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AfAA Sessions at the 2000 AAA Annual Meetings
By Maria Cattell (Millersville Univeristy)

2000 Copyright © American Anthropology Association

We have five Africa-oriented panels at AAA this year [American Anthropological Association Meetings, November 2000, San Francisco, CA], one of which is the double invited session on Thursday afternoon from 1.45 to 5.30.  The invited session, “Back to the village, off to the city: Ethnographies of African cosmopolitans,” promises to provide an exciting new look at some old issues in African ethnography.  Presenters will revisit earlier debates on African urbanization, asking the question: what are the ethnographic spaces that combine city and village in modern postcolonial Africa?  Presenters will re-examine the concept of the rural-urban dichotomy in Africa through considerations of African cosmopolitanism as style and substance, mobility as a defining feature of sociality, translocality, rural-urban as a continuum, modern transformations of “home,” and Africans coping with state collapse or emerging nationalism, and economic prosperity or decline.  Eric Gable and Richard Werbner organized this session.  Don’t miss it!

If you’re arriving on Wednesday you’ll have your choice of three Africanist panels.  Two begin at noon: “Counting the neighbor’s chickens: Explorations of desire and jealousy in contemporary Africa” (organized by Harry West and Matthew Engelke) and “Dilemmas of African modernity.”  The first session will examine jealousy as an explanatory concept in contemporary Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.  The second considers issues such as educated women and family life in urban Kenya, ethnic and religious conflict in northern Nigeria and HIV/AIDS among Zulu youth in South Africa.

At 6.00 pm Wednesday a panel on “Ethnography of Karamoja and Lake Turkana through thick and thin” (organized by Mustafa Mirzeler) will take a long view of Africanist anthropology among Turkana pastoralists with presentations covering a half century of research.  A related session will begin on Saturday at 12.15: “Problems of sedentarization among northern Kenya pastoralists” (organized by Elliot Fratkin).

Friday’s session, convening at 4.00 pm, considers issues of “African identities” including tourism’s representations of natives, gender and Africans in foreign lands.

Other opportunities for contact with Africanist colleagues include AFAA’s Distinguished Lecture on Friday at 7.30 pm and the AFAA business meeting on Thursday evening.  Check your program for details.

And don’t forget--it’s not too soon to begin thinking about your contributions to next year’s AAA program. Keep in mind that poster sessions are just as welcome as paper sessions.  Posters offer a different way for you and others to look at your research and also the opportunity to meet colleagues who come to the poster session specifically to see your poster and talk with you.

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