University of Minnesota
African Studies Initiative

African Studies Initiative

African Studies Initiative

The African Studies Initiative (ASI) begins from the premise that the interactions among the various regions of Africa, as well as with the rest of the world, are critical to the scholarly enterprise. ASI engages methodological and theoretical issues common to scholars of literature, culture, and the social sciences globally, to explore themes such as race and ethnicity, urbanization and migration, modernity and modernism, transnationalism and globalization, representation and language.

It is with these complex processes and notions in mind—processes and notions that transcend traditional categories of area, region, and nation-state, but also traditional demarcations of academic fields and disciplines—that ASI approaches African Studies.


Reframing Mass Violence in Africa:
Social Memory and Social Justice

African Studies Initiative Public Symposium

co-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, Global
Programs and Strategy Alliance, UMN Extension Global Initiatives, and the Center
for Holocaust and Genocide Studies


April 12–13, 2018

120 Elmer L. Andersen Library | West Bank Auditorium • University of Minnesota


The African Studies Initiative, a Title VI African Studies National Resource Center at the University of Minnesota funded by the U.S. Department of Education, presents a public symposium: Reframing Mass Violence in Africa: Social Memory and Social Justice. Understanding the history of mass violence in Africa is vital to understanding contemporary life on the continent. Africa has been shaped and scarred by some of the largest episodes of mass violence in modern human history, including the slave trades and the nearly continent-wide experience of colonial expropriation and dispossession. To reframe mass violence in Africa is to invite fresh analysis that African peoples and allies might marshal not only for redress and restitution of past trauma but also for prevention of future violence.

We are delighted to welcome an exciting lineup of speakers from diverse disciplines and from institutions in the United States and Africa: keynote speaker Ngwarsungu Chiwengo, ICGC alumni lecturer Amanda Lock Swarr, and panelists Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, Jennie Burnet, Meriem El Haitami, Badr Guennoun, Chérif Keïta, Lisa Mueller, Suren Pillay, Joachim Savelsberg, J. Siguru Wahutu, and Michael Woldemariam.

The symposium features three core panel sessions:

  1. Uncivil Wars: Repression, Revolution, Fragmentation, and the Record
  2. Remembering and Representing Genocide: Darfur and Rwanda
  3. Economies of Violence and the Labor of Marked Bodies: Race, Gender, Religion, Migration



Ngwarsungu Chiwengo

Professor of English and Director of Black Studies Minor, Creighton University

They Say, We Say:

Representation of Congo (DRC) Conflict and Rapes

The symposium also features an ICGC Alumni Lecture by Amanda Lock Swarr (Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Washington) on the topic "Racing Intersex: Rethinking Violence and Gendered Medicine in South Africa" and a screening and discussion of the documentary film uKukhumbula uNokutela/Remembering Nokutela (2013) with director Chérif Keïta (William H. Laird Professor of French and the Liberal Arts, Carleton College).

See the Symposium Program for more details on speakers, session topics and times. Flyers for the symposium, keynote address, film screening, and ICGC Alumni Lecture are linked here. Please feel free to download and circulate widely.

Questions: Email









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