Sharjah, UAE,
24
February
2022
|
18:49 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

THE AFRICA INSTITUTE PRESENTS “GLOBAL GHANA”: A SEASON OF SCHOLARLY AND CULTURAL PROGRAMS

The second edition of The Africa Institute’s annual country-focused program to be presented in Sharjah, UAE (March 8-10, 2022), and Accra, Ghana (July 14-16, 2022), convened by leading scholars Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Jean Allman, Carina Ray, and Joseph Odu

Africa Institute _ Global Ghana graphic

The Africa Institute presents Global Ghana, the second edition of its “country-focused season”—an annual initiative exploring one African country or African diaspora community through a range of scholarly and public programs. With programs in Sharjah, UAE and Accra, Ghana, Global Ghana is organized by The Africa Institute in collaboration with leading scholars Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Jean Allman, Carina Ray, and Joseph Oduro-Frimpong, and explores topics such as Pan-Africanism, anticolonialism, restitution, independence and more.

Global Ghana will include a multi-part interdisciplinary scholarly conference beginning with Global Ghana: Sites of Departure/Sites of Return held in Sharjah on March 8-10, 2022, followed by Global Ghana: In Search of Africa’s Black Star, held in Ghana July 14-16, 2022. The multidisciplinary program will also include films, a series of performances by Ghanaian artists M.anifest and Elisabeth Efua Sutherland, and an exhibition showcasing dynamic work by contemporary Ghanaian artist, Gerald Annan-Forson, organized with the Sharjah Art Foundation.

“Our country-focused season furthers our commitment to the study and understanding of Africa and the African diaspora,” said Africa Institute Director Salah M. Hassan. “We look forward to expanding scholarship and exploring Ghana through this robust program of panels and performances, bringing a variety of perspectives into discussion.”

The Africa Institute’s Ghana-focused season aims to critically and creatively engage Ghana’s history and contemporary condition. Pushing beyond conventional narratives that oversimplify the nation’s profound significance to its citizens, continental neighbors, and the larger African diaspora, the season seeks to reveal the complex and contested forces that have shaped Ghana, past and present.

The Africa Institute created this annual series to highlight the complex history of the African world while also providing a forum for creatively engaging its present and imagining new futures. Inaugurated in 2019-20 with Ethiopia: Modern Nation/Ancient Roots, the country-focused season is an integral part of The Africa Institute’s year-round work to develop and support original scholarship and programming that expands understanding of African and African diaspora studies among the academic community and the broader public.
 

GLOBAL GHANA: SITES OF DEPARTURE/SITES OF RETURN

Sharjah, UAE | March 8-10, 2022

The first part of the two-part scholarly conferences, Global Ghana: Sites of Departure/Sites of Return, will examine the ways in which Ghana has emerged over the last century as a focal point of diasporic engagement beginning with early 20th-century “Back to Africa” movements, followed by Pan-Africanism, anticolonial liberation movements, and more recently, with heritage tourism. One of the focal points of the conference will be Ghana’s efforts to cultivate and curate diasporic engagement among African-descended people in the diaspora and Ghanaians living abroad through the recent “Year of Return” and “Beyond the Return” campaigns.

The season will push beyond Ghana’s Atlantic world connections to open a wider field of enquiry about Ghana’s relations with the Arab world, and examinations of the past, present, and future of Afro-Arab relations. Global Ghana: Sites of Departure/Sites of Return seeks to welcome and engage audiences in Sharjah and throughout the UAE with compelling and thoughtfully developed dialogue.

Global Ghana panel discussions cover topics ranging from Pan-Africanism, reparations and restitution, and legacies of liberation. Additional information on the panels can be found at theafricainstitute.org.

Performances will complement the conference, including still Aluta Continua, a performance by Ghanaian artist Elisabeth Efua Sutherland examining the quest for true African liberation, engaging with questions of neocolonialism and self-love as they underpin contemporary African economic, political, and daily struggles. A concert featuring award-winning Ghanaian rapper, singer and songwriter M.anifest will mark the opening of Global Ghana on March 8.

