The University of Iowa

Spring 2008 Events

Meeting with Outreach Africa

Date: January 30
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: LIB 2032 (2nd floor, south side of Main Library) The African Studies program will be sponsoring a meeting with Outreach Africa, based out of Union, Iowa, to introduce students and faculty to the unique opportunities available to volunteer with the organization in Tanzania, East Africa.

Outreach Africa has established an exceptional tie with villages and community of Singida, Tanzania.  With the help of professionals across Iowa and the country the organization has helped begin community health, agriculture, education and clean water programs.  These sustainable programs have been bettering the circumstances of the 22,000 residents and a feeding center being built in Singida town will serve 500 street and vulnerable kids each day.

There is a unique opportunity for students at the University of Iowa to get involved in these projects through a short-term trip to Tanzania. Nursing and pre-health professions students can participate in the exchange program at the government hospital.  Education majors can help teach English at the local school Outreach Africa built, which currently has a 100:1 student-to-teacher ratio.  Engineering students may be interested in helping with the clean water project or initiating new developments.  

The founders of Outreach and University of Iowa students who traveled to the area in 2007 will meet with students and faculty and will be sharing their experiences.  In addition, insights and plans for returning to Tanzania in 2008 will be discussed.

Any student or faculty member interested in learning about the organization is encouraged to come!!

Africa for Any Major: African Studies at The University of Iowa

Date: February 6
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: UCC 1117 (International Commons)
Pizza and drinks will be served.

Navigating the Past: Slavery, the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and Brown University

Date: Monday, February 18
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: EPB 107
Presenter: James Campbell, Professor of American Studies and Africana Studies, Brown University and Chair of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice
Co-sponsored with 18th- and 19th-Century Studies, International Programs, Departments of American Studies, English, and History, American Studies, Caribbean, Diaspora, and Atlantic Studies, and the Center for Human Rights.

Informational Meeting: “Africa for Any Major”: African Studies at the University of Iowa

Date: Wednesday, February 27
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: UCC 1117 (International Commons)

Panelists: Edward Miner (Director, African Studies Program); Martha Greer (International Studies Coordinator, International Programs); Rex Honey (Professor, Geography); Nanette Barkey (Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Community & Behavioral Health); Phil Carls (Assistant Director, Office of Study Abroad); Kate Karacay (Graduate Assistant, Grants and Funding Opportunities, International Programs); Cliff Missen (Director, WiderNet Project)

Aimed primarily but not exclusively at undergraduates, this meeting will provide an overview of opportunities for Africa related study at UI including the African Studies concentration within the International Studies B.A.; study abroad programs and internships; grants and scholarships; and service learning opportunities available through WiderNet.

Discussion on Child Soldiers with Angelique Kidjo

Date: Wednesday, March 5
Time: 4:00 pm
Location: Senate Chamber in the Old Capitol

Co-sponsored with the UI Center for Human Rights and Hancher Auditorium.

Angélique Kidjo travels the world as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and symbol of Africa. She has become a spokesperson for the children who have been drugged and kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers in various African wars. Free and open to the public.

Baraza: “Challenges to Building Peace and Rebuilding Lives in Post-War Angola”

Date: Monday, March 10
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: UCC 1117 (International Commons)
Presenter: Nanette Barkey, Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Community & Behavioral Health

Baraza: Screening of  “Elephant People: An African Secret Society and Globalization”

Date: Monday, March 24
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Rm. A
Filmmaker & Discussant: Lyombe “Leo” Eko, Associate Professor, Journalism and Mass Communication

Leo Eko made a pilgrimage into the inner core of the Bakweri “Mahlé” secret society in Cameroon, which he describes as ‘the most enduring aspect of the Whakpe culture’ which survived 125 years of colonial and missionary effort to stamp it out. The film focuses on the role of the secret society as a symbol of how the Bakweri strive a balance between their culture, religion (Christianity) and the influence of modernity. This film was chosen for screening at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival in 2007, and again for "l'Autre et le Sacré" (The "Other" and the Sacred) at the Museé de L'Homme (Museum of Humanity) in Paris in 2008. Running time: 27 min.

