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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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Publications IV/2019

Alber, Erdmute ; Kroeker, Lena:"Preparing old age in Kenya and Benin : A contribution to the debates on social differentiatio..Hide

Alber, Erdmute ; Kroeker, Lena:"Preparing old age in Kenya and Benin : A contribution to the debates on social differentiation in Africa"

Ethnizität, Bodenrecht, nationale Erinnerungspolitik und Mittelklasse – Carola Lentz hat viele ethnologische Themenfelder entscheidend weiterentwickelt. Ihre mehrfach ausgezeichneten Bücher basieren auf Feldforschungen in Westafrika, vor allem in Ghana und Burkina Faso. Auch wenn sich ihr Werk sicher nicht auf einen Begriff reduzieren lässt, zieht sich ein ausgeprägtes Interesse an „Zugehörigkeiten“ wie ein roter Faden durch ihre Forschung.

Carola Lentz reflektiert Erforschen als Interaktionsprozess, bei dem die angenommene oder verweigerte „Zugehörigkeit“ der Ethnolog*in zu den Erforschten wichtige Einsichten bringt. Insbesondere bei den Themenfeldern Ethnizität und Erinnerungspolitik untersucht sie, wie Akteure unterschiedliche „Zugehörigkeiten“ herstellen und verhandeln. Unter dem Begriff Aufführung hat sie performative Praktiken erforscht, die diese unterschiedlichen Formen von „Zugehörigkeit“ mit Leben füllen.

Dieser Sammelband, der Carola Lentz und ihr wissenschaftliches Werk anlässlich ihres 65. Geburtstags würdigt, vereint Beiträge von Kolleginnen und Kollegen aus verschiedenen Forschungskontexten. Auf ganz unterschiedliche Weise und in vielen Fällen auch inspiriert von bzw. geprägt durch die Forschung und universitäre Lehre von Carola Lentz spiegeln die Beiträge ihr Interesse am Erforschen, Verhandeln und Aufführen von Zugehörigkeiten.

In: Beek, Jan ; N’Guessan, Konstanze ; Späth, Mareike (ed.): Zugehörigkeiten : Erforschen, Verhandeln, Aufführen im Sinne von Carola Lentz. - Köln : Köppe Verlag , 2019 . - pp. 213-227 . - (Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung ; 42 ) ISBN 978-3-89645-843-8

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Akello, Grace ; Beisel, Uli: Challenges, Distrust, and Understanding Hide

We assessed how the everyday work challenges that frontline health workers (FRHWs) face in the government health sector in northern Uganda influence their trust in the Ministry of Health (MOH). We employed qualitative research techniques, including interviews and participant observation, over a 9-month period to examine FRHWs’ viewpoints about how the MOH should address these challenges in service delivery. One hundred and sixty-five FRHWs, of whom 48 were recruited for extensive follow-up, participated in our study. Key findings include distrust in the MOH is prevalent among FRHWs, there is a lack of trust in the organization’s coordination role in service delivery and this affects health care delivery to patients, interrelations, and provider cooperation. Therefore, restoring trust in government hospitals will require a truthful non-violent response by the MOH in its contractual agreement with FRHWs. In our analysis, we employ Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action.

Akello, Grace ; Beisel, Uli: Challenges, Distrust, and Understanding : Employing Communicative Action in Improving Trust in a Public Medical Sector in Uganda. In: SAGE Open. Vol. 9 (2019) Issue 4 . - No. 215824401989370.

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Beisel, Uli ; Ganle, John Kuumuori: The Release of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in Burkina FasoHide

Beisel, Uli ; Ganle, John Kuumuori: The Release of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in Burkina Faso : Bioeconomy of Science, Public Engagement and Trust in Medicine. In: African Studies Review. Vol. 62 (2019) Issue 3 . - pp. 164-173.

