2017 Foreign Policy White Paper

The Australian Government has launched the terms of reference and consultation process for the development of an Australian Foreign Policy White Paper, due for release in September 2017. The call for submissions directly seeks ideas for how the Government can work more effectively with academia and NGOs to advance foreign policy interests, as well as how the Australian aid program can promote prosperity and stability.

See http://dfat.gov.au/whitepaper/index.html

AFSAAP members might consider making a submission referring to the government’s failure to implement the 2010 Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s Relations with the Countries of Africa Recommendation #10 to establish an African Studies Centre. See http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=jfadt/africa%2009/report.htm and go to the front matter for the recommendations.

January 7th, 2017

FINAL PROGRAM AFSAAP 2016 CONFERENCE

AFSAAP 2016 FINAL CONFERENCE PROGAM

Highlights from the program include
Sunday Night 6.30pm
Pre-Conference Screening of The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe (201) – http://africanladiestroupe.com/

Monday Morning December 5th 9am
Keynote Address by Dr. F. Wafula Okumu “The transformation of boundaries from barriers to bridges-the myths and dilemmas of creating a borderless continent”

Monday 4pm –
Book Pre-Launch Samuel Muchoki – Intimacies, Citizenship and Refugee Men (Palgrave 2017)

Monday 4.30pm
Special keynote Panel on African Writing
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, – “Re-Imagining a lexicon for bridge makers in a Kardashian world?”
Chair: Russell McDougall,
Discussants: Karen King-Aribisala; Gareth Griffiths; Afeif Ismael

Tuesday Lunch
AFSAAP Postgraduate Professional Development Session

Wednesday 9am
AFSAAP AGM

David Mickler and Tinashe Jakwa AFSAAP Conference Conveners

November 8th, 2016

Australia Awards Outcomes for Africa! Frank Akampa’s experience in Australia and thereafter returning to Uganda

Academic engagement

At the beginning of 2013 I embarked on a graduate program at the University of Queensland, specialising in GIS and Environmental Management. This program was funded by AusAID, Australian government funding that was intended to prepare me for my PhD studies at an Australian university. As a student, a large proportion of my time was allocated to studies which were a mix of theoretical classroom lectures and laboratory sessions for GIS and Remote Sensing courses.

Australian assignments and classwork were interesting, especially the fact that contrary to most African education systems, where practical laboratory sessions are often a formality with little or nothing gleaned. Here, laboratory sessions were conducted in an excellent way with tutors who would assist the students in their learning. This ensured that students actually understood the important aspects of laboratory exercises. As a student, I worked as a tutor in undergraduate Environmental Science and GIS courses where I learnt a lot.

Participation in conferences

I also had an opportunity to further my research whereby three abstracts of conference papers were accepted at conferences at the University of Queensland, Brisbane; at Murdoch University, Perth; and at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. The topics of the papers were as follows: “Community-based natural resource management and sustainability of forest use in Uganda: Case study of Kibale National Park” at the University of Queensland; “Community-based natural resource management & sustainable forest resource use at Bwindi Impenetrable and Kibale National Parks, Uganda” at Murdoch University; and “Using GIS and Multi-criteria analysis for land suitability analysis for residential and conservation at Pinjarra Hills, Brisbane” at Victoria University. At these conferences I had opportunities to interact with scholars from different parts of the world and who remain influential in my life. I was also able to polish my writing and presentation skills which are vital to the upcoming PhD program.

Engaging in community social activities

Besides classwork, I also had opportunities to engage in activities such as playing soccer, visiting friends, participating in organising activities for associations such as the African Students’ Association (ASA), GPEM mentor programs, and the Geography Club. As a student, I could not of course miss the weekly and weekend prayer meetings, the meetings in our apartments over the weekdays, and traveling for church services to St Lucia Uniting Church, Hillsongs church, and many more at Brisbane city. I also worked as a volunteer at Australian Conservation Foundation where I was involved in conservation activism, organising workshops and preparing funding proposals.

Part-time work

The first job opportunity was working as a tutor at the UQ in semester two. This was a rewarding opportunity where I assisted undergraduate students in laboratory sessions involving image acquisition, interpretation and classification. I considered this a learning experience since remote sensing was one of the courses I was enrolled in.