Baraza: WHO and Widernet:  Delivering Health Information in Developing Countries

Date: Monday, March 31
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: UCC 2520D (In the UCC Conference Center, 2nd Floor of the Old Capitol Mall)
Presenter: Mary White, Ph.D. candidate, College of Public Health

Film Screening: “Fathers and their Children in Contemporary Africa – Three Short Films from Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.”

Date: Monday, April 14
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A
Presenter: Marie Kruger, Assistant Professor, English

Professor Kruger will introduce The Knife Grinder’s Tale (US/Kenya 2007), Surrender (Tanzania 2000), and A Barber’s Wisdom (Nigeria 2000). Discussion will follow.

Poetry Reading: “Lamentations on the Rwandan Genocide”

Date: Thursday, April 24
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Shambaugh House
Presenter: Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure, Professor of English and African American Literature, University of Northern Iowa

Lecture: “American Neo-HooDooism: Ishmael Reed's Post-Colonial Textual Resistance, African Diaspora Re-Connection, and Multicultural Poetics

Date: Friday, April 25
Time: 12:00 pm\
Location: UCC 1117 (International Commons)
Presenter: Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure, Professor of English and African American Literature, University of Northern Iowa


Fall 2008 Events

Film Screening: “Divine Carcasse” & “La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (The Little Girl who Sold the Sun)”

Date: Thursday, September 25
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: 101 BCSB (Becker Auditorium)

Divine Carcasse tells the simultaneously whimsical and philosophical story of a car’s journey from its original status as a disposable European consumer artifact to its transformed existence as a fetish item in a coastal Beninese village. Through both fiction and nonfiction styles, and often without words, Divine Carcasse examines diverse spaces and worldviews as they intersect around the use, recycling and reuse of its single narrative thread, the body of a car.

The last of Membety’s films, La Petite Vendeuse de Soliel provides a moving look at the life of Sili, a poor, young and crippled girl – the ultimate outcast – as she determines to not only survive, but thrive on the streets of Dakar. Beautiful in both image and narrative, La Petite Vendeuse also provides a satiric allegory of Africa’s global economic position, illustrating in detail the devastating consequences of the current global system on Third World nations, as well as the revolutionary potential of initiating social change centered on the inclusion of society’s most marginalized people.


Film Screening: “War Dance”

Date: Wednesday, October 1
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A
Introduction by: Father Richard Okumu

This film tells the story of Dominic, Rose, and Nancy, three children whose lives have been torn apart by civil war in Uganda, and who currently reside in a displaced persons camp in Patongo. While attending a school established for displaced children, they participate in a music and dance education program. When they are invited to compete in an annual music and dance festival in their nation's capitol, their historic journey is also an opportunity to regain a part of their childhood and to for the first time experience a sense of triumph over the brutal realities of their lives. In English; soundtrack in Acholi and English with English subtitles; 107 Minutes. Sponsored by the UI Center for Human Rights and the African Studies Program, in association with the One Community One Book project.


Film Screening: “These Hands” & “Rostov Luanda”

Date: Thursday, October 2
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: 101 BCSB (Becker Auditorium)


Film Screening: “Africa: War is Business”

Date: Wednesday, October 8
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: Pappajohn Business Building W151

This program explores the role of international business interests in fomenting rebellion and arming renegade military forces across the African continent. In English and undetermined languages with English subtitles; 53 minutes. Sponsored by the UI Tippie College of Business, in association with the One Community One Book Project.


Film Screening: “This is Nollywood” and “Thunderbolt”

Date: Thursday, October 9
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: 101 BCSB (Becker Auditorium)


Film Screening: “Ezra”

Date: Wednesday, October 15
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A
Introduction by: Professor James Giblin

This film tells the story of Ezra, a young boy kidnapped and forced to become a soldier with a rebel faction in the Sierra Leone Civil War. Ten years later, he is brought before a truth and reconciliation commission and made to revisit and understand his crimes so as to begin the process of psychological healing. In English; 105 Minutes. Sponsored by the UI Center for Human Rights and the African Studies Program, in association with the One Community One Book Project.


