Major SSRC Presence at African Studies Association Conference

The SSRC had a significant presence at the annual meeting of the African Studies Association in Chicago last week. Indicative of its more than 50 years of work on the continent and supporting African scholars, the SSRC’s activities at the ASA meeting were capped by a reception on November 18, attended by over 70 SSRC fellows, affiliates, and staff.

Ron Kassimir, SSRC executive program director, welcomed the group, saluting the important contributions their work has made and is making in social science research in and about the Africa continent.

Another highlight of the ASA conference was SSRC president Alondra Nelson’s keynote speech at the Women’s Caucus luncheon on November 18. Nelson spoke to a full house of international scholars about her latest book, The Social Life of DNA.

The centerpieces of the SSRC’s engagement in Africa today are the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and the Next Generation Social Science: Africa programs. APN director Cyril Obi, a member of the ASA board of directors, and the APN team organized two panels: the ”APN Roundtable on Early-Career Scholars and Challenges of Research-Focused Careers in Africa,” and “The Challenge of Building Resilience in Post-Conflict African States: What Role for Local Institutions?” Current and past APN scholars participated in 10 panels at the conference. Next Gen program was also well represented, with fellows and program committee members chairing or serving as panelists for 18 sessions.

Understanding Violent Conflict, the SSRC’s new initiative focused on Africa and the Middle East, debuted at the ASA meeting, organizing and leading a panel and being introduced at the SSRC reception.