Melbourne – 1978

‘New Dimensions in the Study of Socio-Economic Change in Africa’

1st AFSAAP Conference, 1978

La Trobe University, Melbourne

The foundation meeting was organized by Drs Tom Spear and David Dorward at La Trobe University. It grew out of informal discussions amongst a small group of scholars at a meeting of the ANZAAS in Melbourne earlier in the year. There were profound feelings of isolation in departments or universities at which many were often the only African specialist.

The neo-Marxist writings of scholars such as Claude Meillassoux were then all the rage and it was decided to hold a conference for Africanists on “New Dimensions in the Study of Socio-Economic Change in Africa”. Thirty attended and an additional thirty expressed regrets but said they would welcome the formation of an African Studies Association.

Panel 1: “The Study of Socio-Economic Change in the Pre-Colonial Period”, presented by Tom Spear and Caroline Ifeka

Panel 2: “The Study of Socio-Economic Change in the Colonial Period”, presented by David Dorward and Cherry Gertzel

Panel 3: “The Study of Socio-Economic Change Since 1960”, presented by Jan Pettman, Noni Sharp and David Goldsworthy

A planning committee was elected to oversee the establishment of the Association, comprising:

Professor D.A. Low (ANU), President

Dr Tom Spear (LaTrobe) Secretary

Dr David Dorward (LaTrobe) Treasurer

Dr Cherry Gertzel (Flinders)

Dr David Goldsworthy (Monash)

Dr Jan Pettman (Canberra CAE)

Dr Jim Polhemus (Deakin)

Dr Goeffrey Reeves (WAIT)

Professor E.A. Wright (Melbourne)


Conference program letter

Conference Programme

Nonie Sharp – Conference discussion paper

Tom Spear – Conference discussion paper