Spring 2010 Africa at Noon Events

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
A Partnership to Strengthen the Public Health Laboratory Network in Botswana
John Pfister, MS
Associate Scientist, Microbiologist and Epidemiologist
Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, UW-Madison

In Botswana, where an estimated 17% of the country’s 1.8 million people are infected with HIV, inadequate laboratory systems represented a major barrier to mounting a successful HIV control program. Since 2001, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) Microbiologist and Epidemiologist John Pfister has been working periodically as an Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) consultant to assist the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Botswana Ministry of Health strengthen Botswana’s public health laboratory network. John will describe the challenges, accomplishments, and ongoing activities of this international partnership.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Highway Robbery: The Economics of Extortion in West African Trucking
Jeremy Foltz
Associate Professor, Agricultural & Applied Economics
University of Wisconsin- Madison

The talk seeks to analyze the process of petty corruption along the major trade routes of West Africa. The work analyzes data from 1,200 truck trips on three key routes in West Africa: Bamako-Ouagadougou, Ouagadougou to Tema, Ghana and Lome, Togo. Those truck trips represent 44,000 times trucks were stopped and more than 40,000 bribes paid and identify a number of places with high levels of corruption.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The Nation and Its Others: Citizens, Foreigners, and Asians in Twentieth Century Tanzania
Ron Aminzade
Professor, Department of Sociology
University of Minnesota

Since the dawn of independence, Tanzanian nationalists have been bitterly divided over who merits citizenship in the community of the nation and which rights and privileges should be granted to foreigners and the Asian racial minority. Nationalists disagreed over whether foreigners were threats to national sovereignty or necessary partners in the quest for development, fighting over whether foreigners should be allowed to hold civil service jobs, own small businesses, and teach at institutions of higher education. They also fought about whether the Asian racial minority should be welcomed as fellow citizens with the same rights as black Africans or treated as “non-indigenous” people.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
African American Lives: Genes, Roots, and Routes
African Diaspora and the Atlantic World Research Circle
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Our lively exploration of the process and impact of genetic testing for ancestry continues! We will watch excerpts from, and critically discuss, the famous documentary, African American Lives, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. We will also reveal the results of the genetic tests done by our Circle volunteers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Old Wine, New Skins: A Ghanaian Contribution to the Debate on Working Conditions in Export Processing Zones
Akosua Darkwah
Department of Sociology, University of Ghana and Visiting Professor in Women’s Studies, Duke University

Drawing on interviews with factory workers in a small AGOA-inspired factory in Tema, Ghana, this paper explores the extent to which a focus on labor relations can provide new insights into the discussion as to the benefits, or lack thereof, of factory work in the developing world.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The Kibale EcoHealth Project: Health through Conservation near the Foothills of the Mountains of the Moon
Tony Goldberg
Professor, Department of Pathobiological Sciences and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Diseases shared between wildlife and people pose a serious threat to both human health and wildlife conservation, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Kibale EcoHealth Project is a long-term investigation of infectious disease ecology and epidemiology in the region of Kibale National Park, Uganda. Through an evidence-based scientific approach, the project strives to discover how anthropogenic changes to tropical ecosystems alter infectious disease transmission among people, wildlife, and domestic animals, and how targeted interventions might help improve health in all dimensions.

Wednesday, March 3
Project1808 Sierra Leone: Sowing the seeds of sustainability through science and community- school partnerships
Alhaji N’jai
Scientist, Department of Pathobiological Sciences and Molecular & Environmental Toxicology Center, Univerisity of Wisconsin-Madison

Project1808 supports science and technological education, with a focus on local community needs. The overall goal is to advance public health, economic opportunities, empower communities, and advance the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (UN MDGs) of Sierra Leone.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Genetics for Roots and Genealogy—Future Promises?
African Diaspora and the Atlantic World Research Circle
University of Wisconsin-Madison

A look back at the year-long seminar and a preview of the Africa, African Diaspora, Genetics and Genealogy symposium on Friday, March 12, 2010.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Iron Cage of Democracy: Institutional Isomorphism and Political Party Competition in Africa
Rachel Beatty Riedl
Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

This presentation will describe the range of political party systems that exist across the African democracies, and explain why the variant forms of democratic representation have emerged. These institutional outcomes are particularly surprising given that many countries face similar challenges of low economic development, high ethnic heterogeneity and weak state capacity and yet have maintained democracy and practiced political party competition in highly divergent forms.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The Politics of Piracy in Somalia
Abdi Samatar
Professor and Chair, Department of Geography
University of Minnesota

Piracy along the Somali coast is a consequence of the dynamics of the Cold and Terror wars. Although Somali pirates have gained a great deal of notoriety in the last five years, the international community has been oblivious to the three types of pirates that operate along the Somali Coast. Samatar examines the politics of piracy in the region.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Post-Apartheid South Africa: The Huge Challenge of Doing Well Together
Frank Kronenberg
Director, Shades of Black Works, Cape Town, South Africa

Using a phenomenological/narrative approach, Frank Kronenberg shares interrelated personal, professional and political views and experiences of living and working in Cape Town. Kronenberg is from the Netherlands and lives with his South African wife and two daughters.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Daniel Kunene and Mukoma Wa Ngugi in Conversation: Reading, Writing and Producing African Literature
Daniel Kunene, Professor Emeritus and Author of The Rock At The Corner of My Heart
Mukoma Wa Ngugi, author of Nairobi Heat

Daniel Kunene and Mukoma Wa Ngugi will discuss a wide range of African issues surrounding the writing, reading and criticism of African literature. Both will read from and talk about their latest works, The Rock at the Corner of My Heart (Brown Turtle Press, 2009) and Nairobi Heat (Penguin, SA 2009) respectively.

A post-reading discussion led by Kennedy Waliaula, Assistant Professor, African Languages and Literature.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
African Urban Garrison Architecture: Property, Armed Robbery, Para-Capitalism
Tejumola Olaniyan
Professor, Departments of African Languages and Literature
University of Wisconsin-Madison

A view from the barred window of the walled-up residence in urban Africa; an exploration of the many contexts of its emergence and evolution.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Alcohol Consumption among Ugandans
Ajay K. Sethi, PhD, MHS
Assistant Professor, Departments of Population Health Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Madison

In 2005, the World Health Organization ranked Uganda as having the highest per capita recorded alcohol consumption in the world. Although reaction to its number one ranking was mixed, many acknowledged that alcohol consumption in Uganda and Sub-Saharan Africa, in general, was largely understudied. This talk will present results of several studies examining the patterns and culture of alcohol consumption in Uganda.