African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships

Through fellowship competitions, regional workshops, and peer networking, the African Humanities Program provides support to the humanities in five African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The centerpiece of the program is the distribution of fellowships to African scholars in these countries for work on dissertations, research projects, and scholarly manuscripts. Postdoctoral awards are listed below; also see dissertation completion awards.The program is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Read more about this fellowship program.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

Related Links

Search for Fellows and Grantees

Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

 

Ihuoma Akinremi
Ihuoma Akinremi  |  Abstract
Some scholars have proposed that verbs are inserted into derivations as fully-inflected elements, and that the features of the inflectional elements that attach to the verbs are checked in the Functional Projections. Another position assumes a typological difference between languages with respect to the configuration of verbal affixes in the lexicon. The fact that African second-language speakers of English speak first languages that are typologically different from one another makes it possible to compare code-mixing in different language pairs involving English and an African language. Patterns of English verbal morphology observed in such code-mixing reveal that English verbs are treated in systematically different ways by bilinguals with different first-language backgrounds. This study suggests that the inflectional properties of the speakers’ first languages affect the treatment of English verbs in code-mixing environments, and points to a typological distinction between languages in the way verbal affixes are configured in the lexicon.

Lecturer, Languages and Linguistics, University of Jos  -  The Syntax of English Verbs in Intra-Sentential Code-Switching: A Comparison of Three English-African Language Pairs

Irikidzayi Manase
Irikidzayi Manase  |  Abstract
This study examines texts describing the nature of the land invasions and their impact on the perception of land and the constitution of imaginaries on identities and social memory in post-2000 Zimbabwe. The fictional and non-fictional narratives—mostly written by white commercial farmers and people with ties to the land under siege—and other media, political, and cultural texts produced by the government and ordinary citizens are examined from a postcolonial perspective. The study considers the significance of historical, ideological, social, and spatial divisions in shaping the writers’, and other citizens’, experiences on and off the land. The work is also concered with contestations between white farmers and the state, and between the opposition and the ruling party, over perceptions of the land and its ownership, as well as the construction of social and national identities within the current postcolonial condition characterised by a Euro-American global domination.

Senior Lecturer, English, University of Venda  -  The Post-2000 Land Invasions in Zimbabwe: A Study of Literary and Cultural Representations, 2000 to 2006

Jemima Akosua Anderson
Jemima Akosua Anderson  |  Abstract
This project examines the use of politeness strategies by Ghanaian language-English bilinguals. It investigates whether bilinguals in Ghana follow Ghanaian language politeness norms or English politeness norms when they speak English or if they create innovative, syncretic norms that result in hybridized politeness expressions. Specifically, the study examines the syntactic and semantic structures that are used in the performance of five polite speech acts: compliments, apologies, thanks, greetings, and refusals by bilingual speakers of English and three major Ghanaian languages (Akan, Ewe, and Ga). The study contributes to our understanding of how the concept of politeness works in a non-Western bilingual context. The study also provides evidence to support the theoretical argument that current theories or models of politeness have a Western or even “Anglo” bias and therefore cannot claim to present a universal theory that can be applied to all languages and all cultures.

Lecturer, English, University of Ghana  -  Politeness: Some Perspectives from Africa

Fainos Mangena
Fainos Mangena  |  Abstract
This project demonstrates that the notion of retributive punishment, which is valorized in Western communities for its emphasis on individual freedoms and rights, has no place or relevance in African society, particularly among the KoreKore-Nyombwe people of Northern Zimbabwe whose values are communitarian. The argument is located in the discourse of the dealth penalty in Zimbabwe. The philosophy of ubuntu favors restorative punishment with ngozi as its motivator. Using content analysis and in-depth interviews, and drawing from both Western and African literature, the study argues that the death penalty should be abolished in Zimbabwe because its main concern is retribution, which is not an important value among the Korekore-Nyombwe people.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Leadership Ethics in Africa, University of Fort Hare  -  On Ubuntu and Retributive Punishment: An Ethical Investigation

