ASAUK Biennial Conference 2012

ASAUK biennial

This year’s ASAUK biennial conference was organised jointly with Leeds University Centre of African Studies (LUCAS) and was held at Leeds University on 6–8th September 2012. We received a total of 550 abstracts and accepted over 450. Over 500 delegates registered for the conference which was organised into thematic ‘streams’ on: New Articulations in African Literature and Culture; Africa, Social Media and New Communication Technologies; Money in Africa; The Database for African Development; New Directions in Malawian Scholarship; Extractive Industries and Community Development Challenges in sub-Saharan Africa; Making New Connections: Mobilities, Roads and Rural Access in Sub-Saharan Africa; Art and Literature. Streams and panels were also organised by the journals Africa and Journal of Southern African Studies, by the Congo Research Network, SCOLMA, Royal African Society and by the Yorkshire African Studies Network.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Ngugi wa Thiong’o

We were honoured with a plenary lecture delivered by Ngugi wa Thiong’o on ‘Africa in the Language of Scholarship’ and a second plenary delivered by Binyavanga Wainana. The following publishers attended the conference: Bergahn Books, Boydell and Brewer (James Currey), Cambridge University Press, Eurospan, Hurst, Taylor and Francis, Zed Press, African Book Collective and Leeds University Press.


The conference dinner on Friday evening included the award of ASAUK Distinguished Africanist to Kenneth and Pravina King and to Lalage Bown. The Audrey Richards thesis prize was awarded to Fibian Lukalo (University of Cambridge) for her Ph.D, ‘Educating Daughters, Educating Sons: Mothers and Schooling in Rural Kenya’. The runners-up were Zoe Groves (University of Keele) for ‘Malawians in Colonial Salisbury: a Social History of Migration in Central Africa, c.1920-1960’ and to Maxim Bolt (LSE) for ‘Rooting Production: Life and Labour on the Settler Farms of the Zimbabwean-South African Border’.

The African Affairs African Author Prize was presented to Samson A. Bezebah for his article ‘Citizenship and the Logic of Sovereignty in Djibouti’. The Journal of Modern Africa Studies celebrated the publication of its 50th volume and we all honoured the work of Christopher Clapham, who is stepping down as editor, with a toast. Megan Vaughan delivered a Presidential address.

We are enormously grateful to all the stream and panel organisers, and especially to Leeds University and the staff of LUCAS who worked hard to make the conference such a great success, and to the Royal African Society and to the journals for financial support enabling the attendance of a large number of Africa-based scholars at the event. Particular thanks go to David Kerr for his central role in organising the conference from start to finish.

The 49th AGM of the ASAUK took place on 6th September. Megan Vaughan stepped down as President to be replaced by Stephanie Newell. David Maxwell was elected Vice-President and Insa Nolte took over as Projects Officer. The AGM expressed its deepest gratitude to David Kerr for all his work for the Association over the past five years.

Uni of Leeds