The Global Ghana program also includes Gerald Annan-Forson: Revolution and Image-making in Postcolonial Ghana (1979-1985), an exhibition developed in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation, on view beginning March 7 at Al Hamriyah Studios through July 7. The first retrospective of the work of Ghanaian photographer Gerald Annan-Forson, the exhibition is curated by artist and ethnographer Jesse Weaver Shipley, Professor of African and African American Studies and Oratory, Dartmouth College, USA. Featuring photographs primarily taken between 1979 and 1985, Revolution and Image-making in Postcolonial Ghana traces the political and social life of Ghana during a period of revolution and transformation captured through the photographer’s lens, offering a visual story of postcolonial Ghana and its struggles and aspirations in the post-independence period. Annan-Forson's style of composition, lens focus, formal repetitions, character representation, and long-term commitment to documenting the changing landscape of Accra, Ghana, reshapes understanding of photography as a tool of radical image-making.
 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (All times are in GST)

TUESDAY, MARCH 8

11:00 AM | FILM SCREENING: Mimesis: African Soldier directed by John Akomfrah

3:00 PM | OPENING REMARKS AND PANEL 1: SITES OF DEPARTURE/SITES OF RETURN

Moderator: Carina Ray (H. Coplan Chair of Social Sciences and Associate Professor of African and African American Studies, Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USA)

Panelists:     Jessica Millward (Associate Professor of History, University of California at Irvine, USA)

Kwesi Essel-Blankson (Director of Education, Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, Ghana)

Ebony Coletu (Assistant Professor of African American Studies, English & African Studies, Pennsylvania State University, USA)

Fatimah Dadzie (Filmmaker)


This panel explores the complex history and contemporary aspirations that have made Ghana one of the world’s most important sites of departure and sites of return.

 

5:40 PM | KEYNOTE LECTURE: El Anatsui's Metamorphic and Shape-shifting Objects 
Panelist:       Chika Okeke-Agulu (Professor of African and African Diaspora Art,

Princeton University, USA)

6:30 PM | BOOK SIGNING by Chika Okeke-Agulu of Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu’s El Anatsui: The Reinvention of Sculpture.

8:30 PM | PERFORMANCE: Concert by M.anifest

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9

10:00 AM | PANEL 2: PAN-AFRICANISM ACROSS THE DIVIDES

Moderator: Jean Allman (Professor, African and African American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis. USA)

Panelists:     Hakim Adi (Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora, University of Chichester, UK)

Robert Trent Vinson (Director, The Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia, USA)

Takyiwaa Manuh (Professor Emerita, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Ghana)

Mjiba Frehiwot (Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Ghana)

This panel explores Pan-Africanism across the divides—political, geographic, and gendered—from Ghana’s independence to the present.

 

2:00 PM | PANEL 3: TOWARDS REPARATION, RESTITUTION, AND RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Moderator: Akosua Adomako Ampofo (Professor of African and Gender Studies, University of Ghana)

Panelists:     Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann (Associate Professor and Director, Christiansborg Archaeological Heritage Project, Ghana)

De-Valera Botchway (Professor of History, University of Cape Coast, Ghana)

Nana Kobina Nketsia V (Omanhene of Essikado, Ghana)

 

This panel explores the complex and often contentious debates around questions of apologies, repair, and restitution, how past injustices are framed and by whom, what qualifies to be counted and costed, and who qualifies to participate in these debates.

 

4:30 PM | PANEL 4: FILM DISCUSSION MIMESIS: AFRICAN SOLDIER

(Conversation)

Moderator: Carina Ray (H. Coplan Chair of Social Sciences and Associate Professor of African and African American Studies, Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USA)

Panelists:     John Akomfrah (Artist, Filmmaker)

Joseph Oduro Frimpong (Media anthropologist and Director of the Center for African Popular Culture, Ashesi University, Accra, Ghana)

 

5:30 PM | TOUR OF SHARJAH ART FOUNDATION SPRING EXHIBITIONS

Aref El Rayess

February 26–August 7, 2022 
Sharjah Art Museum 

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic Image 

March 4–July 4, 2022 
Galleries 4, 5, and 6, Al Mureijah Art Spaces 

CAMP: Passages through Passages
March 4–July 4, 2022 
Bait Al Serkal, Arts Square 

Khalil Rabah: What is not 
March 4–July 4, 2022 
Galleries 1, 2, and 3, Al Mureijah Art Spaces 

Find out more about these exhibitions here.