Michael Andindilile
Michael Andindilile  |  Abstract
The project examines the relationship between English and African indigenous languages in literary discourse. Extending Derek Bickerton’s pioneering study, it argues that the role of English, a former colonial language, serves as an arbiter in the re-imagining of diverse African communities. This Anglophone African literary-linguistic continuum exists in the relationship between literary English and the indigenous languages and cultures that it imaginatively and concretely embodies in traditionally non-native universes of discourse. By acknowledging the local and national peculiarities as well as the effects of English as a shared former colonial language, the study establishes that a continuum extends across the fiction of four of Africa's most prominent Anglophone novelists: Chinua Achebe of Nigeria in West Africa, Ngugi wa Thiong’o of Kenya in East Africa, Nadine Gordimer of South Africa, and Nuruddin Farah of Somalia in the Horn of Africa.

Lecturer, Literature, University of Dar es Salaam  -  The Anglophone African Literary-Linguistic Continuum: English and Indigenous African Languages in African Literary Discourse

Eyo Offiong Mensah
Eyo Offiong Mensah  |  Abstract
This project examines the sociocultural and grammatical relevance of personal names in Awutu-Efutu, an endangered Guan language spoken predominantly in Winneba, Senya Beraku, Obutu, and Bawjiase, West of Accra Capital District of Ghana. The study investigates how Awutu-Efutu personal names can define, express, and affect social relationships. The study also shows that personal names in Awutu-Efutu can trigger significant grammatical information, because these names are not just words in the lexicon, but are often phrases, clauses, and sentences of various kinds, structures, and functions. The study compares the Awutu-Efutu naming tradition with that of the dominant Fante language and culture to ascertain the degree of influence. The study argues that Awutu-Efutu personal names are not mere identifiers, but are term of great social significance, influencing, among other things, social organization, notion of personhood, and sociocentrism, in addition to providing an excellent window to the grammatical structure of the Awutu-Efutu language. The study brings new insights into language classification in Ghana.

Lecturer, Linguistics & Communication Studies, University of Calabar  -  Awutu-Efutu Personal Names: Sociolinguistic and Grammatical Insights

Alexander Chinwuba Asigbo
Alexander Chinwuba Asigbo  |  Abstract
The creative potentials of myths and oral performances in African societies have not always received the requisite attention from scholars of performance studies in Africa. Since man is today trying to retrace his footsteps, especially in the area of his irresponsible attitude towards the wisdom of the ancients, the challenge for this study is to examine and unravel the journey of a traditional myth/ritual performance from a purely religious obligation to recreational drama and mercantile art. Since vanishing traditions deserve a study of their decline, transformation, and revival, Schechner’s (2002) contention—that rituals and folk performances are not just deposit vaults for cultural heritages but could be capable of engendering fresh insights into a people’s way of life—deserves our support. Harrison’s (1913) postulation that “when ritual wanes, art waxes” is thus revalidated for folklore theory. Against this background, the study frames the Ikeji Masquerade Festival of Arondizuogu as an example of a ritual that has suffered violence on account of the advent of the foreign religions of Christianity and Islam but which, out of sheer resilience, is regenerating into commercial art and agent of tourism.

Lecturer, Arts and Theatre Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe University  -  From Ritual to Mercantile Art: A Study of the Ikeji Masquerade Performance of Arondizuogu