I was also privileged to secure work at one of the baking and coffee spots in Brisbane city namely Brewbakers at Albion. This was an interesting opportunity because I was able to learn how to bake cakes, prepare pizzas, sandwiches, make coffee etc. I was glad to work for humble bosses – Caroline and Richard – with Caroline in charge of sales and Richard heading the baking section. Surprisingly, it took me over three months before I realised that Richard was one of the owners of Brewbakers, owing to his humble character. During my time in Australia I should say I have learnt a lot from the numerous interactions in class and out of class which have shaped and continues to shape my future.

Reintegrating in the Ugandan society

Upon my return to Uganda in 2014, I resumed my work as a Lecturer at Kabale University where I was tasked with developing the GIS course which was to be developed into a Unit. During this time, I attracted two volunteers, Joseph Abrams and Adam McKay, from the USA and Canada, respectively. These two GIS experts were linked to me through Shoreh Elhami, one of the GISCorps co-founders, who is based in the USA. With the assistance from ESRI, a GIS vending company, ArcGIS 11.2 software licence and its extensions were donated to Kabale University for GIS teaching. In March and April 2015, the volunteers under my supervision participated in the training of 21 Kabale University academic staff, in addition to four academic staff of Bishop Barham University and two research fellows of Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research Institute (see photo below).

Volunteers with Frank Akampa

Volunteers with Frank Akampa

It was a nice experience coordinating this volunteer training program, which I can say was a success. Unfortunately I could not work with Kabale University longer and by October 2015 I had left the University and started my career with Earth Consult Uganda Ltd, a GIS and forestry consulting firm.

While working with Earth Consult I also had an opportunity to establish ACODEP (Advocate for Community Development and Environmental Protection), a NGO with headquarters in Wakiso, Hoima Road. AODEP is a community development and environmental management organisation with pilot projects in Wakiso District. The organisation so far has a team of five professionals specialising in Natural Resource Management and Community-income generating development projects.

I am returning back to Australia for a PhD program in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales, pending availability of the necessary funding. My PhD project has the working title “Climate change adaptation and vulnerability assessments: Implications for farmers and pastoral communities in dryland areas of Nakasongola district, central Uganda”. Since my return I have been working on academic manuscripts for publishing in referred journals with support from my supervisor. So far, three papers have been submitted for publication.

In summary, I am very thankful to the Australian Government for the generous funding provided for the pre-Doctoral studies that I was undertaking. Acknowledgement also goes to the UQ Academic staff, AusAID staff and the Ugandan community in Queensland.

August 30th, 2016

AFSAAP Postgraduate Prizes

The AFSAAP Executive are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 conference postgraduate essay prizes.

The winner of the $3000 Monash/AFSAAP Postgraduate Prize for is Charlotte Mertens for her paper “Sexual violence in the Congo Free State: Archival traces and present reconfigurations”. Charlotte is enrolled in a PhD at the University of Melbourne and will travel to Africa. AFSAAP wishes to acknowledge Monash University for the special sponsorship of this prize since 2010.

The winner of the $500 Cherry Gertzel – AFSAAP Postgraduate Prize for 2015 is Naomi Thompson, for her paper “Surviving vs. Living: The importance of resilience in the transformative redefinition of Ghanaian breast cancer survivors”. Naomi is enrolled in a PhD at Macquarie University.

 

Congratulations to both of the winners.

January 28th, 2016

Vale Professor Cherry Gertzel

Cherry Gertzel November 2013 Perth

On the 25th August 2015 the African Studies community lost a great scholar and dear friend.  Cherry Gertzel died peacefully at her home surrounded by her books.  Cherry taught and researched from 1958 to 1975 as a staff member at, in turn, Makerere University – Uganda, Nairobi University – Kenya, and at The University of Zambia.  She returned to Australia in 1975 and became a staff member at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia between 1975-1993. She subsequently moved to Curtin University between 1993-1997, and remained an Adjunct Professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Curtin University, and was an Honorary Research Fellow in the History Department at the University of Western Australia, until her retirement. She engaged in research relating to the politics and administration of the three east African states, but also on more widely ranging issues of social change.  She continued with her research until the end.  Between 1982-1986 Professor Cherry Gertzel  was the President of the African Studies of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP), and was the Editor of The Australasian Review of African Studies (ARAS) between 1984-2004. She was a tireless campaigner for Africa and African studies in Australia.  She will be missed.