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Beisel, Uli: What might we learn from ANT for studying healthcare issues in the majority worldHide

In this contribution, I think through how ANT and related feminist science studies’ sensibilities can help us think differently about healthcare issues in the majority world. The piece discusses the implications of the methodological impulse of ANT not to divide the realms that make up the complex knots of realities. I analyse the development of the malaria vaccine MOSQUIRIX, and in this weave together questions of (i) how the vaccine relates to global and local infrastructures of healthcare provision, (ii) how it might help us to think about technological fixes and (iii) how parasites are stubborn actants in themselves whose biological complexity and changeability temper with the hopes of vaccine developers. The contribution argues that it is crucial for ANT-inspired analyses to ask what kinds of practices of caring for bodies, patients and environments fall off the agendas of philanthropists, pharmaceutical industry and global health policies? It is here, where the study of health in the majority world can inspire STS, namely in bringing the effects that situations of (often prolonged) economic, environmental and social vulnerabilities and insecurities have on bodies (human and parasite alike), minds, infrastructures, our living environments and landscapes more broadly to the fore.

Beisel, Uli: What might we learn from ANT for studying healthcare issues in the majority world, and what might ANT learn in turn? In: Blok, Anders ; Farias, Ignacio ; Roberts, Celia (ed.): The Routledge Companion to Actor-Network Theory. - London : Routledge , 2019 . - pp. 246-255

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Clemens, Iris: Comment : Cultural Identities in Multilocal Spaces : bringing in multiplicity.Hide

The comment emphasizes upon the trinity of identity, space and connections or relations, referring to the contributions of the special issue. This perspective is used to ask for a concept of culture capturing the relationality of the social. Following the relational approach, any social actor has many identities while moving permanently between many social figurations, as e.g. network theory (White 2008) as a theory of the betweeness points out. Accordingly, a conceptualization of multiplicity of identities is a necessary component of theoretical approaches that catch up with these insights in a general emphasis on multiplicity (e.g. of space). What becomes visible is, that to grasp the multiplicity, fluidity and dynamics as well as the interdependency of identities and spaces (multilocal or else), their relationality must be focused upon. This challenges older disparities like local-global as well. In that sense, relationality is the key to bring identities, spaces and cultures together and integrate them into one concept that is capable of describing and analysing such different experiences represented in this volume.

Clemens, Iris: Comment : Cultural Identities in Multilocal Spaces : bringing in multiplicity
In: Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education : Studies of Migration, Integration, Equity, and Cultural Survival Bd. 13 (2019) Heft 1. - S. 68-72.

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Clemens, Iris: Projekt: Exzellenzcluster Africa multiple : Reconfiguring African Studies an der Universität Bayreuth Hide

Clemens, Iris:
Projekt: Exzellenzcluster Africa multiple : Reconfiguring African Studies an der Universität Bayreuth und die Research Section learning.
In: Erziehungswissenschaft. Bd. 30 (2019) Heft 58. - S. 126-127.

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Dieter, Neubert: "Inequality, Socio-cultural Differentiation and Social Structures in Africa"Hide

This book contends that conventional class concepts are not able to adequately capture social inequality and socio-cultural differentiation in Africa. Earlier empirical findings concerning ethnicity, neo-traditional authorities, patron-client relations, lifestyles, gender, social networks, informal social security, and even the older debate on class in Africa, have provided evidence that class concepts do not apply; yet these findings have mostly been ignored.

For an analysis of the social structures and persisting extreme inequality in African societies – and in other societies of the world – we need to go beyond class, consider the empirical realities and provincialise our conventional theories. This book develops a new framework for the analysis of social structure based on empirical findings and more nuanced approaches, including livelihood analysis and intersectionality, and will be useful for students and scholars in African studies and development studies, sociology, social anthropology, political science and geography.

Neubert, D., 2019. Inequality, Socio-cultural Differentiation and Social Structures in Africa: Beyond Class. Springer International Publishing, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-17111-7

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Fendler, Ute: "Cinema is a country: The transgressive power of images in The Sea is Behind by Hicham Lasri"Hide

Since 2013, the Moroccan filmmaker Hicham Lasri has released a film each year, each of which has met with success at international festivals. All of these films transgress narrative and aesthetic cinematic boundaries, and The Sea is Behind (2015) is no exception: in a fable about the relations between human beings in a society that is losing its ethical and moral orientations, it invites us to consider our perception of the Other. The first part of the article addresses the active construction of its narrative from narrative fragments; the second part focuses on the ways in which the film's fragmented/composite narrative structure is reinforced by aesthetic means, so that, as the complex theme of the position and perception of marginalized groups is developed, new perspectives open up at the interstices, creating an impression of the dehumanizing conditions of life in this society.