THURSDAY, MARCH 10

10:00 AM | PANEL 5: GLOBAL GHANA'S SITES OF ENCOUNTER (Conversation)

Moderator: Joseph Oduro-Frimpong (Media anthropologist and Director of the Center for African Popular Culture, Ashesi University, Accra, Ghana)

Panelists:     Lesley Lokko (Architect, Founder and Director, African Futures Institute, Ghana)

Elisabeth Efua Sutherland (Performance Artist)

M.anifest (Hip-Hop Artist and Musician)

Kwesi Botchway (Impressionist and Portrait Artist)

This discussion-based panel brings together a dynamic group of creatives to explore how their specific experiences negotiating diverse locales have influenced and inspired their work.

 

1:30 PM | PANEL 6: THE POINT OF RETURN: A CONVERSATION WITH SIR DAVID ADJAYE AND LESLEY LOKKO

Moderator: Salah M. Hassan (Director, The Africa Institute, Goldwin Smith Professor and Director, Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA)

Panelists:     Sir David Adjaye (Architect, Adjaye Associates, Ghana)

Lesley Lokko (Architect, Founder and Director, Africa Futures Institute, Ghana)

2:30 PM | CLOSING REMARKS AND CONVERSATION

Panelists:     Carina Ray (Brandeis University, USA)

Akosua Adomako Ampofo (University of Ghana)

Jean Allman (Washington University, St. Louis, USA)

Joseph Oduro-Frimpong (Ashesi University, Ghana)


5:00 PM | EXHIBITION TOUR AND RECEPTION: Gerald Annan-Forson: Revolution and Image-making in Postcolonial Ghana (1979-1985)

Guided tour by exhibition curator, Jesse Weaver Shipley (Professor of African and African American Studies, Dartmouth College, USA)


6:00 PM | PERFORMANCE: still Aluta Continua by Elisabeth Efua Sutherland

About The Africa Institute

Established in 2018, The Africa Institute in Sharjah, UAE, is an interdisciplinary academic research institute dedicated to the study, research, and documentation of Africa and the African diaspora. As the only institution of its kind located in the Gulf—the historical nexus of African-Arab cultural exchange—The Africa Institute is uniquely positioned to expand understanding of African and African diaspora studies as a global enterprise. The Africa Institute’s curriculum of postgraduate studies is designed to train the next generation of critical thinkers in African and African diaspora studies, through its program of international symposia and conferences, visual art exhibitions and artist commissions, film and performance series, and community classes and outreach events. The Institute is expanding public understanding of Arab and African exchange within not only the scholarly community but also the local Sharjah community, the region, and around the globe. The Institute has commissioned Adjaye Associates to design a new campus that, when complete in 2023, will allow for significantly expanded programming. The Institute is led by Dr. Salah M. Hassan and Hoor Al-Qasimi.

About Dr. Salah M. Hassan

Long active in Sharjah, the larger Gulf region, and Africa through his research, conferences, and curatorial work, including many projects developed in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation, Dr. Salah M. Hassan played a foundational role in the development of The Africa Institute. He currently serves as the Institute’s founding Director, where he continues to spearhead its academic, research, artistic, and public programs in collaboration with The Africa Institute President Hoor Al Qasimi.

Hassan concurrently holds positions at Cornell University as the Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in the Department of Africana Studies and Research Center; in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies; and as Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities. Hassan also served as Professor of History of Art in African and African American Studies and Fine Art at Brandeis University, where he was previously awarded the Madeleine Haas Russell Professorship in the Departments of African and Afro-American Studies and Fine Arts (2016-2017).

About Hoor Al-Qasimi

Hoor Al Qasimi has been spearheading the establishment of The Africa Institute into a major international institution, building upon the rich legacy of Afro-Arab cultural and scholarly interchange in Sharjah, including the landmark 1976 “Symposium on African and Arab Relations” that envisioned a future nexus for learning and collaboration between the two regions. Working in partnership with Africa Institute Director Dr. Salah M. Hassan, she continues to shape its programming and future endeavors.