Hugues Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza
Hugues Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza  |  Abstract
Languages in contact invariably adopt words from one another and regularly adapt these words to fit the phonotactic as well as phonetic structure of the particular language. The occurrence of adoptives (loanwords) in African languages is a case in point, particularly as new terms (technical and otherwise) are generated in larger languages of the world such as English and French and, out of necessity, find their way into local languages. A “Preferred Syllable” hypothesis states that a language has an inherent set of preferred syllables (i.e. specific combinations of consonant and vowel types) with the preferred syllable taking precedence in the case of trans-phonologisation.This research project (i) tests the above hypothesis with a focus on the nature of syllable structures of Zulu and Xhosa, (ii) conducts a series of perception and/or articulatory tests with mother tongue speakers/listeners of, respectively, Zulu and Xhosa to determine a possible relationship to syllable structures, and (iii) considers sociolinguistic factors that could contribute to a preference for a particular syllable structure.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Language & Speech Technology, Stellenbosch University  -  A Comparative and Phonetico-Phonological Experimental Study of Preferred Syllable Structures in Zulu and Xhosa Adoptives

Abosede Rashidat Omowumi Babatunde
Abosede Rashidat Omowumi Babatunde  |  Abstract
The Yoruba and Africa as a whole have a rich cultural heritage that serves as a formidable channel of conflict resolution. The quest for peace in the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria cannot succeed without the adoption of relevant aspects of traditional cultural belief systems in the management of oil-induced conflict. The relative peace among the oil-producing communities of Ilaje, a Yoruba subgroup, could be attributed to their cultural beliefs and practices including rites of passage for the dead, beliefs pertaining to the ancestral power of elders and of Ayelala (their goddess), and Yoruba intrinsic culture of peace. Comparative study of these cultural beliefs also reveals their relevance and viability in resolving contemporary African conflict in the evolution of a culture of peace. Methodology adopted to elicit data for this study includes participant observation, in-depth interviewing with key informants, and focus group discussion.

Academic Administrator, The Polytechnic, Ibadan  -  The Role of Culture and Belief Systems in the Management of Oil-Induced Conflict in Ilaje, Ondo State, Nigeria

Koblowe Obono
Koblowe Obono  |  Abstract
The project investigates the nature of a largely neglected African traditional communication structure. It identifies the language used in grassroots sexuality communication and management in Ugep, Nigeria, and argues for existing coded verbal and nonverbal techniques. However, little is known about the language or cultural vocabulary that reveals cultural significance. Assessment of sounds, symbols, and scripts presents stylistic features conveying information that emphasize cultural models, ideas, and emotions. Through qualitative methodology, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and unobtrusive observation, the study examines the phenomenon, with particular focus on the role of the “leboku” festival in sexuality information enhancement. The project highlights aspects of language that have previously been glossed over in oral historiography. The research is also meta-methodological in that findings will significantly contribute to further empirical understanding of elements and processes of sexuality language dynamics in a Nigerian society.

Faculty, Mass Communication, Covenant University  -  Sounds, Symbols, and Scripts of African Sexuality: An Analysis of Language Dynamics in Traditional Ugep, Southern Nigeria

Okaka Opio Dokotum
Okaka Opio Dokotum  |  Abstract
This project examines selected contemporary Western novels and films set in Africa by assessing the degree to which they reproduce the colonial template in Rider Haggard’s “King Solomon’s Mines” (1885), the first colonial novel set in Africa, and its 1950 movie adaptation.The study addresses this question through analysis of three contemporary western novels: Clive Cussler's “Sahara” (1992), John Le Carre’s “The Constant Gardener” (2001), and Giles Foden’s “The Last King of Scotland” (1998), and their film adaptations. The research is grounded in the contemporary literature/film adaptation theory of transtextuality and examines how the characters, themes, and attitudes in the colonial novel are “de(re)composed” and “incarnate” on the screens, and how the films hold onto the “spirit” of the colonial hypertexts. It also investigates the self-reflexivity in recent films that metatextually critique their novel sources, pointing to a minimal shift in the representation of Africa and of Africans.

