Events


SEP
26
Date:
Thursday, 26 Sep 2019
Time:
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location:
Room 201, International Center
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ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Sharlissa Moore is an Assistant Professor of International Energy Policy in James Madison College. Her teaching and research interests focus on the social, policy, equity, and security dimensions of energy systems, particularly those that cross nation-state borders and are undergoing dramatic change. Solving global energy challenges will require deep interdisciplinary collaboration. Thus, Sharlissa collaborates closely with civil and environmental engineers at MSU to study emerging energy technologies. She studies the social and policy issues associated with where renewable energy generation facilities are located, the integration of electricity grids across nation-state borders, and the adoption of new energy technologies, such as battery storage and electric vehicles. Her book on Morocco's solar energy plan and its relationship to energy transitions in the European Union, called "Sustainable Energy Transformations, Power, and Politics: Morocco and the Mediterranean," was published in the fall of 2018 in the Routledge Studies in Energy Transitions book series.


ABOUT THE TALK:
Morocco is a leader among lower-middle income countries in climate change mitigation. The Morocco government recently completed the world's largest solar power plant, and it seeks to reach 52% of its electricity capacity from renewable energy by 2030. These ambitious climate mitigation goals are not solely technological. Rather, they are intertwined with a vision for renewable energy as part of national pride that combines a historical sense of national identity with a vision for a desirable future. This talk describes how the Moroccan government's renewable energy ambitions are interwoven with addressing socioeconomic challenges, including building energy for industrialization, achieving energy security, securing foreign direct investment, growing jobs, improving educational outcomes, and developing a national research and development policy. Near Midelt, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) is breaking ground on a second large-scale solar power plant and a utility-scale wind facility. Midelt is an apple farming community that is suffering from drought and an overall lack of resilience after the closure of mines. The second half of this talk discusses the need for socially sustainable development in the Midelt region. While MASEN seeks to establish a new paradigm for large-scale development that achieves local benefit, this massive development could shock the region. The talk compares nation-scale energy objectives to the objectives of farmers' in the region seeking to bolster the environmental and social sustainability of apple farming.

OCT
10
Date:
Thursday, 10 Oct 2019
Time:
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location:
Room 201, International Center
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ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Elizabeth Schmidt is professor emeritus of history at Loyola University Maryland.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and has written extensively about US involvement in apartheid South Africa, women under colonialism in Zimbabwe, the nationalist movement in Guinea, and foreign intervention in Africa from the Cold War to the war on terror. Her books include: Foreign Intervention in Africa after the Cold War: Sovereignty, Responsibility, and the War on Terror (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2018); Foreign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946-1958 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007); Mobilizing the Masses: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939-1958 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005); Peasants, Traders, and Wives: Shona Women in the History of Zimbabwe, 1870-1939 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1992); and Decoding Corporate Camouflage: U.S. Business Support for Apartheid (Washington, DC: Institute for Policy Studies, 1980). 

ABOUT THE TALK:

To outsiders, the word "Africa" often conjures up images of a continent in crisis, riddled with war and corruption, imploding from disease and starvation.  Africans are regularly blamed for their plight.  The proposed talk challenges such popular myths.  By examining the historical roots of contemporary problems, it demonstrates that many of the predicaments that plague the continent today are not solely the result of African decisions, but also the consequence of foreign intrusion into African affairs. During the Cold War and its aftermath, dictators, warlords, and insurgents supported by outside powers manipulated local ethnic, political, and religious tensions for their own ends.  When strongmen were overthrown or cut adrift, other opportunists, including international terrorist networks, filled the power vacuums. 

Focusing on foreign political and military intervention in Africa during the quarter century after the Cold War (1991–2017), the proposed talk explores the rationales used to justify foreign political and military intervention, the purpose of those interventions, and their consequences. It examines outside involvement as a response to instability, the responsibility to protect civilian lives, and as part of the global war on terror. General points are illustrated by case studies from across the continent.  Special attention is paid to the role of the United States from the Bill Clinton administration through the first year of the Trump administration.

OCT
17
Date:
Thursday, 17 Oct 2019
Time:
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location:
Room 201, International Center
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About the Speaker:
Fallou Ngom is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the African Studies Center at Boston University. His research interests include the interactions between African languages and non-African languages, the adaptations of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa, and Ajami literatures—records of African languages written in Arabic script. He seeks to understand the knowledge buried in African Ajami literatures and the historical, social, cultural, and religious heritage that has found expression in this manner. He has held Fulbright, ACLS/SSRC/NEH, and Guggenheim fellowships. His work has appeared in several scholarly journals, including African Studies Review, Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Language Variation and Change, and International Journal of the Sociology of Language. His book, Muslims beyond the Arab World: The Odyssey of Ajami and the Muridyya (Oxford University Press, 2016), won the Melville J. Herskovits Prize for the best scholarly book in African studies in 2017.

About the Talk:

Although written records are rarely regarded as part of sub-Saharan Africa's heritage, important bodies of Ajami texts (records of African languages written in Arabic script) have existed in Africa for centuries. Ajami writing traditions around the world follow the geography of Islam and are varied. They have played critical roles in the spread of Islam in Muslim communities beyond Arabia and continue to be used for both religious and non-religious writings. Ajami sources document intellectual traditions, histories, belief systems, and cultures of non-Arab Muslims around the world. Despite similar origins in spreading Islam, each Ajami system followed its own trajectory shaped by local cultural, social and political factors. The neglect of African Ajami traditions is due to a number of factors, including the lack of an Ajami public depository, the limited number of scholars with the necessary skills to study Ajami manuscripts, and the pervasive overemphasis on African oral traditions in academia. This talk will show how the study of African Ajami texts will help scholars in the humanities and social sciences revise various aspects of their understanding of pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial Africa.

