February 1, 2006
Center for African Studies launches 'African Intellectuals' project
The Center for African Studies has launched a two-year project to promote a dialogue between Stanford scholars and intellectuals in Africa about new and prevailing ideas concerning the continent's present and future, and about possibilities for intellectual work in and on the region.
The effort, headed by James Ferguson, professor of cultural and social anthropology, will examine how African intellectuals conceive of their past and their paths to "modernity." Intellectuals are defined broadly to include artists, writers, musicians, religious leaders, "peasant intellectuals" and other people involved in producing culture.
At 4:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in 113 Pigott Hall (Building 260), the project will host its first quarterly public event, "Publishing Africa: Postcolonial Challenges and Possibilities." The event will include discussions with celebrated Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong'o, a distinguished professor of English and comparative literature and director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California-Irvine. Kassahun Checole, president and publisher of Africa World Press Inc. and the Red Sea Press Inc., based in Lawrenceville, N.J., also will participate. Francis Nyamnjoh, a sociologist and head of publishing and dissemination at the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, in Senegal, also will join the panel, along with Were Omamo, a Stanford visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies and at the Center for Environmental Science and Policy. Omamo, a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C., is leading a new global research program focused on agricultural science and technology policy in developing countries.