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Statement by the ASA Board of Directors regarding President Trump's Remarks

The African Studies Association—a scholarly organization composed of over 2,000 university academics based in the United States, Europe and Africa – is outraged at President Trump’s characterization of African states as “shithole countries.”  He is widely reported to have made this comment in conversation with members of Congress.  It is shocking that such crude racist expressions of xenophobia are now part and parcel of executive office discourse. Not only do President Trump’s words disparage the people of an entire continent, on issues of immigration they defy reality.  According to the last U.S. Census Bureau report, Africans account for only 4% of the total foreign-born population in the United States, but the educational attainment of that 4% far exceeds the average of all of those born outside of the U.S.  Indeed, 41% of African residents in the U.S. hold bachelors degrees or higher. Nigerians, who have been singled out by the President on previous occasions, are among the most educated group in the U.S., with some 61% holding bachelors degrees and 17% masters degrees.  We strongly encourage those in and around the Oval Office to do their homework and urge them and all levels of government to acknowledge the enormous contributions that African immigrants have made to the economic and social fabric of the United States.

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Announcing Africa in the World: Shifting Boundaries of Knowledge Production

The African Studies Association has partnered with the American Anthropological Association to host the joint conference, "Africa in the World: Shifting Boundaries of Knowledge Production" in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 25-28, 2018.

Who speaks with authority about Africa’s contemporary successes and failures? Is “the African Library” restricted to “europhone” scholarship? To what extent is post-colonialism a relevant lens through which we regard contemporary patterns, processes, and institutions? What is the state of African Studies? Is post-colonialism still a relevant framework for studying Africa’s contemporary successes and failures? Who is allowed to theorize Africa? Are “Europhone” intellectuals the only scholars of Africa? These are just a few of the questions framing Africa in the World: Shifting Boundaries of Knowledge Production, a conference dedicated to exploring new theoretical and practical approaches to the study of Africa’s past, present, and future. This three-day conference will bring together some of the most eminent, dynamic, and engaged scholars who will address important topical themes in African Studies across the humanities and social sciences, from historiography, literature, linguistics, anthropology, politics, and technological transformations to art and popular culture.

The conference will open with an evening keynote lecture on African philosophical and didactic traditions and their relevance to contemporary challenges and theories of social justice and rule of law. On days two and three there will be roundtables, panels, posters, and flash presentations engaging critical topics, ranging from migration to climate change. In addition to panels on urbanization, tours of the area will be available, highlighting regional cultures, histories, politics, and infrastructure. Optional hands-on workshops will engage small groups in exchanging practical ideas that participants can take back to their home institutions.

We welcome paper proposals related to the panel themes from emerging and established scholars and from professionals working in the non-academic world. In addition, we welcome proposals for poster and flash presentations.

You can find the conference theme here.

Submissions are due by January 31, 2018. You can submit your proposals here.

Register here.

If you have additional questions, please contact the ASA at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Statement by the ASA Board of Directors: Patrice Nganang


The African Studies Association—a scholarly organization composed of over 2,000 university academics based in the United States, Europe and Africa—joins American PEN, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the African Literature Association, and countless colleagues, friends and family, in calling for the dismissal of all charges against  Patrice Nganang, Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at Stony Brook University, who was detained by the government of Cameroon on December 6th.


The following information and call to action has been issued by Professor Nganang’s family and friends:



Cameroonian-American writer-activist Patrice Nganang was taken into custody by the government of Cameroon on 6 December, 2017, as he was about to board a flight to Zimbabwe to join his wife, Dr. Nyasha Bakare, and family.  When he did not arrive in Harare as scheduled on the night of Wednesday, 6 December, a search for his whereabouts began.  On Friday 8 December it was

discovered that he was being held at the General Delegation for National Security (DGSN) detention centre in Yaounde, Cameroon.  He was then allowed to speak with his lawyer for the first time.  He remains detained.



At a hearing with the judiciary police today, Patrice Nganang was informed of the charges being levelled against him. He will be sent to a prosecutor who will review his case and decide on what further actions will be taken.The most serious charges brought against Patrice were that he insulted the President on social media and that he allegedly issued a death threat. This was based on an emotionally-overwrought Facebook post.


