RUI ASSUBUJI

Both a photographer and researcher on visual histories of Mozambique, Rui Assubuji is currently working in European archives. His academic base is the University of the Western Cape, Bellville/South Africa.

Apart from doing many photographic exhibition and international projects; Assubuji most recently edited the Kronos edition on Mozambique: Nationalism and Historiography (with Paolo Israel and Drew Thompson). You can find the TOC here.

Within the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, Rui Assubuji is involved in the research of sub-project 1, “Narratives of Future in History“.

ACHIM VON OPPEN

Prof. Dr. Achim von Oppen is professor of History with special emphasis on the History of Africa at the University of Bayreuth. Geographically focusing on Eastern and Central Africa, his research interests include social, cultural and religious history in rural and urban contexts, history of space and history of knowledge. He is first director of the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies as well as project leader of sub-project 1, “Narratives of Future in History“.

Among his publications are:

  1. (ed., with Silke Strickrodt): Religious biographies in Southern Africa. Thematic cluster in Journal of Southern African Studies, 2012
  1. (ed., with Ulrike Freitag): Translocality. The study of global processes from a southern perspective. (Studies in Global Social History, 4) Leiden: Brill
  1. (ed., with Beatrix Heintze), Angola on the Move / Angola em Movimento. Transport, Communications and History / Vias de Transporte, Communicação e História. Frankfurt/Main: Lembeck
  1. The painting and the pen. Approaches to Heinrich Barth and his African heritage” In: Mamadou Diawara, Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias und Gerd Spittler (eds.), Heinrich Barth et l’Afrique. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, pp. 105-132
  1. A place in the world. Markers of the local along the Upper Zambezi. In: Peter Probst and Gerd Spittler (eds.) Between Resistance and Expansion. Explorations of Local Vitality in Africa (Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung, 18), Münster: LIT Verlag, pp. 175-192
  1. The Village as Territory. Enclosing Locality in Northwest Zambia, 1950s to 1990s. In: Journal of African History 47 (2006), 1, pp. 57-75
  1. (with Ulrike Freitag) Translokalität als ein Zugang zur Geschichte globaler Verflechtungen. In: Matthias Middell and Rüdiger Hohls (eds.), Fachforum
  1. Terms of Trade and Terms of Trust. The history amd contexts of pre-colonial market production on the Upper Zambezi and Kasai (ca. 1790-1910). (Studien zur Afrikanischen Geschichte, Bd.6). Münster: LIT-Verlag

EMEKA ALAMS

Emeka Alams was born in Nigeria and his name has a strong meaning: God has done something wonderful
He has spent his life between western Africa, Europe and the States. He feels like a semi-homeless person, and can’t help but feel nostalgic about Africa from New York, city where he currently lives and works. The strong feeling of belonging to the continent fills his spirit and the one of Gold Coast Trading, the brand he has created.
Emeka sets a date in the story of his journey Live from the coast for when it all began, it’s 1444, the same year in which European colonists began the deportation of the first Africans. The first breaking point with a cultural world filled with suggestion that the African continent is trying hard to defend today and that those that have grown in the States or in Europe are loosing.

– See more at: http://www.vogue.it/en/vogue-black/the-black-blog/2011/04/gold-coast-trading#sthash.N3eK3Oxv.dpuf

picture: Amber French

FABIO VANIN

Fabio Vanin is an architect and urban designer, holding a PhD in Urbanism from University Iuav of Venice, completed in 2008 with the thesis “Maputo Open City – Investigations on an African Capital City”. He worked as project leader for several strategic plans in Europe (Antwerp, Gent, Gorzow, Poznan) and Africa (Nairobi), and as research assistant at TU Eindhoven and at University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. In 2009 he co-founded LATITUDE – Platform for Urban Research and Design, where he is currently involved in an international comparative research on water based urbanism, “Floating Urbanism”. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Landscape Urbanism at the Vrjie Univrsiteit Brussel.

Bibliography:

F. Vanin et al., “Prototypes Beautopia” in P. Pellegrini, P. Viganò (eds.), Comment vivre ensemble: prototypes of hidrorhithmical conglomerates and shared spaces, Officina Editori, Rome 2006. F. Vanin, “Multiculturalism in Maputo: from society to physical spaces”, in Planning for the risk society. Dealing with uncertainty, challenging the future, XXI AESOP (Association of European School of Planning) International Conference, Naples 2007. P. Guedes, Vitruvius Mozambicanus, ed. by F. Vanin, DODO, Venice 2011

KILUANJI KIA HENDA

Kiluanji Kia Henda is an autodidact which a profound springboard into this realm comes from growing up in a household of photography enthusiasts.His conceptual edge was sharpened by immersing himself into music, avant-garde theater and collaborating with a collective of artists in Luanda. Kia Henda has participated in several residencies programs and in the following selected exhibitions: Triennial of Luanda, 2007; Check List Luanda Pop, African Pavilion, Biennale of Venice, 2007; Farewell to Post-Colonialism, Trien- nial of Guangzhou, 2008; There is always a cup of sea to sail in, 29th São Paulo Biennial, 2010; Tomorrow Was Already Here, Tamayo Museum, Mexico City, 2012; Les Prairies – Les Ateliers de Rennes, 2012; Mondays Begins On Saturday, First Bergen Triennial, 2013; The Shadows Took Form, The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, 2013; The Divine Comedy, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, 2014; Surround Audience, New Museum Triennial, New York, 2015. In 2012 he won the National Award for Culture and the Arts from the Angolan Ministry of Culture.

