Washington, DC — On 1 December 2023, members of the Association Concerned Africa Scholars (ACAS) met in San Francisco at the African Studies Association annual meeting, with co-chairs Teresa Barnes and Tim Scarnecchia, to revive the organization.
Statement by African Studies Scholars on Israel’s Attacks on Gaza
Founded in 1977, the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars (www.associationofconcernedafricascholars.org) is an organization of scholars and students of Africa dedicated to formulating alternative scholarly analysis of U.S. government policy, mobilizing support in the United States on critical current issues related to Africa, developing communication and action networks among scholars in the United States and Africa, and collaborating with other organizations that share its concerns.
ACAS is a coordinate organization of the African Studies Association (United States). ACAS was founded in 1977 by scholars who sought to organize scholarly analysis and action to work toward “moving U.S. policy toward Africa in directions more sympathetic to African interests.,” according to the organization’s statement in the first ACAS newsletter (https://africanactivist.msu.edu/recordFiles/210-849-23414/ACASBulletin3-78opt.pdf)
ACAS has a rich history of political activism and policy review. ACAS members now work on a range of issues, including working with the Advocacy Network for Africa (AdNA) seeking temporary suspension of US pharmaceutical patent rights on COVID vaccines so that the more than 100 pharmaceutical manufacturers in Africa and the global south can produce vaccines for local needs; the growing presence of the US Africom Combatant Command ( Africom) across the continent as the Global War on Terror continues to escalate in Africa; the increase in Department of Defense and intelligence funding in U.S. higher education for African language, NSF, Boren Fellowships, and other educational programs; food sovereignty and land grabs; the politics of trade, debt, and development; the implications for Africa of US interests in African oil, strategic minerals, and genetic wealth; the need for greater US support for HIV, malaria, and other health programs in Africa; and the continuing issues of women’s rights across the continent: “green energy” and the impact of cobalt mining in the DRC; UN and humanitarian relief funding; and illicit financial flows from Africa.
Its interdisciplinary approach supports rethinking conventional interpretations of social and economic policy, globalization, development strategies, media representations, and nation building.
Since the meeting, ACAS has updated, improved, and expanded its website (www.associationofconcernedafricascholars.org). On 19 December, ACAS posted a Statement by African Studies Scholars on Israel’s Attacks on Gaza, which was debated at the meeting and finalized on 15 December 2023. On 27 December, a new issue of the Bulletin of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars , ACAS Bulletin no. 90, edited by Daniel Volman, was posted. It includes two articles by the editor on the Sahel, a review of recent books on cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and articles by Alex de Waal and Rahmane Idrissa on the civil war in Sudan.
Daniel Volman is the Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC (www.africansecurity.org) and a specialist on US national security policy toward Africa and African security issues.