At the end of the 2008-2009 academic year, the AfAA had a total of 345 members. Our graduate student membership increased in March, and we are now proud to have 109 graduate students as part of AfAA. We continue to maintain our strong emphasis on graduate student participation and research. The AfAA Board also welcomes Yolanda Covington-Ward as the new AfAA Secretary. She will officially begin her term at the Philadelphia meetings in December. This year Bennetta Jules-Rosette ends her two terms as President of the AfAA. We are pleased that Maria Cattell will begin her term as the new President at our Business Meeting on December 4. Maria has many new and innovative projects already underway.
This year’s AfAA reception, which will take place in the Independence II Room in the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia at 6:30 p.m., includes a performance by renowned Afro-Caribbean artist and musician Gene Perry. We promise a very exciting evening. The evening will feature the presentation of our annual awards, followed by the 2009 AfAA Distinguished Lecture “Chiluba's Trunks: Consumption, Excess, and the Dramaturgy of Power in Zambia” by Karen Tranberg Hansen of Northwestern University. Professor Hansen’s address will begin at 7:30PM. Our business meeting, starting at 8:30PM, will conclude the evening. We hope to see you there!
We have received seven entries for our second annual presentation of the Elliott P. Skinner Book Award, and the winner will be announced by Betty Harris and Gwendohlyn Mikell at our December 4 reception. The 2009 AfAA Graduate Student Paper Award will be presented to Lauren Adrover of Northwestern University for her paper entitled: “Festive Currencies of Value: Culture, Commodifcation, and Performative Action in Ghana.” An Honorable Mention award for this year’s Graduate Student Paper Award goes to Scott Matter of McGill University for his paper entitled “Neopatrimonialism, Land Tenure Transformation, and Violence at Enoosupukia, Kenya.”
The Undergraduate Paper Award will be presented to Josephine Pang of the University of California, San Diego. Pang’s essay “A Gendered Critique of Social/Sexual Network: The Case of HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Uganda” contains a thorough comparative analysis of the role social and cultural networks play in HIV education and prevention. Underlying this comparison rests a thoughtful critique of classical network theory, which Pang rewrites in order to highlight the primacy of “gendered nodes” in the discussion of HIV/AIDS. We congratulate Josephine on her excellent essay, which offers significant contributions for cross-cultural studies of social networks as well strategies of HIV/AIDS prevention.
Sadly, the AfAA also deeply regrets the loss of former AfAA Treasurer Nancy Schwartz, who passed away in April of 2009. Nancy “Penny” Schwartz passed away on 24 April after a courageous battle against cancer. Nancy was a stellar, stalwart, and vibrant member of the AfAA Board, and we will miss her greatly.