"Le cinéma est un pays ..." (‘Cinema is a country’) or the transgressive power of images in The sea is behind by Hicham Lasri.” In: Journal of African Cinemas. 2019, 25-36.

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Glasman, Joël: Humanitarianism and the Quantification of Human Needs. Minimal HumanityHide

This book provides an historical inquiry into the quantification of needs in humanitarian assistance. Needs are increasingly seen as the lowest common denominator of humanity. Standard definitions of basic needs, however, set a minimalist version of humanity – both in the sense that it is narrow in what it compares, and that it sets a low bar for satisfaction. The book argues that we cannot understand humanitarian governance if we do not understand how humanitarian agencies made human suffering commensurable across borders in the first place. Drawing on a range of archival sources, including the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), and the Sphere Project, the book traces the concept of needs from its emergence in the 1960s right through to the present day, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for “evidence-based humanitarianism.” This historical inquiry into the universal nature of human suffering will be an important read for humanitarian researchers and practitioners, as well as readers with an interest in international history and development.

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Gunkel, Henriette ; Lynch, Kara : We Travel the Space WaysHide

A new take on Afrofuturism, this book gathers together a range of contemporary voices who, carrying legacies of 500 years of contact between Africa, Europe, and the Americas, reach towards the stars and unknown planets, galaxies, and ways of being. Writing from queer and feminist perspectives and circumnavigating continents, they recalibrate definitions of Afrofuturism. The editors and contributors of this exciting volume thus reflect upon the re-emergence of Black visions of political and cultural futures, proposing practices, identities, and collectivities.

With contributions from AfroFuturist Affair, John Akomfrah, Jamika Ajalon, Stefanie Alisch, Jim Chuchu, Grisha Coleman, Thomas F. DeFrantz, Abigail DeVille, M. Asli Dukan with Wildseeds, Kodwo Eshun, Anna Everett, Raimi Gbadamosi, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Milumbe Haimbe, Ayesha Hameed, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Kara Keeling, Carla J. Maier, Tobias Nagl, Tavia Nyongo, Rasheedah Phillips, Daniel Kojo Schrade, Nadine Siegert, Robyn Smith, Greg Tate and Frohawk Two Feathers.

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Katsakioris, Constantin: Students from Portuguese Africa in the Soviet Union, 1960–74Hide

A major ally of the Marxist-inspired liberation movements, which fought against Portuguese colonialism in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and Mozambique, the Soviet Union provided them with not only military, but also civil aid in the form of scholarships. This paper focuses on the training of students from Portuguese Africa in the USSR. While it provides data and analyzes the importance and the complexities of educational assistance in the context of anti-colonial revolutions, it also sheds light on the tensions and serious conflicts that cast a shadow over the relationships between students and leaders. Students who created opposition groups and were accused of plotting against the leaders, criticizing the USSR, or trying to postpone their return to the motherland were repatriated and punished. Others managed to migrate and pursued their opposition from the West. Confronted with these phenomena, the party leaders grew disillusioned and reduced the number of students studying in the Soviet Union.

Katsakioris, Constantin: Students from Portuguese Africa in the Soviet Union, 1960–74: Anti-colonialism, Education, and the Socialist Alliance. In: Journal of Contemporary History

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Ndi-Shang, Gil: Letter from America - Memoir of an Adopted ChildHide

Inspired by Alistair Cooke’s masterpiece “Letter from America” (1934-2004) that depicted the transformation of British culture in the United States of America, Ndi-Shang’s text redefines ‘America’, focusing on the melting pot engendered by African, indigenous, European and Asian cultures in Latin America through the case of Peru, the erstwhile epicentre of Spanish empire in Latin America. It is a reflection on the triangular relationship between Africa, Europe and America against the backdrop of slavery and (neo-)colonialism which continue to define intimate experiences, daily interactions, personal trajectories and human relations in a ‘globalized world’. Ndi-Shang probes into the legacies of racial inequalities but also the possibilities of a new ethic of encounter amongst human beings/cultures. The text is based on an intricate interweaving of the humorous with the tragic, the personal with the global, the historical with the current and the real with the creative.