Lecturer, Literature, Kyambogo University  -  Contemporary Western Literary and Filmic Representations of Africa: Reproducing the Colonial Template

Freeborn Odiboh
Freeborn Odiboh  |  Abstract
The project contextualizes the issues of decolonizing knowledge from African perspectives. It does so by examining Eurocentric curricula in modern African art history. Art history as a discipline developed its concepts in relation to Western art and culture, yet African art history developed within the discipline of anthropology. Thus, anthropological perspectives and methods have been critical to discussions within African art history. As a result, the same lack of perception that dogged the early Western study of traditional African art remains in the study or (non-study) of modern African art. The work develops a new curriculum for a modern African art history program at the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree levels, following a methodology that emphasizes historical content. The curriculum revolutionizes the study of African art history and situates it within global art-historical studies.

Lecturer, Fine Arts & Applied Art, University of Benin  -  Africanizing a Modern African Art History Curriculum for Tertiary Institutions, from an African Perspective

Gloria MT Emezue
Gloria MT Emezue  |  Abstract
The study argues that variables of style, linguistic sociolect, and thematic thrusts identifiable in contemporary African poetry from the Western, Eastern, and Southern regions of Africa owe much to the interplay between social forces and the poets’ understanding and interpretation of these forces on the one hand, and the interaction between poems in an anthology on the other. What we finally comprehend as a poet’s unique style, presented through language, is informed by his/her interpretation of political, economic, sociohistorical, cultural, philosophical, and religious factors within a dialogic interplay of mutual recognition and utterances.

Lecturer, English, Ebonyi State University  -  Dialogizing Postcolonial African Poetry: A Study of Selected Poetry Collections from Western, Eastern, and Southern Africa

Mark Benge Okot
Mark Benge Okot  |  Abstract
Acoli women in contemporary society, though disadvantaged, are certainly not powerless in the complex gender power relations matrix. Women exercise agency and power with regard to their male counterparts in society, patriarchal structures and ideologies notwithstanding. This project analyzes gender identity construction and the forms and sites of power enactment, as they are mediated through the expressive economy of songs. The research therefore readdresses some of the theoretical shortcoming that, collusively, negatively portray gender differentiation. The work seeks to reorient attention, highlighting ways in which gender differentiation is harnessed as a resource. The project also analyzes how Acoli females use traditional notions of gender to negotiate public and personal concerns through song performances.

Lecturer, Literature, Makerere University  -  Gender, Identity, and Power in Acoli Song Performances

Felix Abidemi Fabunmi
Felix Abidemi Fabunmi  |  Abstract
The goal of this study is to epitomize Yorùbá noun phrase productivity in the construction and morphological representation of the infinite set of Yorùbá numerals. The study focuses on five Yorùbá dialects spoken in three different countries: Nigeria (Àwórì, Ìlàje, Ìyàgbà), the Republic of Benin (Ìdáàtsa), and the Republic of Togo (Ifè). The study provides the various rule schemata like discontinuities and polysemy for the vagaries of the Yorùbá numeral system. It also describes the different compositional processes that can be employed for numerals. There are many ways of forming the number words since Yorùbá employs addition to and subtraction from vigesimal and other units as well as multiplication in numeral derivation. The study investigates the question: do dialectological differences in Yorùbá numeral derivational techniques lead to changes in meaning? It also describes how the Yorùbá numerals, which have unique morphosyntactic properties, interact with the rest of the Yorùbá grammar.

Department Head, Linguistics & African Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University  -  A Vigesimal Numeral Derivational Morphology of Five Yorùbá Dialects

Shani Omari
Shani Omari  |  Abstract
This project examines the literary and cultural significance of Bongo and Zenji Fleva in Tanzanian culture and in Kiswahili literature. Zenji Fleva is included because Zanzibar's population, unlike that of the Tanzanian mainland, is largely Muslim and heavily influenced by Arab culture. This project enables us to understand and appreciate the literary characteristics and cultural practices of Bongo/Zenji Fleva in Tanzania, and serves as a basis of comparison between Bongo/Zenji Fleva and other hip hop cultures. The Bongo/Zenji Fleva artists themselves will be proud to see the importance of their work in Tanzania.