 

Selected Publications by Prof. Cherry Gertzel

1984 AFSAAP Presidential Address

Makerere 1984: the Problems of Reconstruction

Letter From Kamapala 1987

Journey to Gulu 1989

Tracking Tsetse and other insect pests with Icipe in Kenya

Parliamentary Report on Australia’s relations with Southern Africa

Gertzel_Response to the Jackson Report

Note from the ARAS Editor 2004

Last note from the ARAS Editor 2004

Gertzel Submission to Review of Australia’s Relations with the countries of Africa (2009)

August 26th, 2015

AFSAAP Member in Paris for the AEGIS Conference

Dr. Clare Buswell attended the AEGIS Conference on behalf of AFSAAP. She wrote the following to the AFSAAP Executive –

I would like to thank AFSAAP for providing funding to attend this renowned international European conference on African Studies in Paris, July 7-10 2015. The conference is organised by the Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies (AEGIS) held every 3 years and brings together scholars from all over the world who are passionate about African research. This conference had 1800 participants, (three of whom came from Australia), 1000 papers were presented, 24 books launched, and cost 350,000 Euros to run. It was held at the Paris-Sorbonne University in conjunction with a weeklong major arts event titled Africa Acts. http://africaacts.ecas2015.fr/.
The major book sellers publishing material relating to Africa were present, James Currey, Brill, Oxford, Codesria, African book collective to name a few, and if I did not have a weight limit on my flight home I would have purchased a lot more than I did.  Papers were presented in either English or French. At one session I attended translations into German were made by audience members.  Participants of the conference could be found in debating not only in the panel sessions, but also in corridors, courtyards and coffee shops around the university. It seemed that not only were old friendships renewed, I ran into David Moore and Peter Limb, but new ones made.  The scope of the papers presented was of course wide ranging from Laughter in Social Transformations in Africa, (about the use of humour/comedy and social change in Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire and Benin) to problems relating to abortion in Eritrea, Burkina Faso and Kenya, to panels on Pandemics in Africa, Guy Rights, governance, and to the problems of Land grabbing, agriculture. There were round tables where no papers as such were presented, but people gathered to discuss specific items such as: problems of Ethics and research, getting published in African Studies Journals, Gender and African citizenship, Boko Haram, and policy issues relating to Border problems to name a few. You can visit the conference website and download the programme at: http://www.ecas2015.fr/  The next conference will be Basel, Switzerland June 2017. My only advice is: Go to it.
Dr Clare Buswell (July 2015)

August 1st, 2015

NEW – Africa Research Cluster at UWA

The University of Western Australia is launching a new Africa Research Cluster on international Africa Day, Monday 25 May 2015, from 5.30-7.30pm.
The interdisciplinary Cluster aims to develop, coordinate and promote UWA research and research collaborations on important Africa-related themes, and will also develop a program of public engagement events. Further information on the Cluster can be found here: http://www.arts.uwa.edu.au/research/clusters/Africa_Research
The launch will feature a free public lecture by recently-arrived UWA Centenary Winthrop Professor of Rural Development Petra Tschakert on ‘Understanding structural vulnerability to climate change in Africa’, followed by an informal reception and networking. For more information on the launch, please click here: http://www.emi.uwa.edu.au/events/launch-uwas-africa-research-cluster
We would love to see you there to celebrate Africa Day and Africa research at UWA.
Please forward this invitation widely to interested colleagues, students and friends. Registration closes 18 May.
(Submitted by AFSAAP Member Dr. David Mickler UWA)

 

May 13th, 2015

Journal Rankings and the Australasian Review of African Studies

by Tanya Lyons – AFSAAP President

Many of us academics have been advised not to published in journals that are not “ranked” or have low or no impact factors, so that universities can improve their own overall rankings in terms of research output in order to qualify for government funds, or get themselves ranked in the top 400 universities in the world.  Publications in non-ranked journals just brings the overall average down, so again, many of us have been advised not to publish at all, unless we can get published in ranked journals. This is both anachronous to the production and development of knowledge, and the development of researchers, thinkers and analysts, in this case, in the field of African Studies (but it applies across the board).

Did you know that of the 591 journals ranked by Australian Politics Science Association (APSA) in 2013 only 10 are specific to African Studies – or described with “Africa” under various Fields of Research (FoRs) as used by data-collection agencies in the academy. These are –

African Affairs; Journal of Modern African Studies; Review of African Political Economy; African Development Review; African Journal of Environmental Assessment and Management; African Studies; African Studies Quarterly; Afrique Contemporaine; Politikon: South African journal of political science; The South African Journal of International Affairs 

  • 2 of these 10 are focused on political science and international affairs, with a South African focus (POLITIKON and SAJIA .
  • 1 of the 10 is in French (AC)
  • 1 of the 10 is about the environment, and is no longer published anyway (AJEAM).
  • Only 6 of these 10 are related to African Studies or studies about Africa.
  • Of those 6 related to African Studies – 2 are published by TANDF (ROAPE and AS), 1 by Oxford (AF), 1 by Cambridge (JMAS), 1 by Wiley (ADR), 1 by Uni of Florida (ASQ) (the only independent journal).

