Posts tagged ‘Kileleshwa’
State, Economy & Society: Reflections on Constitutions in Africa By Professor Yash Pal Ghai, Nov. 5 2015 @ BIEA
Since the beginning of colonialism in the early 19th century, African states have experienced a large number of constitutions, in both the colonial and post-independence periods. Each constitution has expressed the exigencies and expectations of the moment; some have been imposed, others the decisions of the people. If we regard the primary purpose of a constitution to promote constitutionalism, most constitutions have been failures. Using social science concepts of state, economy and society, Ghai explains the causes of the failure of constitutionalism…
BIEA Annual PhD Conference: Centres and Peripheries – Rethinking binaries in Kenya & East Africa, Oct. 31 2015 @ BIEA
Date: October 31, 2015
Venue: British Institute in Eastern Africa, Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa
Scholarship on Africa in the social sciences and humanities has long wrestled with the distinction between centre and periphery, across diverse contexts and historical periods. Whether applied to the broad conceptualisation of the ‘Global South’s’ place in a capitalist world order, or the relationship between African cities and their rural environs, or the significance of what Murray Last and others termed ‘deep rurals’ for a myriad of pre-colonial political orders, trade routes and state systems across the wider region, centre-periphery tensions and confluences have long been a powerful problematic underlying African studies.
Increasing recognition of the historical, social, cultural and political significance of the shifting realities of life across sub-Saharan Africa, the mobility of migrants, and the waxing and waning spread of ideas, religious movements and different forms of political organisation and sociality, has provoked social scientists, historians and archaeologists to look beyond static models of social life in order to understand regional connections, power fluctuations and mutating political thought in Kenya, eastern Africa and beyond. Yet within this broader re-focusing of attention upon ‘trans-regional’ flows, connections and mobilities, ‘centre and periphery’ tensions have shown little sign of going away any time soon. Recent critical theory has framed ‘Africa’ – too often still re-imagined as an undifferentiated whole – as a (peripheral) zone of experimentation for neo-liberal forms of statecraft. In Kenya, in particular, the reality of a new constitution and devolved political structure has revived older discussions of ‘centre and periphery’ in academic and other spaces. Similarly, studies of urban social movements and state power continue to find in notions of ‘centre and periphery’ a model to think through competing forms of protest and governance in Kenya, the region and the wider continent.
If ‘centres and peripheries’ have found new political and social salience in Kenya, and across eastern Africa, through a new politics of constitutionalism and devolution, as well as in activist and protest contexts, they have also had an energising and constraining influence on the process of doing research. What and where is ‘the field’ in which the researcher ‘works’? For what reasons and how are particular ‘sites’ identified and chosen? How does the researcher get there? For whom does the researcher research/write? And to what extent are researchers complicit in the reification of particular boundaries through which specific ‘centres’ and peripheries’ are constantly being reconstituted. These questions are pertinent to anyone who does research in East Africa, concerning as it does, town and country, home and away.
The forthcoming PhD conference will offer emerging research scholars and PhD candidates working in Kenya and East Africa an opportunity to re-consider the legacy, significance and use of notions of ‘centre-periphery’ as they relate to their research. We welcome submissions across a range of disciplines and themes, including, but not limited to: Archaeology, History, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Geography, Literary, linguistic and Cultural studies.
Date: Friday, 14 November 2014
Venue: British Institute in eastern Africa, Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa
A friend recently reflected that, like catholic priests, safaricom is everywhere in Kenya. The wirelessness of safaricom’s cellular mobile networks is compounded by institutional ubiquity, making it the most profitable corporate company in the east African region. This project intends to explore how safaricom, as Kenya’s biggest mobile phone operator due to its market share and subscriber base, engenders particular notions of subjectivity. Its networks operate immediately as intimately particular and ultra-global in ways that challenge any conceptualizations of ‘a context’ or ‘the subject’. It is in the wide spectrum between how on the one hand, complete surveillance enabled by the omnipresence of networks and on the other, emancipation made possible by the imminence and volumes of its reach, that analyses of social networks have emerged. And it is within these wider narratives that I place safaricom as manager of networks; a profit driven agent straddling this spectrum. My research will view wireless networks not as empty conduits or modes of transmission but as actors that frame the possibilities of social and political engagement, and question how this wirelessness is articulated institutionally by safaricom, located in the current Kenyan neoliberal political history. This project wonders about the project of wireless limitlessness by exploring whether notions of subjectivity like temporality, intimacy and consumption are refashioning older historical categories like gender, class and citizenship. It is precisely in the interstice of historically resilient categories and new political formations that this project will question subjectivity, itself a theoretically contentious notion.
