The Director's Message

Welcome to the virtual home of the Institute of African Studies (IAS) and the 2018-19 academic year. Our community is growing by leaps and bounds. Walter Rucker, who works on the diaspora, joins us from Rutgers University. His most recent book is Gold Coast Diasporas. Devaka Premawardhana, most recently at Colorado College, will be based in the Department of Religion. Devaka just published Faith in Flux based on research in Mozambique. And Bayo Holsey, also from Rutgers, joins our Department of Anthropology. Her recent book is Routes of Remembrance. Finally, Melissa Hackman, a recent IAS post-doc, has taken a position in the Woodruff Library.

Kudos to Nathan Suhr-Sytsma and Kristin Phillips for their terrific new books. Nathan’s Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature came out recently with Cambridge, and this fall Indiana will be publishing Kristin’s An Ethnography of Hunger. Lots of other books are on their way, including one by Pamela Scully on transnational history. There are too many articles to mention, but a quick shout-out goes to Susan Gagliardi and her special issue of Historical Geography.

We welcome back Adriana Chira from Yale, where she was a fellow at the Agrarian Studies Center, and Subha Xavier, who spent a terrific year in Paris. And bravo to Tehila Sasson, who will be in London most of the year after winning a NEH fellowship to complete her book on humanitarianism.

Our graduate students continue to amaze. Daniel Thompson is back from research in Ethiopia, already with a number of publications. Ashley Parcells, who finished this past May, has an article in the Journal of African History just as she heads to Florida to take up her new job.

Welcome new undergraduate students, graduate students, and visiting researchers! The intellectual life of the IAS is anchored in the Thursday research seminar, which will meet thirteen times over the course of the year to discuss work in progress by eight visiting scholars and five members of the IAS community at Emory. In October, journalist and Columbia professor Howard French will be delivering a lecture “Understanding Africa-China Relations.” Later that month, there will be a roundtable with Emory graduates and faculty discussing research and writing on Africa. And in November, Professor António Tomás (UCT) will lecture on African urbanism, right around the same time Leslie Bank (HSRC) joins us as a visitor. 

Also keep an eye out for lectures this October from Professor Babacar Mbaye Diop from Senegal, as well as a lecture late November by Columbia Professor Souleymane Bachir Diop.

Finally, and importantly, the African Studies Association meetings are coming to Atlanta at the end of November. Students and faculty will be presenting at the conference, including a series of special panels in honor of Kristin Mann’s retirement after more than three decades of pioneering research and teaching.

In short, it’s going to be a great year to be an Emory Africanist! 

Clifton Crais
Director