ASAA committed to advancing the Africanists agenda

Accra, The African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) is committed to providing a space where Africanists can formally collaborate to engage in the important work reflecting on, and proposing concrete responses to, the global African condition.

Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, ASAA Founding Vice President, said the organisation was committed to ensuring a better quality of life, and the unearthing of the buried and silenced stories of African peoples on the continent and the diaspora.

“The work we do as professional Africanists must impact our communities,” Prof Adomako Ampofo stated at the opening of the Second Biennial Conference of the ASAA in Accra.

The three-day conference, on the theme African Studies and Global Politics, is being attended by over 260 participants from across the globe, with 142 of them coming from Africa.

ASAA was established in 2013 during the climax of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, to promote Africa’s own specific contributions to the advancement of knowledge about the peoples and cultures of Africa and the Diaspora.

The ASAA is currently the only multidisciplinary and trans-disciplinary professional association on the continent dedicated to the study of Africa from an Africanist perspective, what Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana, referred to as ‘studying our societies and experiences in an African-centred way.’

The first biennial conference was held at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ibadan in October 2015.

Prof Adomako Ampofo said: “As we pay close attention to contemporary global socio-economic politics, we see the dumping of goods from the Global North (anything from stale computers, through rejected chicken parts, to wilting).”

“We see the glaring absence of golden tree chocolate and the grinning presence of cadburys and toblerone in international duty free shops; the absence of high quality Kenyan Kerichoo tea from hotel breakfast trays replaced with aromatized ‘English’ Earl Gray tea.

“We feel it when an international phone company operating in Ghana overtly promotes fair-skinned, slim women over dark-skinned plump ones.

“We see it in the exportation of arms by industrialized countries to ‘warring factions’, ‘warlords’ and whatever else we want to call them, while sitting at the UN to pontificate on how conflicts in Africa should be managed.

We see it in the assault on black bodies globally�from the murder of miners in South Africa, to the killing of black youth especially in the US, she stated.

And for us in the academy we feel it when our knowledge about ourselves is silenced and buried, replaced with the so-called expertise of Global North knowers.

While we recognise the hegemony of a Euro-centred ways of knowing, and venting has some therapeutic value, we must assert ourselves uncompromisingly in the global knowledge production industry and restore our educational system so that our young people have a revived sense of identity and self-worth, she added.

She said: If, for example, our young people don’t know about the ancient civilizations of Ghana, Mali, Songhay, Kanem, Bornu, Egypt, Tunisia, Oyo, or Mogadishu, their political institutions and why they were so efficient, how can we develop a sense of pride and develop political institutions that suit our cultural predilections? Of course I take for granted our appreciation of African-centred knowledge.

She said there were professional associations for anthropology, linguistics, sociology and a few others, mostly in Southern Africa; such as the Anthropology Association of Southern Africa, the Pan African Anthropology Association, the Linguistics Association of South Africa and the South African Sociological Association.

She said the ASAA was a not-for-profit association and seeks to promote the work of professional Africanists in the Social sciences, humanities, physical and applied sciences, principally in, but not limited to the academy.

We seek the professional development of our members through linking them to important sites such as CODESRIA, the ASA (US), and similar orgainsations, she said.

We also see to provide links for our members with all the opportunities that exist in similar spaces through our biennial conference, a possible future journal, networking, and nurturing the next generation of scholars, she added.

Source: Ghana News Agency