The primary research method is ethnographic, which includes participant observation at Safaricom offices including the R&D, marketing, call operator departments and shareholder meetings as well as M-Pesa outlets in Nairobi; semi-structured interviews with personnel at the organization, operators and users at the M-Pesa outlets, and other related agencies like the Communications Authority in Kenya and the Kenyan ICT Action Network. It will also consult newspaper and other textual archives.
Noosim Naimasiah is a graduate student at the Makerere Institute of Social Research.
Her work in mainly on political theory and culture. Noosim’s presentation is on her PhD proposal with her field work starting in January 2015.
For more information and to RSVP please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning from the 2011 Famine in Somalia
Date: Thursday, 13 November 2014
Venue: BIEA Seminar Room
Location: Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa
Time: 6-8 pm
In 2011, people in Somalia suffered a catastrophic famine. Since 2012, a group from the Feinstein Center at Tufts University and the Rift Valley Institute has been conducting retrospective research on the famine in Somalia, and in the Horn of Africa region more broadly, with the aim of providing empirical evidence to help prevent or mitigate such crises in the future. The research has examined the causes of the famine, how different groups in Somalia experienced it, and international responses to the crisis.
A report examining the lessons arising from this international response to the famine in 2011 was published in August. It is available here.
In this public meeting, hosted by the RVI’s Nairobi Forum, Dan Maxwell and Nisar Majid will present the key research findings and discuss the policy implications.
Entrance is by prior registration only.
Somalia’s Puntland State: What Next?
Date: Friday 7 February 2014
Venue: BIEA Seminar Room, Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa
Time: 10am – 12pm
Entry: RSVP here
On 8 January 2014 the parliament of Puntland elected its fourth president since the semi-autonomous state of Somalia was created in 1998. In a closely contested election run-off, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas, a former Prime Minister of Somalia, beat incumbent President Abdirahman Sheikh Mohamed Farole by a one-vote margin.
The transition of power was peaceful, but the new president and his cabinet have to contend with a number of pressing challenges. These include competing clan interests, relations with the Federal Government of Somalia and with the secessionist state of Somaliland, as well as security, humanitarian and development issues. At this meeting of the Nairobi Forum, speakers will share their insights on Puntland’s future.
Confirmed speakers include Mohamed Jama Waldo of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), Dr Cedric Barnes of the International Crisis Group (ICG), Adam Jama Shirwa of the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) and Safiya Abdullahi Yusuf of the Puntland Diaspora Forum.
Embers Of Empire: Towards A World History Of End Of Britain
Date: Friday, 6 December 2013
Venue: British Institute in Eastern Africa, Laikipia Road, Kileleshwa
Time: 10.30 am
Entry; prior Reservation
Since the 1970s, writers, historians and journalists have reflected widely on the impending “Break-up of Britain“, a theme that has acquired new momentum in the light of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Equally, there has been a tendency to link the crisis of Britishness with the decolonization of the British Empire, as though these two processes were somehow intrinsically linked. But rarely, if ever, is this link established in any coherent or convincing way. These papers offers new perspectives on an old problem by looking at Britishness as the world’s first global civic idea, which ran into increasing difficulties after WWII as the credibility of its transnational reach was increasingly called into question by the pressures for global decolonization. By studying the fate of British civic culture around the world, from Africa to Australasia, the Caribbean, South Asia and Canada since the 1950s, we can gain a new purchase on the problems of national cohesion and civic purpose that have erupted periodically in Britain and elsewhere since that time.
This seminar focuses on two talks by Prof. Stuart Ward and Christian Damm Pedersen, both historians from Copenhagen University, Denmark. Both speakers are part of a collaborative research project at Copenhagen University on ‘Embers of empire: The receding frontiers of post-imperial Britain’, funded by the Velux Foundation.
For more information on this project please visit: embersofempire.ku.dk
Seminar by: Professor Stuart Ward & Christian Damm Pedersen, University of Copenhagen
Chair: Professor Ambreena Manji, British Institute in Eastern Africa