DASAtalks Spring 2013: 1963-2013: Fifty Years of African Studies

A Talk Series celebrating African Studies fiftieth anniversary

Sculptures in the Danford Room

In 2013 DASA (formerly Centre for West African Studies) celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. To mark the occasion, this Spring Term’s DASA Talks feature both individual research papers and larger events, including two three-hour thematic roundtables (23 January and 5 February) and one day-long postgraduate conference (22 March). Together, these Africafocused events cover a broad range of topics, disciplines, periods, and regions. This broadened focus reflects the recent expansion of expertise at Birmingham to cover all of Africa, and the recent creation of a new Department of African Studies and Anthropology (DASA), which incorporates CWAS.

The Autumn 2012 thematic talk series on Trajectories of Emancipation in West Africa attracted a consistently large audience. From late January, extracts of the talks will be accessible as podcasts on the Africa Hub website.

This Term’s events include research on eastern, southern, and western Africa by anthropologists, historians, museologists, art historians, and development sociologists. The first roundtable focuses on material culture. The two presenters, Zachary Kingdon and Fiona Sheales, take as their starting point objects displayed in the Danford Room to examine the meanings and functions of African masks, and the history and uses of goldweights, respectively. The second roundtable sheds light on an important, yet hitherto scarcely studied, Eighteenth Century German source on the Central Sudan, Carsten Niebuhr’s Das Innere von Afrika. The postgraduate-led one-day conference Sites of Memory is a wide ranging, interdisciplinary exploration of memory’s relationship to space, place, objects, texts and bodies. After the Summer break, anniversary events will culminate in a two day conference (4-6 September) which will include the first of a new annual lecture series named after CWAS’s founder John Fage. On 5 September, the first Fage Lecture will feature two joint talks by Anthony Hopkins and Gareth Austin on Africa’s economic history from a global perspective and in the longue durée.


(click title for preview)

8 January
Conundrums of cash: wage rhythms, wealth circulation and the ethics of the economy of the Zimbabwean-South African border
Max Bolt (DASA)

15 January
“The idea of the nation was superior to race”: transforming racial contours, social attitudes, and decolonizing French Empire from La Réunion 1946-1973.
Héloïse Finch (National Maritime Museum) 

23 January
ROUNDTABLE: focus on the Danford Collection

Formal Articulation of Invisible Agencies in Masks
Zachary Kingdon, World Museum Liverpool

Hanging in the balance: weighing up the goldweights of the Gold Coast
Fiona Sheales (British Museum)

30 January
The rule of fear: state violence in colonial Kenya, 1952-1955
David Anderson (Warwick)

5 February
ROUNDTABLE: focus on sources

From Afnu to Copenhagen: Tripolitan diplomatic circulation, a Hausa slave, and knowledge of Africa in 1772
Camille Lefebvre, CNRS Paris

Niebuhr's Das Innere von Afrika in relation to some later German research on interior West Africa
Mark Duffill, independent researcher

22 February
Postgraduate Workshop: Sites of Memory
Organised by DASA

5 March
Upgrading slums in Durban, South Africa
Kamna Patel (UCL)

19 March 17:15
Hiding in plain site: drone culture or sensing Africa remotely
Mark Duffield (Bristol)