Lecturer, University of Dar es Salaam  -  The Role of Bongo Fleva in Tanzanian Literature and Culture

Folasade Olayinka Ifamose
Folasade Olayinka Ifamose  |  Abstract
In recognition of the place of iron and steel in national development, this study investigates the major constraints faced by Nigeria in developing a viable steel industry. It examines the formulation and implementation of industrial policies in Nigeria, using the Ajaokuta Steel Complex (ASC) as a case study. This work places issues in policy formulation and implementation in broad historical context, a context that extends beyond Nigeria. To arrive at a significant conclusion, a systematic methodological framework is employed. This framework enables a comparative analysis of the events in the steel sector in Nigeria and other parts of the world, especially LDCs, that at one time or another embarked on iron and steel projects. The work asserts that there is no validity in speculation that international conspiracy, lack of capital (which in any case was not applicable to ASC at the early stage of implementation), or the choice of technology were responsible for the failure of ASC at implementation. Rather, the project suffered from a dearth of experienced managers, lack of technicians, and the endemic corruption that has plagued Nigerian society since independence in 1960.

Lecturer, History, University of Abuja  -  Industrial Policy and Implementation in Nigeria: The Case of Ajaokuta Steel Complex, 1958 to 1992

Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale
Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale  |  Abstract
Tokunbo phenomenon is associated with Nigeria’s experience of the Western world. Tokunbo means “from over the seas.” During the colonial period and up to the late-1980s, it was common for Yoruba parents who conceived or bore children in Western countries to name those children “Tokunbo.” Such children are accorded elite status among their peers. Since the early 1990s however, “Tokunbo” has been used to describe imported second-hand goods—such as vehicles, automotive spare parts, electronics, and clothes—that have become more popular within the last 20 years. The choice to purchase second-hand goods has often been associated with financial hardship. Moving beyond this economic explanation, this study investigates the social dynamics of the Tokunbo phenomenon in the context of a growing second-hand economy in South-Western Nigeria. It draws on qualitative data and methods including archival records, oral history, in-depth interviews, focus-group discussions, and case studies in the cities of Lagos, Ibadan, and Abeokuta.

Faculty, Social Sciences, University of Ibadan  -  The Dynamics of Tokunbo Phenomenon and Imported Second-Hand Economy in Southwestern Nigeria

Wendy Isaacs-Martin
Wendy Isaacs-Martin  |  Abstract
Groups in close proximity are likely to be groups in conflict. A group that possesses a social identity that varies from another, whether in a subtle or obvious manner, poses a potential threat. While different cultures can coexist, they do not fuse into a single entity that incorporates social equality. In South Africa citizens and foreigners might be neighbors but there are varying levels of tension; socialization is limited and insufficient to prevent these neighbors from becoming targets when there is conflict. According to the ideological model of scapegoating, economic changes and rapid social change create confusion within communities, which then respond by interpreting these developments and considering a violent solution. Within a given cultural context the interpretation of events, though wrong, might not necessarily be irrational, as communities revert back to the source of their knowledge to understand causality and justify their actions. Leadership is therefore central to the interpretation of events and the creation of national identity.

Fellow, Political & Governmental Studies, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University  -  How National Identity is Formed in Frustration and Alienation by Employing the Scapegoat Mechanism

Adoyi Felix Onoja
Adoyi Felix Onoja  |  Abstract
Are there lessons to be learned from the policing organizations and methods employed in the Benue Province during the colonial period? Examining this history reveals dynamics that caused increasing insecurity in the polity and the seeming inability of the police to cope. Insecurity has manifested itself in conflict between ethnic groups in Central Nigeria and other constituencies in Nigeria. The colonial police managed security using social and cultural indices in conjunction with focused leadership. Their methods could contain answers for managing current insecurity problems, and even provide an example for other parts of Africa with a high density of ethnic groups. Using primary and secondary sources, the project studies colonial-period Benue police methods in order to understand contemporary insecurity in Central Nigeria.