Patrice had just returned from the Anglophone region of the country which is currently experiencing a year-long crisis following protests in the region against its cultural, political and economic marginalization. The government’s response has included mass arrests, an internet shutdown and the excessive use of force which according to Amnesty International has resulted in more than 20 people being unlawfully killed by security forces. In the few days that Nganang spent in the region, he witnessed first-hand the impact of the government’s heavy-handedness in dealing with the Anglophone minority, and he was deeply moved and angered by the injustice of what he saw.



In an article published in Jeune Afrique on 5 December, Patrice, who is a long-time vocal critic of the Biya regime, wrote: “It will probably require another political regime to make the state understand that the machine gun cannot stem a moving crowd.  Only change at the top of the state can resolve the Anglophone conflict in Cameroon.”


At Saturday’s hearing, Patrice’s lawyer Emmanuel Simh argued that that he did not represent a bona fide threat to the President because he has never possessed firearms or worked with any armed militias or terrorist groups and has a long history of peaceful activism promoting democracy.


Patrice’s lawyer, Mr. Simh, reports that his defence has been well received. However, on Monday 11 December, Patrice will be brought before a prosecutor who will then decide if this case will proceed.




1) Please sign the Open Letter from Princeton University calling for his



And this petition too, initiated by African writers:


2)  Please call the Cameroon embassy in your home country/country of residence and demand the immediate release of Patrice.

List of embassies here:


3) Please call/email the US Embassy in Cameroon ( and the State Department and your Senators/Congress people.  Please contact Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand of New York, Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.


4)  Please also contact a Committee to Protect Journalists representative, either in the US where Patrice lives or your local representative. Contact info here:


5)  Write to Mr. David Kaye, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression:


6) Please contact Amnesty International: and Human Rights Watch:


7)  Please spread this message via your social networks using the hashtags, #FreeNganang and #PatriceNganang


This statement was prepared by friends and family of Patrice. Contact information:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





He was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and educated both in Cameroon and in Germany.  He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and is currently a professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at Stony Brook University in New York state. In Spring 2018, he is scheduled to serve as an Old Dominion Professor at Princeton University and to take up a fellowship at Princeton's Humanities Council. Nganang is the author of several prize-winning novels, including Mount Pleasant (Mont Plaisant) and Dog Days (Temps de Chien), as well as several books of essays and poetry.


His website is



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2018 ASA Advocacy Travel Award: Now Accepting Applications!


The African Studies Association is pleased to announce the opening of the application period for a travel subsidy grant to support your advocacy for international education, the humanities, and social science. The National Humanities Alliance and the Consortium of Social Science Associations will be holding conferences in Washington, DC, in 2018, which will include the opportunity to visit your elected representatives on Capitol Hill. The ASA believes it is critical for our members to be represented at these events and for the voices of the field of African Studies to be heard by representatives in the federal government as they prepare to make key decisions about funding for international education, the humanities, social science, and higher education as a whole. These conferences will also provide ASA members with tools and strategies to advocate for African Studies on campus and in other local arenas.

The ASA will award two travel subsidies of $1000 to ASA members to facilitate their attendance at one of two advocacy events scheduled in Washington, DC. These events are the 
NHA Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day and the COSSA Science Policy Conference and Advocacy Day. Each event consists of a one day conference that will focus on advocacy strategies, information about federal funding, and more, as well as a day on Capitol Hill to meet with elected officials.

The ASA will provide the selected members with a $1000 subsidy to help cover the costs of registration, travel, and accommodation. The subsidy will likely not cover the entire amount of attending, and attendees will be responsible for any additional costs.


