Africa News from the Centre of African Studies, University of London,
November 2015
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Welcome to the CAS newsletter for the second half of November 2015. Please click view in browser on the red bar above to see the full newsletter.

Click the links below to see news about events & seminars at SOAS and other UK universities, as well as several calls for papers in conferences in the UK & abroad. At the bottom you will find listings for funding, job opportunities, and journals and book series on Africa.

Don't forget to follow the Centre of African Studies on Twitter

 News from CAS | CAS Events | SOAS Events Events & Seminars in the UK Art, Music & Film

Conferences in the UK & Abroad Funding & Prizes 
Jobs | Journals and Book Series
Centre of African Studies Term 1 Events


FILM AFRICA SCREENING AT SOAS: Mercy Mercy: A portrait of a true adoption

6.30-8.30pm, 3 November 2015, Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, University of London

Chair: Dr. Sebastiana Etzo (Marie Stopes International)
All welcome, for more info contact

Baraza: Swahili Conference at SOAS

31 October 2015 | 9 am - 5 pm | Room 4429

To attend the conference please RSVP at


African Languages and the Big Data Revolution
2-3pm | 29 October 2015 | Room G51

The SOAS Centre of African Studies, the SOAS World Languages Institute and the SOAS Endangered Languages Achieve present a workshop that analyses the situation of African languages in the era of Big Data. It highlights the need to ensure that African languages too benefit from Big Data thereby offering the global community access to the unique knowledge forms embedded in the structures of these languages.

The unrelenting improvements in the processing speed and storage capacity of computers as well as the ever-increasing vastness of the global information infrastructure present new and amazing opportunities to mankind. These developments have led to the emergence of a new phenomenon described as Big Data. Big Data offers much deeper levels of insights into data, facilitating the automatic production of knowledge from data.

One area in which Big Data has proved very useful is in the automatic processing of human language. The intervention of Big Data in the automatic processing of human language holds great promise to the 6000 odd languages spoken in the world today. It promises much better understanding of the human mind and great advantages for human communication.
But Big Data is precisely and literally big data. Data is generated only in languages in which everyday use is documented. In about 1/3 of the world's languages spoken in Africa data is not generated from everyday use. Most African languages therefore may not be able to produce big data and thereby benefit from Big Data.

Speaker: Tunde Adegbola is Executive Director of African Languages Technology Initiative (Alt-I), in Ibadan, Nigeria.  He manages a team of linguists, engineers, computer scientists, information scientists and others in appropriating modern Human Language Technologies (HLT) for African languages.

Chair: Dr Sophie Salffner (SOAS)

All welcome.

Will Africa Feed China? Rumors and Realities
13 November 2015 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm | Room G3

Is China building a new empire in rural Africa? Over the past decade, China's meteoric rise on the continent has raised a drumbeat of alarm. Few topics are as controversial and emotionally charged as the belief that the Chinese government is aggressively buying up huge tracts of prime African land to grow food to ship back to China. 

In this keynote lecture closing the two days long China in Africa Workshop, Deborah Bräutigam will discuss the myths and realities behind the media headlines. He careful research challenges the conventional wisdom: Chinese farming investments are in fact surprisingly limited, and land acquisitions modest. Defying expectations, China actually exports more food to Africa than it imports. Is this picture likely to change? And what role will China play?

Bräutigam's lecture will also explore the role of the people and the politics that will shape the future of this engagement: the state-owned Chinese agribusiness firms that pioneered African farming in the 1960s and the entrepreneurial private investors who followed them. 

For more information and to register contact:

This lecture is part of a high level workshop which is closed, to attend the workshop please contact Angelica on

Sudan & South Sudan Seminar Series

The Centre of African Studies at SOAS, University of London, and the Sudan Society of the UK are pleased to announce the Sudan/South Sudan Seminar Series 2015/2016. The series brings together academics and practitioners concerned with contemporary Sudan and South Sudan to deliver an interdisciplinary series of seminars. We shall discuss a range of legal, economic, political and cultural issues and seek insight into current and future developments in the Sudans.

