November 23, 2012
News, Announcements, and Analysis from ACAS
We are saddened by the passing of South African scholar Ben Magubane. Many ACAS members knew and worked with Ben as both a scholar and activist, particularly during his many years in the United States. His daughter, Zine Magubane, wrote this obituary. Also, this hour-long interview with Magubane by Cape Town historian Sean Field is available on the African Activist Archive website. Magubane discusses his activism in the United States (at 41:28 and 45:02). Magubane also recalls his impoverished childhood in and around Durban, his initial university studies, scholarship to the United States, and work and life at the University of Zambia, where he was close to Oliver (OR) Tambo and Jack Simons.
ACAS member Carl LeVan has posted on his blog, “Momentum Builds Against Drones in Africa,” which provides valuable reporting on the broad debate about the use of drones. LeVan also highlights a January 17 letter to President Obama from 33 organizations, including the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars, that opposes the use of drone strikes in targeting militants in Africa, arguing that “current and future military operations will harm U.S. and African interests and communities.”
Today, 221 academics and scholars of Africa in the United States sent a petition to President Obama to take action to protect civilians in the conflict zone of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The petition was released by the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (ACAS), since 1977 a national organization of professors and other specialists on Africa.
The press release quoted Noah Zerbe, political scientist at Humboldt State University and co-chairperson of ACAS: “According to the International Rescue Committee, with more than 5 million killed in this disordered nation in the last 14 years, the conflicts there are the world’s deadliest documented conflict since WW II, yet it has not had the attention it needs.”
The scholars are calling on President Obama to take bilateral actions and actions through the United Nations to protect civilians in the conflict zone of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Specifically, the petition calls on the President to use U.S. influence at the UN to provide the MONUC forces with the mandate and resources to protect civilians, to sanction Rwanda and Uganda for any support to militias there, to use the SEC to enforce the Dodd-Frank Act on conflict minerals, and to fully implement the “Obama Act” of 2006 on the Congolese Army for their contributions to the disorder.
Scholars who would like to join ACAS in policy-oriented research and action on this issue and other issues concerning the U.S. military role in Africa may contact David Wiley (email@example.com), chair of the ACAS Demilitarization Task Force.
2012 marks the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars! ACAS is holding a strategic planning session on Wednesday, November 28 at 8:30-10:30 pm in Room 413 of the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown Hotel in Philadelphia, in conjunction with the African Studies Association (ASA) annual meeting. The ACAS annual business meeting is on Thursday, November 29 at 8:30 pm in Salon K.
ACAS and the ASA Current Issues Committee are co-sponsoring a Roundtable on Friday, November 30 at 2:30: The 2012 American Elections and their Implications for U.S.-Africa Policy, chaired by Elizabeth Schmidt
ACAS is sponsoring three panels:
XI-N-27 (Sat 2:30 pm) Militarizing Africa: Historical Perspectives (Part I), Chaired by David Wiley
XII-N-28 (Sat 4:30 pm) Militarizing Africa: African Studies, AFRICOM, & Current US Security-Focused Foreign Policy (Part II), Chaired by David Wiley
A resource for teachers, React and Respond: The Phenomenon of Kony 2012, is now available on the ACAS webpage Resources on Uganda, the LRA, and Central Africa. The teachers’ packet is written by Barbara Brown (Boston University Africa Studies Center), John Metzler (Michigan State University Africa Studies Center), Patrick Vinck (Program for Vulnerable Populations at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative), and Christine Root (ACAS). Please share it with social studies teachers in your community. We also have been adding other materials to this ACAS Resources page.