Anthropology of/in Africa

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Anthropology of/in Africa

A place to discuss anthropological research in Africa, and the state of the discipline in African universities.

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Latest Activity: Jan 12

Anthropology of Africa and Anthropology in Africa

In a recent post I wrote for Savage Minds, I discussed the state of anthropology in Nigeria, and by extension Africa.

The note on which I ended the post pretty much summarises why I think we need to have a lively discussion not just on the anthropology of Africa, but on the reputation of the discipline in Africa, and its state in African universitities:

Does Nigeria, and by extension other African countries, have need of the anthropologist’s contribution in its present predicament? Can the problems thrown up in the country be framed in anthropological ways? Are these problems not always being framed in such ways whether or not people realize or admit it, whether or not people study their society, its mental, material and behavioural artefacts, and engage one another, self and other, with the benefit of ethnographic and theoretical training received in university departments of anthropology? At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, I think that it is always anthropology, good or bad—from Huntington to Soyinka.

Discussion Forum

Stereotypes and Africa 11 Replies

Started by Olumide Abimbola. Last reply by Charlotte Joy Feb 20, 2012.

Anthropology in Kenya 4 Replies

Started by Stacy A A Hope. Last reply by Nathan Dobson Oct 19, 2011.

Chabal and the political anthropology of Africa 2 Replies

Started by Olumide Abimbola. Last reply by Maria Beatriz Rodriguez-Feo Sep 3, 2010.

Comment Wall

Comment by Olumide Abimbola on June 2, 2009 at 2:23pm
I'm going to go ahead and introduce myself.

I am a Nigerian PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. My dissertation is on the international trade in secondhand clothing, from Britain to Nigeria, through Cotonou in Benin. I am describing how the trade works, and the different institutions and relations that sustain it.

A major area of focus is on explaining why the importation of secondhand clothing is not only dominated by the Igbo, but why most of the importers and wholesalers in Cotonou are from one village. Just so it is clear, these are Nigerian Igbo traders in Cotonou, Benin Republic.I also go further to describe how the trade works in Britain. In other words, I explore the relationship between charity organisations, English municipalities, charity fundraisers and commercial textile recyclers. I should be done with the dissertation in a year.
Comment by Olumide Abimbola on June 2, 2009 at 2:41pm
By the way, does anybody have a good picture we could use for the group?
Comment by Jessica Lucas on June 7, 2009 at 4:29pm
@Wm. Porter Bourie
I have a close friend that spent an exploratory month in Niger with a PSCI course - I know that his group spoke with aid organizations. Perhaps he could give you some insight...

E-mail me at Jessica(d0t)L(d0t)Lucas AT gmail and I'll see if I can connect the two of you.
Comment by Sophie Chevalier on June 7, 2009 at 4:59pm
Do you know the movies of Eliane de Latour on Niger (I don't know if you understand French...)? I always show my students her beautiful movie "Contes et comptes de la cour" when I am teaching kinship. But there is also the serie "Les temps du pouvoir" (book and movie).
Comment by Derick Fay on June 8, 2009 at 7:15am
I stumbled across a resource that might be of use to members of this group....among their many digitized out-of-copyright & freely downloadable books, Google has a lot of 19th century (mostly missionary-written) dictionaries of African languages. I just downloaded five different ones for Xhosa and Zulu, several of which have much more etymological information, examples of usage, info. on local dialectical variations, etc. than any of the more recent published dictionaries I've purchased.
Comment by Diana Szanto on June 20, 2009 at 9:38pm
Hello fellow members,
I have just come back from Sierra Leone where I am doing a hectic fieldwork on the way alternative interpretations of modernity and tradition are negotiated between international organisations and local civil society, both sides fully engaged in the ever present development industry, the basic premise of which seems to be that in the post conflict context the country has enterred a miraculous condition where everything could be (and of course should be) redisigned almost as on a blank sheet. I would be happy to meet in the group other members working in the same place or on similar topics. Hi you out there!?
Comment by Olumide Abimbola on June 30, 2009 at 8:23am
Hello fellow members,

I have been caught up in writing so I haven't been spending as much time as I would like here. I can hear the tick-tick of the clock, and I know that it is reminding me of the approaching deadline. I apologise for not being here much.

So, members, remember there is a discussion forum up there, in which I asked us to share a little about our experience doing research in Africa, and what an anthropology of Africa means to us. This is basically to highlight those things that make us want to do research Africa.

And of course, we are all free to start discussions in the forum.

Looking forward...
Comment by Derick Fay on September 9, 2009 at 3:02pm
Just a reminder that the CFP deadline for the Northeast Workshop on Southern Africa is coming up on Sept. 21 : http://openanthcoop.ning.com/events/northeast-workshop-on-southern
Comment by Aoife McCullough on September 24, 2009 at 5:30pm
Hi,
I'm shortly going to South Sudan to examine how the dynamics of the conflict have changed there since the signing of the peace agreement. One of the dynamics we are interested in examining is the relationship between the Sudanese Bororo (or Mbororo/Ambororo) and the SPLA/M. I have found some literature on the Bororo in the Blue Nile area, Kordofan and Darfur, however I have yet to find anything on Bororos in the Bahr al-Ghazal area which is the area I will be focusing on. I was wondering if anyone would be able to direct me?
Comment by Patty A. Gray on October 12, 2009 at 8:40am
Olumide,I am a Max Planck alum, although from Chris's group, not Guenther's. Right now I am studying Russia's emergence as an international aid donor (I am writing this from "the field" in Moscow, actually), with a particular interest in Russia's activities in Africa (I'm searching, as for a needle in a haystack, for Russian's who have volunteer experience in Africa). But more generally I am interested in the charity industry's orientation around Africa as a prime, perpetual recipient. I am VERY interested in your dissertation, especially the connection back to charities. I am based in Dublin, Ireland, where there is a very active charity "market" - appeals for clothing are slipped through my mail slot almost daily, replete with pitiful images of African children. So I hope you do mind having a member of the group who does not do anthropology IN Africa (at least not yet), but anthropology AROUND Africa.

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