All seminars will be in room 4429 from 5:15 pm - 7 pm

16 November 2015
Arms and the Men: Who sells weapons, who uses them, who is killed by them

7 December 2015
Agricultural Potential in the Sudans: past experience and future outlook

11 January 2016
Telling the Story Their Way: The Arts & Social Action in the Sudans

15 February 2016
The Use of Law as an Instrument of Power in Sudan and South Sudan


Book Discussion: "Administration and Taxation in Former Portuguese Africa, 1900-1945"

9 November 2015 | 5:15 pm - 7 pm
edited by P J Havik, A Keese, and M Santos | published by Cambridge Scholars
Speaker: Philip J Havik

In recent years, the question of colonial taxation has become a topic in the academic debate on colonial empires and has led to a comparative, long-term focus on its impact in African societies. Given that former Portuguese colonies in Africa have been largely absent from this debate, this book offers new perspectives on taxation and colonial rule, and the first detailed and comprehensive study of fiscal administration. Besides dealing with the economic and financial aspects of empire, the book interprets the social experience of African populations through their interaction with colonial institutions. Based on a thorough and probing qualitative and quantitative analysis of published and unpublished data, it places taxation in a broad social context for the period between the full military control of the territories and the end of WW II. Thus, whilst engaging with ongoing debates on comparative African economic and political history, the book provides a key contribution to research on African social change.
Published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing 

Chair: Professor William Clarence-Smith, SOAS
Visit the CAS website for more information
For more information contact



The English-Everywhere Agenda in Education in a Highly Multilingual Cameroon: towards a recipe for disaster? by Dr Seraphin Kamdem (SOAS)
 23 November 2015 | 5:15 pm - 7 pm | Room 4429
SOAS University of London

This seminar will discuss the recent developments of the English-everywhere agenda in the school education system and critically present some of the pedagogic and operational challenges faced by this contentious agenda.

Dr Seraphin Kamdem holds a  PhD from SOAS. His doctoral thesis focused on African languages and education, investigating multilingual adult literacy in the rural areas of Cameroon, in Africa. His initial research into adult literacy as a psycholinguistic skill and an educational activity expanded into investigating issues of social status and identities of adult learners, grassroots agency and institutional development, local ownership and community response, all mediated through literacy as an endogenous and community-based enterprise.

For more information and to register contact:


30 November: Erotic Music and Female 'Renegade' Artistes: A Critical Study of Sexuality and Social Positioning of Women in Contemporary Yoruba Society'

Speaker: Dr Adebayo Mosobolaje 
Chair: John Peel, SOAS
Discussant: Akin Oyetade, SOAS

In this CAS series, Dr Adebayo examines the agency of the erotic music of two prominent women ‘renegade’ artistes Iyaladuke Abolodefeeloju and Saint Janet in the contemporary Yoruba society of Nigeria governed by foreign religious strictures with a view to establishing their music as performance of power.  Using womanist and agency theories to study selected song albums of the artistes, it is observed that the erotic music of the ‘renegade’ artistes is a domain of aesthetic revolution, women empowerment and subversion of the male religious cultural hegemony.
 Other Events & Seminars at SOAS

SOAS Politics Department events

The SOAS Politics Department, University of London invites you to two very exciting events that address conflict-related issues in Africa: a seminar by Prof. Mia Swart (University of Johannesburg) exploring the recent controversy over Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, South Africa and the International Criminal Court; and, a lecture and launch of Dr. Justin Pearce's (University of Cambridge) new book on popular understandings of the 1975-2002 Angolan civil war.

On Broken Promises and Broken Dreams: The Al Bashir Debacle in South Africa
5:30-7:00pm | 29 October 2015 | Room T101, Russell Square, SOAS |

Speaker: Prof. Mia Swart, Professor of Public Law, University of Johannesburg
Chair: Dr. Phil Clark, Reader in Comparative and International Politics, SOAS

Book Launch and Discussion - Political Identity and Conflict in Central Angola, 1975-2002
5:30-7:00pm | 30 October 2015 | Room T102, 22 Russell Square, SOAS |

Speaker: Dr. Justin Pearce, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Cambridge
Chair: Dr. Phil Clark, Reader in Comparative and International Politics, SOAS

All are very welcome and no registration is required for either event. Please feel free to forward this invitation to any interested colleagues.
 Other Events & Seminars in UK

To register your attendance, Please click here. The event will close with a light lunch and informal networking.  

The Africa Research Student Network (AfNet) welcome session
530pm | 28 October 2015 | Pearson Building, UCL (Gower Street) |

The Africa Research Student Network (AfNet) will hold its first event of this year on Wednesday, 28th October: a welcome session to new and returning PhD students. Please come along and meet other PhD colleagues, find out more about AfNet and get involved in planning the year ahead. We are certainly looking for people with ideas and energy to put them into practice. 
 To find out more about us,
Visit our Facebook page:
Visit our website:

Deep Pasts, Deep Cultures: Mande, Yoruba and Kongo
9am-5pm | 6 November 2015 | UCL Grand Challenges Common Ground,
G11, South Wing, Wilkins Building |


Private view of Positive Living: Art and AIDS in South Africa
6-8:30pm | 13 November 2015 | Peltz Gallery (Birkbeck, University of London, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD) |

Related events:

Conference Women and HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Medicine, Art, Activism 7 December 2015, 9am - 5.30pm. Keynes Library, Birkbeck, University of London, School of Arts.

