381 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Africa about their New Books
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New Books in African Studies New Books Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 25 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Africa about their New Books
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    Till F. Paasche and James Derrick Sidaway, "Transecting Securityscapes: Dispatches from Cambodia, Iraq, and Mozambique" (U Georgia Press, 2021)

    Till F. Paasche and James Derrick Sidaway, "Transecting Securityscapes: Dispatches from Cambodia, Iraq, and Mozambique" (U Georgia Press, 2021)

    In this interview, I speak with Till F. Paasche and James D. Sidaway about their new book, Transecting Securityscapes: Dispatches from Cambodia, Iraq, and Mozambique (University of Georgia Press, 2021). In addition to the book's methodological and theoretical contributions, we also discussed the extensive field research and important personal experiences informing this project.
    This is an innovative book on the everyday life of security, told via an examination of three sites: Cambodia, the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and Mozambique. The authors' study of how security is enacted differently in these three sites, taking account of the rich layers of context and culture, enables comparative reflections on diversity and commonality in "securityscapes."
    The book puts into practice a diverse and contextual approach to security that contrasts with the aerial, big-picture view taken by many geopolitics scholars. In applying this grounded approach, Paasche and Sidaway develop a method of urban and territorial transects, combined with other methods and modes of encounter. The book draws on a broad range of traditions, but it speaks mostly to political geography, urban studies, and international relations research on geopolitics, stressing the need for ethnographic, embodied, affective, and place-based approaches to conflict. The result is a sustained theoretical critique of abstract research on geopolitical conflict and security-mainstream as well as academic-that pretends to be able to know and analyze conflict "from above."
    Please note: the second half of this podcast includes discussion of combat, death and loss.
    Till F. Paasche is Associate Professor of political geography at Soran University.
    James D. Sidaway is Professor of political geography at the National University of Singapore.
    Catriona Gold is a PhD candidate in Geography at University College London, researching security, subjectivity and mobility in the 20-21st century United States. Her current work concerns the US Passport Office; she has previously published on US Africa Command and the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic. She can be reached by email or on Twitter.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    An Ethnography of Tourism and Globalization: In Conversation with Dr. Annie Hikido

    An Ethnography of Tourism and Globalization: In Conversation with Dr. Annie Hikido

    How do Black women entrepreneurs in South Africa play off westerners’ fear and desire for impoverished townships through home-based tourist accommodations? This episode’s guest is Dr. Annie Hikido, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colby College. She tells us how her racialized experiences growing up as a Japanese-American woman in California pushed her to become an ethnographer and race scholar. She then describes the ethnographic experiences behind her wonderful new article in Qualitative Sociology, “Making South Africa Safe: The Gendered Production of Black Place on the Global Stage,” in which she stayed with Black women in marginalized South African townships who open their homes to mostly-white tourists. She explains both these women’s public-facing performances of themselves to their visitors, as well as the behind-the-scenes and community efforts that went into presenting the townships as a safe space. She then reflects on how the women and community members understood her as an Asian-American woman and researcher, before describing her ongoing relationships with the women and the current state of her research given the pandemic.
    Alex Diamond is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Texas, Austin. Sneha Annavarapu is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago.
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    • 47 min
    Robin J. Hayes, "Love for Liberation: African Independence, Black Power, and a Diaspora Underground" (U Washington Press, 2021)

    Robin J. Hayes, "Love for Liberation: African Independence, Black Power, and a Diaspora Underground" (U Washington Press, 2021)

    During the height of the Cold War, passionate idealists across the US and Africa came together to fight for Black self-determination and the antiracist remaking of society. Beginning with the 1957 Ghanaian independence celebration, the optimism and challenges of African independence leaders were publicized to African Americans through community-based newspapers and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Inspired by African independence--and frustrated with the slow pace of civil rights reforms in the US--a new generation of Black Power activists embarked on nonviolent direct action campaigns and built alternative institutions designed as spaces of freedom from racial subjugation.
    In Love for Liberation: African Independence, Black Power, and a Diaspora Underground (U Washington Press, 2021), Robin Hayes reveals how Black Power and African independence activists created a diaspora underground, characterized by collaboration and reciprocal empowerment. Together, they redefined racial discrimination as an international human rights issue requiring education, sustained collective action, and global solidarity--laying the groundwork for future transnational racial justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter.
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    • 1 hr 10 min
    Ndubueze L. Mbah, "Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age" (Ohio UP, 2019)

    Ndubueze L. Mbah, "Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age" (Ohio UP, 2019)