Lecturer, History, Nasarawa State University  -  Issues in Policing the Benue Province: Towards Understanding and Mitigating Contemporary Insecurity in Central Nigeria

Ibrahim Abdulganiy Jawondo
Ibrahim Abdulganiy Jawondo  |  Abstract
At every stage in the development of Islam, women have been involved. However, there is a dearth of sources on the subject. Sources are notably lacking on the role of women in the Islamic city of Ilorin, which is particulatly troubling given the fact that the city is the route through which Islam got to most towns of southern Nigeria. Ilorin women have been uniquely engaged in teaching, preaching, and writing on issues relating to family life. This project, through extensive use of primary and secondary sources, documents women's contributions to the development of Islamic scholarship in Ilorin. Soures include songs, poems, and excursions. Results are then related to the promotion of Islamic scholarship and gender studies locally, nationally, regionally and internationally.

Faculty, History, University of Ilorin  -  Women and the Development of Islamic Scholarship in Ilorin Emirate, 1960 to 2000

Agatha Ijeoma Onwuekwe
Agatha Ijeoma Onwuekwe  |  Abstract
In all communities of the world, death is a regular occurrence. As Caesar in Shakespeare's play said: “…death, a necessary end will come when it will come.” Ekwulobia town provides no exception to this natural phenomenon. Women sing and dance during funerals to console the bereaved. It is a period of grief for all. Funerals call for serious reflection. A lot of lessons are learned from funeral songs. Unfortunately, this valuable cultural heritage appears to be disappearing gradually as a result of the influence of Christianity on the beliefs, norms, and values of people in Ekwulobia. The present generation appears to have adopted an attitude of nonchalance towards these songs. It is feared that if this continues, a very important musical heritage will be lost. This project collects, notates, and analyzes the funeral songs, and in doing so preserves them for posterity.

Lecturer, Music, Nnamdi Azikiwe University  -  Collection, Notation, and Analysis of Women’s Indigenous Compositions of Funeral Songs in Ekwulobia Autonomous Community

Ikenna Kamalu
Ikenna Kamalu  |  Abstract
This study investigates the rhetorical description of analogous metaphorical frames involving the mapping of the ontology of the spirit-child onto that of the nation in Ben Okri’s fiction. It is primarily concerned with how the metaphor of “abiku”(spirit-child) is used to provide a criticism/appraisal of ideology, power, politics, identity, and inter-group relationship in Okri’s society. In short, it explores Okri’s use of the rhetoric of metaphorization to signify the “abiku”-nation relationship.

Senior Manager, English, University Press Plc  -  Abiku in Ben Okri’s Imagination of Nationhood

Ifeanyichukwu Onwuzuruigbo
Ifeanyichukwu Onwuzuruigbo  |  Abstract
Although emerging research addresses the crises of urbanization in Africa, it has allocated minimal attention—if any at all—to the plight of the dead, especially the struggle for burial spaces in urban cemeteries. In Nigeria as elsewhere in Africa, migrants, particularly from rural enclaves, troop into the cities daily and push the urban population to the brink of explosion. Population explosion inevitably places overwhelming pressures on the already saturated but inefficient social amenities and infrastructure. More important for this study, population explosion engenders contest for “living spaces”; however, it is not often realized that there is a struggle for “living spaces” for the dead in urban cemeteries as well. Relying on archival records, interviews, and observation, this study examines the struggle for “living spaces” for dead urbanites in urban cemeteries and how local beliefs about death and burial rites mediate this struggle.