"African Cinema and the Cultural Politics of Nigerian Film"

Date: Thursday, October 16
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: 101 Becker Communications Studies Building
Presenter: Brian Larkin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College; Columbia University

Professor Larkin’s talk will be preceded by a screening of:


"The Master"

Directed by Andy Amenchi, Starring Nkem Owoh; Nigeria; 74 minutes


Aimé Césaire, Raoul Peck, and the ‘Congo Crisis’: On Césaire’s play, Une saison au Congo and Raoul Peck’s 2 films on Lumumba

Date: Monday, November 3
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: 315 Phillips Hall


'National Cinema' in Québec and Francophone Africa

Date: Monday, November 3
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: UCC 1117 (International Commons)
Presenter: Professor Aliko Songolo, Dept. of French & Italian, Dept. of African Languages & Literatures, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Aliko Songolo is a professor in the Department of French and Italian and the Department of African Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin- Madison, and president of the African Studies Association. His research focuses on the Francophone literatures and cultures of Africa and the Caribbean. Professor Songolo is the author of Aimé Césaire: une poétique de la découverte (1985), co-editor of Twenty-five Years After Dakar and Fourah Bay: The Growth of African Literature (1998) and Atlantic Cross-Currents/Transatlantiques (2001), associate editor of the New Encyclopedia of Africa (2008), and has published numerous scholarly journal articles and book reviews.

This event is sponsored by University of Iowa African Studies Program, and the Departments of English, History, and French & Italian. For more information, contact Edward Miner at 355-5883 or

“(Un)healthy Relationships: African Laborers, Profits and Health Services on Angola’s Colonial-era Diamond Mines (1917-1975)”

Date: Monday, November 17
Time: 4:30 pm
Location: 2520 University Capitol Center (2nd flood, Old Capitol Mall
Presenters: Todd Cleveland, Assistant Professor of African History, Augustana College; Jorge Varanda, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centro de Estudos de Antropologia Social/ISCTE & Centro de Malária e Outras Doenças Tropicais/Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Lisbon

This Baraza examines diamond mining in the Portuguese colony of Angola – the exclusive domain from 1917 to 1975 of a single enterprise: the Companhia de Diamantes de Angola (Diamang). Reflecting the co-presenters' respective interests, it offers dual perspectives on the interplay over time between Diamang's prodigious, largely coerced, African labor force, mine production demands and the company's health services division. On one hand, the company utilized its medical staff to determine and organize the workforce via a series of screening exams intended to provide mine managers with the healthiest, and therefore most productive, laborers. As such, incoming African recruits deemed unfit for mine service were to be rejected and thereby spared the taxing and violent existence that life on Diamang's mines offered. In practice, though, this otherwise "healthy" system didn't always work as designed. To sate the company's relentless drive for profits – and therefore bodies, as Diamang mechanized its operations only gradually and fitfully – medical staff often neglected to filter out even the least physically capable recruits or to offer medical absences to ailing or injured laborers. In response, African employees identified and strategically exploited cracks in system; however, their relationship with the company's health services division throughout Diamang's operational existence remained, for the most part, decidedly "unhealthy."

Presenter Bios:

Todd Cleveland is an Assistant Professor of African History at Augustana College. He holds a Ph.D. in African History from the University of Minnesota and prior to joining the faculty at Augustana was based at the University of Virginia as a Fellow-in-Residence at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies. He is currently engaged in a social history project that examines African laborers engaged in formal diamond mining in colonial Angola from its inception in 1917 to Angolan independence in 1975. To this end, he was based in Angola for over two years conducting archival research in Luanda, the capital, and gathering oral histories from former mineworkers and family members in Lunda Norte Province. Past publications have included examinations of the impact of ANC activity in post-independence Angola, archival research in Portugal, the introduction of industrial education into colonial Angola, the role of soccer in engendering Angolan nationalism, and the methodological implications of conducting research in contemporary Angola.

Jorge Varanda is a post-doctoral fellow at the Centro de Estudos de Antropologia Social no ISCTE e Centro de Malária e Outras Doenças Tropicais do Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical in Lisbon, Portugal. While earning his Ph.D. in the History of Medicine at University College London, he was based at the Wellcome Trust Center for the History of Medicine. His research interests include colonial medicine, health and development, health and poverty, sleeping sickness campaigns, and local responses and initiatives related to these topics. He has conducted extensive oral and archival research in Portugal, England and Angola, including in the provinces of Luanda, Lunda Norte, Kwanza Norte and Uige. Jorge and Todd have collaborated in the past, collecting oral testimonies in both Portugal and Angola and conducting archival research in Lisbon and Coimbra, Portugal.