Because visits on Capitol Hill are limited to the congressional representatives of the individuals who participate, preference will be given to constituents of representatives on the key committees involved in decision-making for international education and higher education funding, in particular the Senate Labor, HHS, and Education Sub-committee of the Senate Appropriations Committee: and the House Labor, HHS, and Education Sub-Committee of the Appropriations Committee: 

Applications can be submitted via this online form, and must be received by Friday, January 26. Successful applicants will be expected to attend the entirety of their selected conference, and to write a blog post about their experience.
All ASA members are encouraged to apply. To read the experiences from the 2017 awardees, please see here and here.
If you have any questions, please contact the ASA at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Announcing the 2017 ASA Award Winners


December 2017

The African Studies Association (ASA) is pleased to announce the 2017 award winners. The awards at the ASA Awards Ceremony, held on the evening of Saturday, November 18th, 2017 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago, IL. The ASA heartily congratulates the following individuals and organizations:  

Distinguished Africanist Award

The ASA Distinguished Africanist Award was established in the 1980's, to recognize and honor scholars who have contributed a lifetime record of outstanding scholarship in their respective field of African studies and service to the Africanist community. This year, the award goes to Professor Iris Berger for her considerable contributions to the study of Africa.

Graduate Student Paper Prize- Amanda B. Edgell

In 2001, the ASA Board of Directors established an annual prize for the best graduate student paper presented at the ASA Annual Meeting in the previous year. The 2017 award goes to Amanda B. Edgell, University of Florida, for her paper, “Vying for the ‘Man’s Seat’ - Constituency Magnitude and Mainstream Female Candidature for Non-Quota Seats in Uganda and Kenya.”

Paul Hair Prize

The ASA presents the Paul Hair Prize to The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century Biography of an Ethiopian Woman: Galawdewos, Translated and Edited by Wendy Laura Belcher & Michael Kleiner

Gretchen Walsh Book Donation Award 

The African Studies Association offers an annual grant program in collaboration with the Africana Librarians Council to assist book donation projects with shipping costs to send books to African libraries and schools. This year, two grants were awarded to: YAfrique Ghana and The Southern African Institute for Policy and Research (SAIPAR) Zambia

ASA Public Service Award 

The ASA Public Service Award honors those who have been long-standing contributors to the ASA’s mission and to African Studies, through non-academic contributions. The ASA is excited to announce the following 2017 recipients: Elliot Fratkin & Sean Redding

Royal Air Maroc-ASA Student Travel Award

The Royal Air Maroc-African Studies Association Student Travel Award aims to increase the exchange of students and ideas between Africa and the United States, and to award outstanding scholarship by future scholars of African Studies. The award consists of tickets for round-trip travel between the United States and any Royal Air Maroc Africa destination, and it is given to students of African Studies. This year the following 19 individuals received the award: 

Abdulbasit Kassim

Camille Dantzler

Nehal Elmeligy

Harrouna Malgoubi

Olanrewaju Lasisi

Boukary Sangare

Kevin Wamalwa

Tarek Ziadna

Samson Ndanyi

Cherie Saulter

Yassine Dguidegue

Matthew Steele

Abdul Gafaru Tahiru

Claire Seulgie Lim

Benjamin Kofi Nutor

Carlee Forbes

Antwi-Boasiako Kingsley

Richmond Danso

Isaac Dery

Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize

The Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize of the African Studies Association is awarded annually at the ASA Annual Meeting to the author of the best book on East African Studies published in the previous calendar year. This year, the Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize was awarded to Bert Ingelaere, for his book, Inside Rwanda's Gacaca Courts: Seeking Justice after Genocide (University of Wisconsin Press).

Melville J. Herskovits Prize

The ASA presents the Herskovits Prize to the author of the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English during the preceding year. This year, the Melville J. Herskovits Prize was awarded to: Fallou Ngom, for his book entitled, Muslims Beyond the Arab World: The Odyssey of Ajami and the Muridiyya (Oxford University Press)

Congratulations again to all of our winners and we look forward to seeing everyone next year in Atlanta!!

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Member Aid For Africa
African Studies Association is a participating member of Aid for Africa, a unique partnership of nonprofit organizations serving families and communities throughout Africa.
African Studies Association
Rutgers University - Livingston Campus
54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8045
Tel: 848-445-8173
Fax: 732-445-6637