Where does this leave the Australasian Review of African Studies?   Recently ARAS was advised by Thomson Reuters, the commercial agency that collects the data and impact factor ratings to generate the ‘impact factors’ and distribute the ISI Rankings so highly sought after, that ARAS is not eligible to be ranked yet because it does not have enough citations. That means that not enough researchers who are publishing their articles in journals that are already ranked are citing articles published in ARAS. So, until we can get a swell of support from the ranks of the research community in African Studies, and also in studies on the African Diaspora in Australia and New Zealand, to read, use and cite appropriately articles from ARAS in their final publications (but only in ranked journals), then ARAS will remain unranked, and therefore excluded from the commercially driven impact factors. While this remains the case, good researchers will shy away from publishing their research with ARAS, because it simply will not be counted towards their university research output, and they will be discriminated against when it comes to promotions, applications for study leave, and grant applications etc.  So we need to turn this around, and get ARAS listed on the various international commercially driven citations indexes – but without losing its independence, and regional focus on Australasia and the Pacific.

ARAS remains an independent journal published by the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) and is now in its 36th year of publication.  ARAS has published the works of many scholars including the late Prof. Terence Ranger, and is committed to supporting early career researchers in African Studies in the region.  The readership of ARAS goes beyond the academy and includes NGOs, African Embassies and High Commissions in Australia, various Australian government departments, and scholars from a range of disciplines, around the world. And these are just the subscribers. ARAS articles are also accessed through INFORMIT databases, and most university libraries would have access to this.  In 2014 there were near 1800 individual ARAS article downloads from the Informit databases. So, in terms of ‘impact’, ARAS articles are being read widely! Furthermore, all AFSAAP Articles are available from www.afsaap.org.au.

There have been various historical attempts to publish ARAS with large commercial publishers, with the promise of increasing the distribution, profile, online presence and citations. However, this would increase the costs of membership to AFSAAP – members currently pay a modest annual subscription of AU$80 – but would need to pay approx. $300 annually, to pay for the commercial publication and distribution.

AFSAAP has a commitment to its membership, in particular to its near 1000 members from the African continent, many of whom were recipients of the Australia Award Scholarships. These members were awarded ongoing complimentary membership of AFSAAP upon their return to Africa, in order to facilitate the ongoing people-to-people relationships established while they were studying in Australia.  These members receive ARAS Online (Online ISSN: 2203-5184).

Additionally AFSAAP has approx. 300 members who are full subscribers, from all over the world, but mainly in Australia and New Zealand, and they kindly renew their annual membership (which can be done online, or at the annual conference).  These members receive both a hard copy of the journal (ISSN No: 1447-8420) and the Online version available at http://afsaap.org.au/publications/aras/ Members also receive the monthly newsletter, Habari kwa Ufupi, and regular notifications of relevant events etc.

If AFSAAP could increase its full subscription paying membership to over 1000 full subscribers, then the shift to a commercial publishing house could be possible, but that would still mean paying the commercial publisher to produce ARAS from these subscriptions. AFSAAP members voted to keep ARAS independent, and if there was money available this should not be given to a large publisher, but be used to promote research in African Studies – to encourage and enable postgraduate students to do fieldwork in Africa, and attend relevant conferences –AFSAAP is now doing this – see http://afsaap.org.au/opportunities/

To help make ARAS recognized by the commercial citations and index factors,  AFSAAP wishes to declare 2015-2016 – The International Year of Citing the Independent Journal “The Australasian Review of African Studies” (ARAS).

AFSAAP NOW asks that you reference ARAS articles in all of your research and publications in 2015 in order to increase the profile of ARAS and the work of its committed editors and authors working in African Studies in the Australasia and Pacific region.

ARAS has published many excellent articles on African Studies, with a strong focus on the African Diaspora in Australasia, African Politics, and Australia’s relations with Africa. ARAS has also published original research based on fieldwork in many African countries.
See PDF link here – for list of articles you can cite to help ARAS get noticed!
 AFSAAP would like to declare the International Year of Citing the Independent Journal ARAS !!!

March 20th, 2015