    In Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age (Ohio University Press, 2019), Ndubueze L. Mbah argues that the Bight of Biafra region’s Atlanticization—or the interaction between regional processes and Atlantic forces such as the slave trade, colonialism, and Christianization—between 1750 and 1920 transformed gender into the primary mode of social differentiation in the region. He incorporates over 250 oral narratives of men and women across a range of social roles and professions with material culture practices, performance traditions, slave ship data, colonial records, and more to reveal how Africans channeled the socioeconomic forces of the Atlantic world through their local ideologies and practices. The gendered struggles over the means of social reproduction conditioned the Bight of Biafra region’s participation in Atlantic systems of production and exchange, and defined the demography of the region’s forced diaspora. By looking at male and female constructions of masculinity and sexuality as major indexes of social change, Emergent Masculinities transforms our understanding of the role of gender in precolonial Africa and fills a major gap in our knowledge of a broader set of theoretical and comparative issues linked to the slave trade and the African diaspora.
    Ndubueze L. Mbah is an Associate Professor of African History at SUNY-Buffalo.
    Thomas Zuber is a PhD Candidate in History at Columbia University.
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    • 1 hr 16 min
    April Sizemore-Barber, "Prismatic Performances: Queer South Africa and the Fragmentation of the Rainbow Nation" (U Michigan Press, 2020)

    April Sizemore-Barber, "Prismatic Performances: Queer South Africa and the Fragmentation of the Rainbow Nation" (U Michigan Press, 2020)

    At his 1994 inauguration, South African president Nelson Mandela announced the "Rainbow Nation, at peace with itself and the world." This national rainbow notably extended beyond the bounds of racial coexistence and reconciliation to include "sexual orientation" as a protected category in the Bill of Rights. Yet despite the promise of equality and dignity, the new government's alliance with neoliberal interests and the devastation of the AIDS epidemic left South Africa an increasingly unequal society. 
    Prismatic Performances: Queer South Africa and the Fragmentation of the Rainbow Nation (U Michigan Press, 2020) on the queer embodiments that both reveal and animate the gaps between South Africa's self-image and its lived realities. It argues that performance has become a key location where contradictions inherent to South Africa's post-apartheid identity are negotiated. The book spans 30 years of cultural production and numerous social locations and includes: a team of black lesbian soccer players who reveal and redefine the gendered and sexed limitations of racialized "Africanness;" white gay performers who use drag and gender subversion to work through questions of racial and societal transformation; black artists across the arts who have developed aesthetics that place on display their audiences' complicity in the problem of sexual violence; and a primarily heterosexual panAfrican online soap opera fandom community who, by combining new virtual spaces with old melodramatic tropes allow for extended deliberation and new paradigms through which African same-sex relationships are acceptable. Prismatic Performances contends that when explicitly queer bodies emerge onto public stages, audiences are made intimately aware of their own bodies' identifications and desires. As the sheen of the New South Africa began to fade, these performances revealed the inadequacy and, indeed, the violence, of the Rainbow Nation as an aspirational metaphor. Simultaneously they created space for imagining new radical configurations of belonging.
    Dr. April Sizemore-Barber is Associate Professor of the Practice in Women’s and Gender Studies at Georgetown University.
    Isabel Machado is Research Associate with the SARChI Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture hosted by the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at the University of Johannesburg.
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    • 1 hr 3 min
    Andrew Farrand, "The Algerian Dream: Youth and the Quest for Dignity" (New Degree Press, 2021)

    Andrew Farrand, "The Algerian Dream: Youth and the Quest for Dignity" (New Degree Press, 2021)

    "Algeria is different." Africa's largest country is a place that few western academics have studied or been able to travel to. The modern nation, forged in the anticolonial struggle against French colonialism between 1957 and 1963, has been bolstered by the discovery of oil shortly thereafter. Nearly two-thirds of Algeria's population is under the age of 35. Growing up during or soon after the violent conflict that wracked Algeria during the 1990's, and amid the powerful influences of global online culture, this generation views the world much differently than their parents or grandparents do. 
    The Algerian Dream: Youth and the Quest for Dignity (New Degree Press, 2021) invites readers to discover this generation, their hopes for the future and, most significantly, the frustrations that have brought them into the streets en masse since 2019, peacefully challenging a long-established order. After seven years living and working alongside these young people across Algeria, Andrew G. Farrand shares his insights on what makes the next generation tick in North Africa's sleeping giant.
    Few outsiders have had the privilege to get to know Algeria and its youth so intimately-or to observe firsthand this pivotal chapter in the nation's history. It's a story that reveals much about the relationship between citizens and leaders, about the sanctity of human dignity, and about the power of dreams and the courage to pursue them.
    Clearly written and easily accessibly to undergraduates as well as the general public, The Algerian Dream should be considered by anyone interested in contemporary North Africa or looking for new texts for courses on the modern Middle East and contemporary Arab culture.
    Christopher S. Rose is a social historian of medicine focusing on Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean in the 19th and 20th century. He currently teaches History at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas and Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.
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    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

T Drinker ,

Max Siollun’s book interview!

Max Siollun carried the interview, he was both enthusiastic and current. I can’t wait to read his latest book “What Britain did to Nigeria.”

JasonByrne film ,

Excellent podcast

This is an excellent podcast. Always interesting book topics and insightful q

Kioriki ,

Great ideas!

Great podcast that delves deep into contemporary and historic Africa!

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