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Nyeck, Sybille: Routledge Handbook of Queer African StudiesHide

This handbook offers diverse perspectives on queer Africa, incorporating scholarly contributions on themes that reflect and inflect the trajectories of queer contributions to African studies within and outside academia.

The Routledge Handbook of Queer African Studies incorporates a range of unique perspectives, reflecting ongoing struggles between regimes of inclusion and those of transformation premised upon different relational and reflexive engagements between queer embodiment and Africa’s subjectivities. All sections of this handbook blend contributions from public intellectuals and practitioners with academic reflections on topics not limited to neoliberalism, social care, morality and ethics, social education, and technology, through the lens of queer African studies. The book renders visible the ongoing transformations and resistance within African societies as well as the inventiveness of queer presence in negotiating belonging.

This handbook will be of interest to students and scholars of gender and sexuality in Africa, queer studies, and African culture and society.

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Richards, Paul, et al.: Trust, and distrust, of Ebola Treatment Centers : A case-study from Sierra LeoneHide

The paper considers local responses to the introduction of an Ebola Treatment Centre in eastern Sierra Leone during the West African epidemic of 2014–15. Our study used qualitative methods consisting of focus groups and interviews, to gather responses from patients, members of the families of survivors and deceased victims of the disease, social liaison workers from the centre, and members of the general public. The data indicate that scepticism and resistance were widespread at the outset, but that misconceptions were replaced, in the minds of those directly affected by the disease, by more positive later assessments.

Social workers, and social contacts of families with workers in the centre, helped reshape these perceptions, but a major factor was direct experience of the disease. This is apparent in the positive endorsements by survivors and families who had members taken to the facility. Even relatives of deceased victims agreed that the case-handling centre was valuable.

However, we also present evidence of continuing scepticism in the minds of members of the general public, who continue to suspect that Ebola was a crisis manufactured for external benefit. Our conclusions stress the importance of better connectivity between communities and Ebola facilities to facilitate experiential learning. There is also a need to address the wider cognitive shock caused by a well-funded Ebola health initiative arriving in communities
with a long history of inadequate health care. Restoring trust in medicine requires Ebola Virus Disease to be re-contextualized within a broader framework of concern for the health of all citizens.

Richards, Paul ; Mokuwa, Esther ; Maat, Harro ; Welmers, Pleun ; Beisel, Uli: Trust, and distrust, of Ebola Treatment Centers : A case-study from Sierra Leone. In: PLoS One. Vol. 14 (December 2019) Issue 12 . - No. e0224511.

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Schramm, Katharina; Balkenhol, Markus: "Doing race in Europe: contested pasts and contemporary practices"Hide

In this introduction to the special section on ‘Doing Race in Europe’ we take up the notion of race as an ‘absent presence’ to deal with two related issues. First, we consider the historically contested position of race in the discipline of anthropology. Second, we think through the notion of an ‘absent presence’ conceptually and methodologically so as to develop a relational approach enabling us to analyse race in practice. We take as a point of departure the idea that we cannot know race in advance, and that we therefore need to study how it comes about, and how it is made and unmade in specific situations. We therefore call for renewed ethnographic attention to how race is made absent and present in multiple ways. This special section is the first joint publication of the EASA network for the anthropology of race and ethnicity (ARE).

Balkenhol, M., Schramm, K., 2019. Doing race in Europe: contested pasts and contemporary practices. Soc Anthropol 27, 585–593.

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Schramm, Katharina; Beaudevin, Claire: "Sorting, typing, classifying"Hide

The elephant in the room is huge, but quiet. It is so taken for granted that it melts into the tapestry. Nobody in the room notes its presence. Though disregarded, it is still strikingly present, a massive force that people must walk around if they wish to move within the room.

The metaphor of this troubling pachyderm, of course, is well known and widely used (see, for example, Krueger 2017; Thomas 2016). The figurative elephant in the room alludes to issues that seem obvious, but are so disturbing that they are actively ignored or put aside to ensure business as usual. In our view, the resulting spectrum of ignorance goes from voluntary blindness to the point where, hidden in plain sight, the obvious and disturbing issues may actuallynot be known by some of the protagonists.

