Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا
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Past activities

The Humanities Institute Programme has undertaken a variety of activities that included the completion of work initiated under the Transcending Boundaries initiative that began in 1997 as a collaboration with Northwestern University, Evanston, USA, and the introduction of a number of new initiatives.

Number of visits: 430

The Transcending Boundaries initiative was conceived as a multi-year project designed to explore new frontiers in the study of Africa through an examination of areas of overlap between the social sciences and cultural production. Activities undertaken within the Transcending Boundaries initiative were for many years centred on the theme of Memory & Reconstructions of a Ruptured Past. The theme was chosen as a point of entry into research on and documentation of survival mechanisms developed by societies that have suffered prolonged turmoil and dislocation: How they reconstruct their socio-cultural traditions and institutions; how they transmit cultural knowledge to the younger generations; how they re/constitute diasporic intellectual/ artistic/ religious communities. Other themes explored include language, communication, religion, as well as pedagogical models of knowledge in the African Humanities.

The theme was chosen as a point of entry into research on and documentation of survival mechanisms developed by societies that have suffered prolonged turmoil and dislocation: How they reconstruct their socio-cultural traditions and institutions; how they transmit cultural knowledge to the younger generations; how they re/constitute diasporic intellectual/ artistic/ religious communities. Other themes explored include language, communication, religion, as well as pedagogical models of knowledge in the African Humanities.

The Programme has also hosted a number of conferences and symposia. The most important of these were the 2003 symposium on Canonical Works & Continuing Innovation in the African Arts and Humanities, the 2004 conference on Droit de propriété intellectuelle et culture traditionnelle en Afrique francophone, and the 2006 special project on Circles and Time: A Theory of Structural Organisation of Rhythm in African Music. The 2003 symposium registered the participation of 57 researchers from across Africa and the Diaspora while the 2004 conference had 30 participants in attendance, 15 of them being practicing musicians invited to speak to the sessions of the meeting devoted to reflections on the role of the musician as intellectual. The Programme was also the host of the 2006 edition of the international conference of the global network known as the African Literary Association (ALA).

As with all CODESRIA activities, participants in the activities of the Humanities Institute Programme are required to respond to an open call for papers. The project on Circles and Time represented a deliberate initiative of the Institute aimed at researching and documenting an important area of the Humanities that is under-researched and which falls within the Council’s Strategic framework. Participants in the different activities organized were drawn not only from different disciplines but also reflected an admixture of different generations of scholars.




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