Positioning African Studies to Thrive within Changing Research and Political Landscapes

Listening to a roundtable at African Studies Association, including 2 former ASA presidents, but the papers are available to all:
Telling Our Story Part I: Positioning African Studies to Thrive within Changing Research and Political Landscapes

Chuck Ambler, University of Texas at El Paso
Ruby Bell-Gam, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Aili Mari Tripp, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Martha Saavedra, University of California, Berkeley
Pearl Robinson, Tufts University

Abstract:
At a time when multiple pressures challenge teaching and research in area studies, it has become more difficult to promote African Studies at the local, national, and international levels. These pressures include increased emphasis on enrollment-based evaluation and assessment, global security concerns, and the move toward international and global studies – sometimes to the detriment of deep context-based area specialization.

As libraries try to provide services, collections, and spaces tailored to the needs of their users, they face the challenge to cater to these diverse approaches which often compete for the same resources. What knowledge, understanding, experiences, and data can we bring to the table to promote and advocate for African Studies scholarship, teaching, learning, archives and libraries? This roundtable intends to open a dialogue among ASA members (e.g., faculty, graduate students, Title VI center directors, outreach directors, et al.) and a wide range of other stakeholders who benefit from or contribute to the ASA mission — to share ideas and arguments on how to identify and implement strategies for securing a sustained commitment to African and area studies within the academy.

Given the variety of environments in which African Studies scholars work, and the many challenges to scholarly paths for supporting a liberal higher education, we hope this roundtable will stimulate dialogue and ideas to better position African Studies and area studies to thrive.

Ambler, Chuck and Bell-Gam, Ruby and Tripp, Aili Mari and Saavedra, Martha and Robinson, Pearl, Telling Our Story Part I: Positioning African Studies to Thrive within Changing Research and Political Landscapes (March 29, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2241600

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