A practicing artist and curator, Al Qasimi is also President and founding Director of Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), which was established in 2009 as a catalyst and advocate for the role of art in Sharjah, the UAE, regionally, and internationally. With a passion for supporting experimentation and innovation in the arts, Al Qasimi has continuously expanded the scope of the Foundation over its ten-year history to include major exhibitions that have toured internationally; artist and curator residencies in visual art, film, and music; commissions and production grants for emerging artists; and a wide range of educational programming for children and adults in Sharjah. In 2003, Al Qasimi co-curated Sharjah Biennial 6, and has since continued as Biennial Director. Under Al Qasimi’s leadership, the Sharjah Biennial has continued to grow as an internationally recognized platform for contemporary artists, curators, and cultural producers. Her leadership in the field led to her election as president of the International Biennial Association (IBA) in 2017.

Co-Convener Biographies

Akosua Adomako Ampofo is Professor of African and Gender Studies at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana (UG). Adomako Ampofo is President of the African Studies Association of Africa; an honorary Professor at the Centre for African Studies at the University of Birmingham; and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. An activist scholar, Adomako Ampofo’s areas of interest include African

knowledge systems, higher education, race and identity politics, gender relations, masculinities, and popular culture. In her current work on Black masculinities, she explores the shifting nature of identities among young men in Africa and the diaspora.

Adomako Ampofo is the Editor-in-Chief of Contemporary Journal of African Studies and Co-Editor of Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa blog. She serves on the board of several organizations including the U.S African Studies Association; The Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria; Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, University of Bayreuth, of which she is Chairperson; Perivoli Africa Research Centre, University of Bristol; and the Institute for Humanities in Africa, HUMA, University of Cape Town. Adomako Ampofo’s work has been variously recognized by, among others, the Fulbright Scholar Program and the Sociologists for Women and Society (SWS), which awarded her the Feminist Activism Award.

 

Jean Allman is the J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities and Professor of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where she directs the Center for the Humanities. Allman’s research and published work engages 19th- and 20th-century African history, with a geographic focus on Ghana and thematic interests in gender, colonialism, decolonization, and the racial politics of knowledge production. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, Fulbright-Hays, the Social Science Research Council, and the Mellon Foundation. She was the President of the Ghana Studies Council (now Association) from 1992-1998; has served on the Board of Directors of both the African Studies Association (USA) and the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora; and was the President of the African Studies Association in 2018.

She is the author of The Quills of the Porcupine: Asante Nationalism in an Emergent Ghana, “I Will Not Eat Stone”: A Women’s History of Colonial Asante (with Victoria Tashjian), and Tongnaab: The History of a West African God (with John Parker) and has edited several collections, including Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress. Allman co-edits the New African Histories book series at Ohio University Press, and her work has also appeared in a range of journals, including the Journal of African History, Africa, Gender and History, Journal of Women’s History, History Workshop Journal, International Journal of African Historical Studies, African Studies Review, American Historical Review, and Souls.

Carina Ray is the H. Coplan Chair of Social Sciences and Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at Brandeis University, where she also serves as Director of Faculty Mentoring. A scholar of race and sexuality, comparative colonialisms and nationalisms, migration and maritime history, print cultures, bodily aesthetics, and the relationship between race, ethnicity, and political power, Ray’s research focuses on Ghana and its diasporas, while also branching out to include a long-term oral history project documenting the experiences of Cubans who served in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. 

She is the author of Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana, winner of the American Historical Association's 2016 Wesley-Logan Book Prize; the African Studies Association's 2017 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize;

and finalist for the United Kingdom African Studies Association's Fage and Oliver Book Prize. Her work has also appeared in Gender and HistoryPMLA; American Historical Review; and Journal of West African History, among others. She is a series co-editor of New African Histories (Ohio University Press) and African Identities (Cambridge University Press), and recently completed a three-year term as editor of Ghana Studies and as a member of the Board of Editors for The American Historical Review.

Joseph Oduro-Frimpong is a media anthropologist and Director of the Center for African Popular Culture at Ashesi University. He received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (2012) and also holds degrees in Information Studies (University of Ghana, Legon) and Human Communication (Central Michigan University). He is an American Council of Learned Societies/African Humanities Program Fellow. He has held postdoctoral fellowships at Rhodes University and at the University of Cape Town.

Widely published, his research has appeared in respected journals, including Journal

of African Cultural Studies, International Journal of Communication, and African Studies Review, and in a number of edited volumes, including Popular Culture in Africa: The Episteme of the Everyday and Taking African Cartoons Seriously: Politics, Satire, and Culture.