This year Rhodes University joined the editorial consortium of the journal African Arts, which is published quarterly by UCLA and is distributed by MIT Press. The four consortium partners are UCLA, Rhodes University, the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. According to the Rhodes consortium editor, Professor Ruth Simbao, the core goals of the Rhodes University consortium partnership are to significantly increase the participation of scholars in the field who are based on the African continent, and to contribute towards shifting the centre of gravity of the arts of Africa discourse.
The first issue edited by Rhodes University (African Arts 50:2) grew out of a Publishing Workshop hosted by Rhodes in June 2016. In the First Word editorial, “Situating Africa: An Alter-geopolitics of Knowledge, or Chapungu Rises”, Simbao argues that, while an exciting new wave of artists and curators active on the African continent indicates a significant rising of Africa-based participation, visibility and recognition on international art platforms, it is problematic that scholarly writing and publishing in the internationally recognised discourse is still dominated by scholars in the north. There is a critical need for Africa-based writers to play a more important role in shifting a geography of reason, in which the south produces raw materials (in this case art) for the consumption of northern-based writers and theorists.
Simbao presents an open call for Africa-based scholars to participate as writers and guest editors, and the Dialogue, “Reaching Sideways, Writing Our Ways: The Orientation of the Arts of Africa Discourse” co-authored by fifteen scholars, artists and curators based in Zambia, Nigeria, Benin, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the USA, Egypt, Tanzania, and Angola/Portugal, marks the collaborative approach that will be developed through this consortium partnership.
The latest African Arts issue (Summer 2017, 50:2) features the following articles:
“Situating Africa: An Alter-geopolitics of Knowledge, or Chapungu Rises” (Ruth Simbao)
“Reaching Sideways, Writing Our Ways: The Orientation of the Arts of Africa Discourse” (Ruth Simbao in dialogue with William B. Miko, Eyitayo Tolulope Ijisakin, Romuald Tchibozo, Masimba Hwati, Kristin NG-Yang, Patrick Mudekereza, Aidah Nalubowa, Genevieve Hyacinthe, Lee-Roy Jason, Eman Abdou, Rehema Chachage, Amanda Tumusiime, Suzana Sousa, and Fadzai Muchemwa)
“Aporias of Rock Art Interpretation: Advancing a Phenomenological Reading” (Nomvuyo Horwitz)
“Reimag[in]ing the Village as a Portrait of a Nation-State in Uganda” (Angelo Kakande)
“Alex Baine’s Women’s Emancipation in Uganda: A Visual Archive of the History of a New Generation of Women in Uganda” (Amanda Tumusiime)
“Reimagining Our Missing Histories” (Eria Nsubuga SANE and Sikhumbuzo Makandula in Conversational Partnership)
The next Publishing Workshop will take place at Makerere University from 2to 8 July 2017, and for the 2018 issue of African Arts Dr. Amanda Tumusiime will come on board as a guest co-editor.
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