African studies in Yorkshire has a proud tradition and a vibrant present. Africanists in Yorkshire’s universities are carrying out an exciting range of world-class research in a wide range of disciplines. However, there is currently little coordination between these activities and no place to share ideas and activities and develop research agendas. The Yorkshire African Studies Network (YASN) aims to address this gap, in accordance with these core principles.The Network will provide a base for the exchange of ideas and experiences, the organisation of seminars and conferences, and potentially provide the basis of funding bids.
YASN was established in mid-2010 by a small group of Yorkshire-based Africanists, mainly political scientists, historians and developmentalists. The Network is a work in progress and makes no claim to represent all Africanists in Yorkshire. We would encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved in YASN and its activities to contact us (please email firstname.lastname@example.org) and come along to the programme of events we have planned. Although based in Yorkshire, the Network is open to all Africanists interested in attending and participating in its activities.
The organisers of the proposed network wish to place the following core principles at the heart of our activities.
Beyond the nation-state
African studies has moved beyond the centrality of the nation-state and its institutions as the primary basis of social science and historical research. In exploring themes of democracy and power, we are interested in how these are understood by Africans from a range of cultural and social perspectives.
The local and the global
We reject the idea of Africa as a ‘place apart’, rather seeing it as central to processes of global and transnational social and political change. Africa has shaped, and been shaped by, global process of change and must be understood in this way. Simultaneously, we emphasise the importance of locality and the diversity of African societies, communities and issues.
Beyond the academy
We are committed to engagement with non-academic issues and activities. This is driven not by a desire to meet an externally imposed ‘impact’ agenda but rather by our belief that our intellectual activity has much to contribute to society in both Africa and the UK. We will seek to work with African disaspora communities in Yorkshire and with non-academic partners in Africa to address issues of concern arising out of the economic, political and social situation in particular African countries.