Public lecture on HIV/AIDS in South Africa today, 7 December 2015 at 6pm. Edwin Cameron, Justice of the South African Constitutional Court. Clore Management Centre (Torrington Square), room B01.

Artists' talks with the artists from Positive Living: Art and AIDS in South Africa 8 December 2015 at 10am. Peltz Gallery.

Book your tickets through Eventbrite:


The Kaye Whiteman Memorial Lecture
8:00-9:00pm | 12 November 2015 | Citypoint, 1 Ropemaker St, London EC2Y 9HT  |

The Business Council for Africa on 12 November 2015 presents  The Kaye Whiteman Memorial lecture with Lanre Akinola as the keynote speaker.  Africa is continually battling media perception of corruption, weak security and an unstable political environment. Click here for more details.

Len Garrison Memorial Lecture: Gaps in Black British history
5:00pm-8:30pm | 12 November 2015 | Institute of Historical Research

The Black Cultural Archives invites you to their second Len Garrison memorial lecture.  This annual lecture series is dedicated to Black Cultural Archives co-founder Len Garrison, who was an educationalist, activist and advocate for children’s education and teaching of black history. This year we will ask questions and explore some of the lesser known periods of Black British History. We will be joined by leading historians and experts in their field: Historian, producer and presenter of the recent BBC documentary series Forgotten Slave Owners David Olusoga, historian and writer Marika Sherwood, and freelance journalist and historian Dr Miranda Kaufmann. The talk will be followed by an audience Q&A opportunity.

Tickets cost £15.00 or £10.00 concessions. Tickets can be purchased on the Eventbrite page.

 Other Events & Seminars in Africa
Driving continued growth in Ethiopia
October 28th and 29th | The Sheraton Addis

The Economist Events will be exploring Ethiopia's future prospects for growth, questioning policy makers on their future plans and discussing available investment opportunities. For list of speakers, brochure, registration and further information, click here
Art, Music, Literature & Film 
“Exploring the Art of Delaquis” - The Africa Centre
27 October to 6 November 2015 | 11.00 – 18.00 (closed on weekends)

International Conference - Artist and Empire: New Dynamics
1790 to the present day
Tate Britain, Clore Auditorium
24 - 26 November 2015


We are pleased to announce that Tate is holding a major conference in collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London and Culture at King’s College London, to mark the opening of the exhibition Artist and Empire. Scholars, curators and artists from around Britain and the world will consider art created under the conditions of the British Empire, its aftermath, and its future in museum and gallery displays. Scholarship has expanded over the last two decades across a span of disciplines and locations. This conference takes the historic opportunity of the exhibition, featuring diverse artists from the sixteenth century to the present day, to bring together people to meet and share the latest research being developed around this subject. The papers, roundtables and audience discussions will consider the cosmopolitan character of objects and images, and the way geographical, cultural and chronological dislocations have in many instances obscured, changed or suppressed their history, significance and aesthetics. We will also explore how approaches to contemporary art, archives, curation and collecting can help develop new ways to look at them now. 

For further information please contact the conference administrator, Jessica Knights, at
8 October - 21 November 2015

October Gallery, London, will present an exhibition by Aubrey Williams, introducing works previously unseen. Aubrey Williams' distinctive contribution to 20th century British art as a master of painterly abstraction is increasingly recognized; a contemporary of Alan Davie and Peter Lanyon, Williams’ work invites productive comparison but has yet to receive comparable attention. Williams was an integral part of the explosion of creativity and optimism amongst Caribbean writers, artists and intellectuals in London at the time. This cultural ferment was exemplified in the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM), established in 1966. Williams was a founder member of CAM and participated fully in its activities.

Music for Liberia Concert

A stellar classical, African and jazz line-up, including: the Heath Quartet (string quartet), Simo Lagnawi (guembri), Renato D'Aiello (saxaphone), Rowena Calvert ('cello), Suntou Susso (kora), Deelee Dubé (vocals), Usifu Jalloh (storytelling), and more.

Tickets and information are available here
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Angelica Baschiera

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Centre of African Studies, SOAS, University of London
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