral tradition is in the pipeline. The goal of the seminar was to revive research into the tradition of oral literature.

Description: CAS seminar on Art and Tradition Tags: CAS,Seminar, Art, Tradition

From left to right, is: Prof Yehoshua Gitay, rhetorical and biblical scholar, Stephanie Cawood from CAS and Dr Tzfira Gitay, art historian.

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