Lecturer, Sociology, University of Ibadan  -  Struggling for Space: Urban Cemeteries and Burial Spaces in Ibadan, Southwestern Nigeria

Adalbertus Kamanzi
Adalbertus Kamanzi  |  Abstract
This study investigates how modernity has influenced people’s ecosophies. It argues that modernity, with its universalizing character, along with the revolutions in thinking about nature and economics, has influenced local people’s ecosophies, resulting in an environmental ethos more likely to generate environmental exploitative practices. The field research is ethnomethodological in approach, and studies the utilization of the natural environment in the rituals celebrating the life moments of birth, marriage, and death. The project uses content and discourse analyses to establish links between modernity and the resulting localized environmental ethos responsible for environmental exploitative practices. The research is conducted among the Haya people of Bukoba, in Tanzania.

Lecturer, Development Studies, University of Dodoma  -  An Ethnomethodological Study of Modernity's Influence on the Ecosophies of Local People

Paul Osifodunrin
Paul Osifodunrin  |  Abstract
Kidnapping for ransom has become a major growth area in criminal activity in Nigeria. As disturbing as this trend is, it is a temporary fad when compared to the deeper problem of child kidnapping for rituals and trafficking investigated in this study. During the colonial period, especially after World War II, child kidnappers caused panic in Lagos as they seized children for various ends. This continued in the post-independence era at an even more alarming pace. This study examines the nature of this phenomenon in Lagos, drawing out patterns and trends by analyzing official and popular responses to the crime.

Lecturer, History, University of Lagos  -  Better Dead than Missing: Child Kidnapping (gbomogbomo) in Lagos, 1945 to 1999

Agnes Kamya
Agnes Kamya  |  Abstract
This project explores urban women’s experiences of a “two-stage” democratic transition under the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government from 1986 to 2009. It includes in-depth ethnographic research (covering a first-stage under a “no-party” system, 1986-2006) and comparative data from new fieldwork focusing on the transition to political pluralism (2004-2009). An anthropological approach, with an emphasis on reflexivity and “thick description” grounded in an in-depth historical analysis, reveals the ways in which a multiplicity of ideologies of culture, tradition, religion, and politics converge in day-to-day life under democratisation. The study explores, describes, and analyses the dialectical relationship between gender, class, culture, and political economy which in turn determines local understandings and modes of women’s participation in formal politics and collective activities.

Faculty, Makerere Institute of Social Research  -  Gender, Class, and Cultural Change under Democratization in Uganda

Ruth Simbao
Ruth Simbao  |  Abstract
This research creates new bridges between the study of contemporary art of South Africa and China in order to explore and complicate recently revived Sino-African relations. Responding to the “Western” bias of the international art world, it positions current Sino-African engagements in the scholarship of the “Global South,” and critiques metageographies that stereotype African and Asian societies. Further, this mobilizes a critique of Western-driven theories of diaspora and globalization. Contemporary visual art is analyzed as a way of examining sociopolitical changes, and as a way of responding, in a nuanced way, to China’s global socioeconomic and cultural expansion. Major themes include contemporary clashes with traditional culture; commodification and kitsch; walls as metaphors for boundaries and security; text, meaning, and power; and nation, place, and site-specificity. Following these themes, “conversations” between specific Chinese and South African artists will be explored.

Senior Lecturer, Fine Arts, Rhodes University  -  Contemporary Art of the Global South: New Engagements Between South Africa and China

Susan Nalugwa Kiguli
Susan Nalugwa Kiguli  |  Abstract
This study explores the process and practice of contemporary oral performance in post-apartheid South Africa and post-civil war Uganda, and particularly focuses upon the practice of oral poetry and popular song as understood by performers. The study argues that popular song and oral poetry are idioms that reflect complex social, cultural, and political issues influencing the society in which they are produced. To understand oral poetry and popular song in Africa, the study explores the importance of the performer-audience relationship and its connection to “traditional” and cultural memory by comparing the practice in South Africa to Uganda. Central to this study is the relationship between performer, composition process, audience, purpose, and overall context in which the performance takes place. The study therefore assesses oral performance from within its situation of production and consumption.

Senior Lecturer, Literature, Makerere University  -  Oral Poetry and Popular Song in South Africa and Uganda: A Study of Contemporary Performance