African Studies Workshop

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The African Studies Workshop at Harvard was inaugurated in Fall of 2012, and continues this year with a new and exciting schedule of presenters.  This workshop is convened by Professors Jean and John Comaroff.  Each Monday evening, starting at 6:00 pm, a scholar presents a paper on one facet of the rapidly changing position of Africa in the global political economy and the impact of that change on global distributions of wealth, well-being, and power.  Workshop presenters are scholars of high international repute as well as up and coming Africanist intellectuals.

Prof Achille Mbembe commenced the Harvard Africa Workshop on September 10, 2012, presenting ‘Africa in Theory’, moderated by Professors Jean and John Comaroff.

The Workshop runs, simultaneously, as a graduate seminar, a professional apprenticeship for doctoral Africanists-in-training across the disciplines, and a laboratory for international scholarly exchange.  Its intellectual theme for the first three years, 2012-2015, is to be Africa and the World at Large: Or, What the New Global Order Has to Learn from the Contemporary African Experience.  Under this theme, three major topic foci will be addressed:

  • Changing Economies, Changing Politics, Changing Faces of Capitalism
  • State Transformations, Social Order, and the Problem of Crime
  • Health and Crises of Reproduction

A graduate seminar is being held in conjunction with the African Studies Workshop.  Africa Rising? New African Economies/Cultures and Their Global Implications (AAAS 209A), led by Professors John and Jean Comaroff, will explore Africa’s changing place in the world – and the new economies, legalities, socialities, and cultural forms that have arisen there. It will also interrogate the claim that the African present is a foreshadowing of processes beginning to occur elsewhere; that, therefore, it is a productive source of theory about current conditions world-wide.

At each Workshop, a paper, pre-circulated a week in advance through this list, will be presented for critique and discussion. Students and post-docs are then invited to engage in discussion for 30 minutes, before the floor is open to all those present, including faculty and visitors, under the moderation of the Workshop Chair.