In this think piece, which accompanies our special section on the problem of classification in ethnography, we suggest that matters of classification, categorization, and typology in all of their shades constitute an ‘elephant in the room’ of ethnographic field research and writing, both an obvious and invisible part of our anthropological epistemology. We decided to use the metaphor of the elephant in the room to guide us in this text, as we address questions of methodology, positionality, epistemology, and representation in ways we deem heuristic.

Schramm, K., Beaudevin, C., 2019. Sorting, typing, classifying: The elephants in our ethnographic rooms. MAT 6, 276–290.

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Tchokothe, Rémi Armand: "Kiswahili literature in crisis"Hide

The substantial number of Kiswahili prose works published since the 1990s and the growing interest in their analysis play down some drawbacks that make Kiswahili literature vulnerable. Contrary to the usual celebrations of these texts, this article presents the other side of the coin, which suggests a potential crisis in Kiswahili literature. The article begins with Obi Wali’s plea for African literatures to be written in African languages, before narrowing it down to Kiswahili literature. The article shows that although writers in Kiswahili have between the 1970s and the 1990s qualitatively as well as quantitatively responded to Wali’s call, one needs to critically assess works published since the end of the 1990s and especially since the early 2000s. One needs to reconsider the question posed by Matundura: ‘what ails Kiswahili literature?’ This article explores the following challenges facing Kiswahili literature: authorial (im)posture and the ‘death of the critic’; ‘felicitous borrowings’; the demise of editing and the school book race and writers in Kiswahili; and Western midwives and disconnected readers.

Tchokothe, R.A., 2020. Kiswahili literature in crisis. South African Journal of African Languages 40, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1080/02572117.2019.1672338

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Tchokothe, Rémi Armand: "A European border in Africa"Hide

A cursory glance at the world map would sug-gest the Comoros, an archipelago in the In-dian Ocean consisting of four main islands, forms a single geographical unit. But a very eventful his-tory, shaped in many respects by colonialism, has led to the fact that its political, social, and cultural conditions today are very complicated.

A European Border in Africa : the Comoros in the focus of literary criticism.  In: Spektrum. Vol. 15/2 (November 2019). - S. 78-82.

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Tchokothe, Rémi Armand: "Swahili as a medium of decolonization"Hide

Swahili as a medium of decolonization.  In: Spektrum. Vol. 15/2 (November 2019). - S. 78-82.

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Vierke, Clarissa: "Other Worlds: The “Prophet’s Ascension” as World Literature and its Adaptation in Swahili-speaking East...Hide

Vierke, Clarissa: "Other Worlds: The “Prophet’s Ascension” as World Literature and its Adaptation in Swahili-speaking East Africa"

World literature as a study beyond paradigms of national literature is a seemingly open project inviting to study any transnational or transcontinental circulation of texts. So far, however, in many studies, circulation has largely been measured by a text’s contribution to the Western literary reservoir. In this contribution, my aim is to broaden the view on world literature by leaving the West as point of temporal, spatial or intertextual reference. I will open up another perspective on the circulation of texts across space, time and languages in a “world” outside of the West. More specifically, I will take the example of a ramified Islamic text, the so-called micrāj, the story of how the Prophet Muhammad travelled the heavens in one night. After outlining its broad circulation, I will follow the story of the Prophet’s ascension to the Swahili-speaking coast of East Africa at the shore of the Indian Ocean. By reversing the perspective and focusing on the “small” Swahili literature, into which the Islamic narrative becomes adapted, my contribution does not only study different adaptations, but also questions the novelty and uniqueness of transnational and -continental circulation, often celebrated as a product of Western modern times and its new outlook on both the nation and the world.

2019. Other Worlds: The “Prophet’s Ascension” as World Literature and its Adaptation in Swahili-speaking East Africa. In: Dieter Lamping, Galin Tihanov and Matthias Bortmuth (eds.): Vergleichende Weltliteraturen / Comparative World Literatures. Stuttgart: Metzler 215-229.

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