INGRID LAFLEUR

Ingrid LaFleur uses multiple forms of media to investigate possible avenues for psychosocial healing. With a special interest in the idea of transcendence, LaFleur researches ancient practices of ritual and alter making, mythologies, alternative healing modalities and spirit science. Ultimately LaFleur creates receptive spaces for engaging “blackness” and dismantling the fear associated with the black body.

In 2012, LaFleur founded AFROTOPIA, an evolving creative research project that uses Afrofuturism as a social engagement practice. The project website is afrotopiaisnow.com

Based in Detroit, LaFleur has presented her work on Afrofuturism at Centre Pompidou (Paris), University of Bayreuth (Bayreuth, Germany), Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA), TEDxBrooklyn, TEDxDetroit, College for Creative Studies (Detroit) among others.

PICTURE:  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-139OB8Bgih0/T2X6udIQf2I/AAAAAAAADwY/60e3OZ-avpM/s1600/Ingrid%2BLaFleur.jpg

VISIONS OF NATURE

Concepts of Appropriating and Conserving Nature in Africa

The notion of Time is used at the Bayreuth Academy as the central concept that cuts across the disciplines involved. This is a novel and challenging approach, in particular when dealing with the traditional objects of natural sciences.

In the sciences of nature space has been traditionally in the role which is taken by time in the Bayreuth Academy approach: Nature and culture have been widely used as central categories for organizing research on Africa. We are, however, skeptical about the appropriateness of this distinction. The nature-culture distinction as criticized by (Descola, 2005) is traditionally used as a spatial delineation: culture on one side, nature on the other. Hence management issues predominantly deal with mutual dependencies in space. In order to preserve nature, for example, a national park is separated from the realm of human culture. Here, we are concerned with temporal relationships between humans and their (natural) environments. Nature is conceptualized as an interface at which some events can be actively repeated (e.g. as sustainable utilization), or they appear as series of unique historical events. We study how different stakeholders in fields like national parks or climate change conceptualize their respective notions of ‘nature’ as historical narratives relative to their own competences of participating in this history. Methodologically, we look at the roles of models in the various case studies and disciplines.

Description

In Western thinking, particularly in natural science, human-environmental relationships are conceptualized as natural objects related in space. This approach has been termed ‘science of seeing’ which is most rigorously exemplified by physics (Pearl, 2000). Within the natural sciences, environmental studies are perceived as applied sciences only.

Recently, humans have become experts how to perceive themselves in space. Starting from the Renaissance invention of spatial perspective, to the routine use of satellite images in Google earth, many have learned today how to cope with distortions of spatial perception; models of spatial perspective have become entirely implicit. At the beginning of the era of modern sciences, the question of where human observers and the earth were located in the universe was a hotly debated issue. Today, we know how to read (and make) pictures of any size of objects, even of the whole of Africa or the globe, and that at arbitrary spatial distances.

The second way of perceiving the world from a modeling perspective has been termed ‘art of doing (Pearl, 2000). It corresponds with notions of dwelling in anthropology (Ingold, 2011). In the project, we use ecosystem management traditions such as nomadism, pastoralism, or agriculture as examples. The ‘art of doing’-approach is hardly formalized. We want to test, whether the difference between the ‘science of seeing’ and the ‘art of doing’-approaches has historical rather than logical or factual reasons. Do temporal perceptions (of history and especially future) need similar corrections for their (temporal) distortions like those which are routine for spatial perceptions?

Today, many see themselves in a special role with respect to environmental history. Since the campaigns of Prof. B. Grzimek for the Serengeti, some Europeans feel responsible to preserve African ecosystems. The current epoch has even been renamed as Anthropocene, because humans today inevitably shape their local and global environment (Crutzen, 2002). It is evident, that the perception of the human role in environmental history depends heavily on models: of climate change or of the autonomous dynamics of ecosystems. The project will inspect several instances of such models, confronting those used by stakeholders in Africa (categorized by the project as appropriation) with occidental perceptions (categorized as conservation). We are particularly interested to find out how different models and their encounters distort the respective perceptions of time. We conjecture that all stakeholders of nature are in need of corresponding routines to cope with potentially temporal distortions, i.e. they need to know how to read historical or future events, and that at arbitrary temporal distances.

As a starting point of identifying and classifying implicit models of the history and future of ‘nature’ we use a classification of “ethno-cosmologies” from (Descola, 2005). Case studies will be firstly national parks in Africa, where we assume divergent models to clash; secondly, the appropriation of the climate change discourse in Africa, where we assume to find divergent underlying models. These investigations are cooperating with the DFG project “economy of sacred space” (U. Berner).

PICTURE: movie still from PUMZI, Wanuri Kahiu, 2009