I can´t be at the meeting of the African Studies Association this week, but if I were in San Francisco, this is what I´d be doing:
Thursday morning I´d be in the front row for Heidi Gengenbach´s talk about rural women in postwar Mozambique. Have you read Gengenbach´s work? Where she uses women´s tattoos as historical evidence?
Some of you may remember the story of Jake Katuluza, who during Mozambique´s civil war managed to spend many years in East Germany. Well, early early Friday morning I´d hit the panel where Eric Allina-Pisano is talking about Magermane like Jake. But I´d have to sit in the back so after his paper I could make a polite getaway and rush to the panel where Fernando Arenas will be tuning up Cesária Évora and other artists from Cape Verde, and telling us how the music of this small archipelago has gone global. (Fernando´s new book on film, music, and literature in contemporary Lusophone Africa officially launches next month. Might it be on sale at the ASA?)
Now it´s Friday afternoon, and this one´s a no-brainer: the panel on Mozambique´s Gorongosa National Park. Gorongosa´s getting a lot of press lately, as there´s an American philanthropist spending millions to reintroduce wildlife to a place that war devastated. But what about the people living there? Katie McKeown sets the table by talking about the colonial history of the park. Katie introduced me to Monday-night bluegrass at Minneapolis´s 331 Club. I´ve read her excellent Gorongosa paper. Be there.
Saturday. I haven´t thought enough about the panels I cannot attend on Saturday.
Early Sunday morning I would wait in line to see Cláudia Castelo and Helena Pohlandt-McCormick at the panel on racial ideologies. I´ve mentioned Cláudia´s work before on this site, when I told the story of Dinis Marques. She´s one of the few scholars (perhaps the only one?) who has cut through the gauzy webs of nostalgia and studied the experience of white colonization in Mozambique in any serious depth. In San Francisco she´s going to be addressing the Limpopo colonization scheme in southern Mozambique. Helena will be comparing war orphans in Nazi and South African contexts. (Jaw drops.) You should attend this panel twice if possible.
(Note: I´ll be blogging more frequently once I get some things off my plate.)