 

OCT
24
Date:
Thursday, 24 Oct 2019
Time:
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location:
Room 201, International Center
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Details forthcoming.

OCT
31
Date:
Thursday, 31 Oct 2019
Time:
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location:
Room 201, International Center
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Details forthcoming

NOV
7
Date:
Thursday, 07 Nov 2019
Time:
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location:
Room 201, International Center
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About the Speaker:

Chérif Keïta teaches Francophone literature of Africa and the Caribbean, as well as advanced languages courses. A native of Mali, he has published books and articles on both social and literary problems in contemporary Africa. His special interests include the novel and social change in Mali, oral tradition, and the relationship between music(traditional and modern), literature and culture in Africa. Professor Keïta is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker, with a trilogy of films about some of the founding figures of the African national Congress of South Africa.

About the Talk:

In 2009, I completed a documentary film titled, "Cemetery Stories: A Rebel Missionary in South Africa" as part of a trilogy on the missionary origins of the South African liberation movement. It is summarized in these words: "Cornfields and Tembalihle, two communities in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal(South Africa), resisted forced removals from their land for more than 90 years, first under British colonialism and later under Apartheid. Labeled as "black spots" and "informal settlements", they survived this long ordeal of constant harassment to become the first communities in post-Apartheid South Africa to benefit from the new land dispensation laws. Oral stories said that American missionary William Cullen Wilcox had challenged official mission policy to establish their twin settlements in 1912 as a bulwark against aggressive colonial land-grabbing schemes. Almost a century after their creation, the two communities are reunited, as they had long wished, with the descendants of William Cullen and Ida Belle Wilcox, the rebel missionaries whose radical support for racial equality and social justice had led them to mentor decades earlier the future first President of the ANC, John Langalibalele Dube(1871-1946)  and to open the doors of US education to a number of promising black South African youth in the late 19th century." This talk will be about the journey that led Reverend William Cullen Wilcox (1850-1928) and his wife Ida Belle Clary(1858-1940), from Northfield, Minnesota, to the British colony of Natal(South Africa), where they labored as missionaries of the American Board, from 1881 until 1917, when they were driven out of South Africa for their support for human rights and full citizenship for the black colonial subjects. Considered for a long time as "failures" upon their return to the US, and ignored by both politicians and historians in South Africa, William Cullen and Ida belle Wilcox were posthumously recognized in 2009 with the Award of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in Silver for their pioneering role in the South African liberation struggle. In the course of the talk, I will show clips of "Cemetery Stories: A Rebel Missionary in South Africa."

 

 

 

NOV
14
Date:
Thursday, 14 Nov 2019
Time:
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location:
Room 201, International Center
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About the Speaker:

Park Muhonda is a social scientist with an interest and experience in multidisciplinary research – employing both qualitative and quantitative methods and use social and natural science data. He employs multi-dimensional livelihoods approach to large datasets on livelihoods and shock exposure i.e. Living Standards Measurement Study and Integrated Household Survey to understand: 1) where people are exposed to specific shocks and 2) spatial patterns of factors that make people more or less likely to experience shocks in Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Niger and Bangladesh. His PhD dissertation takes a political ecological approach to understand socioeconomic and political conditions that underlie differential livelihoods vulnerability to climate and economic change in rural Malawi. Park is currently working with Dr. Abigail Bennet as a research associate (Postdoc) at MSU, department of Fisheries and Wildlife on a project on fish trade and food security in Malawi. A project that aims to enhance knowledge on fish value chain focusing on issues of gender, food security and small-scale fish workers' livelihoods and understand scalar dimension of fish trade and governance of fisheries and their associated value chains. Park has taught World Regions as full graduate instructor in Geography at WVU, department of Geology and Geography. Previously, Park taught as part time lecture at Share World Open University - water resources management. He also taught geography at secondary school after obtaining his first degree from University of Malawi. Park did his MSc in Integrated Water Resources Management with WaterNet, a regional (SADC) network of university departments and research and training institutes specializing in water. He also worked as project manager at Church and Society Programme.

About the Talk:

Improving food security of the population is the key and long-term goal of the food security policy in Malawi. With about 20% of Malawi's surface area covered by water, fisheries produce an estimated 70,000MT of fish per year accounting for approximately 70% of national animal protein intake and providing essential vitamins and minerals (micronutrients). While the potential of fisheries in contributing to rural livelihoods and meeting national food and nutrition security is generally apparent, substantial knowledge gaps remain about both the magnitude and distribution of these benefits, leading to insufficient policy attention. This Mapping fish value chains project seeks to address the primary questions of who benefits from Lake Malawi fisheries and what factors shape the distribution of benefits. What is the livelihood and food security/nutritional contribution of different fish species at household level? What are the profit margins at each node of the value chain and how do these vary by gender? In order to develop research questions and hypotheses for the project we conducted preliminary analysis of the Third Malawi Household Integrated Survey dataset. Spatial analysis reveals that access to fish/ consumption is not uniform across the country. There is remarkable difference between rural and urban areas. Building on this analysis, this project will integrate spatial analysis techniques and access mapping with value chain analysis to generate finer-scale information about the pathways of distribution of benefits from Lake Malawi's fisheries and mechanisms underpinning the distribution.

DEC
3
Date:
Tuesday, 03 Dec 2019
Time:
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Location:
MSU Ballroom, Student Union