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AFRIK-IT  March 2004

AFRIK-IT March 2004

Subject:

ASA: Information Technologies and Development: New Communities

From:

Art McGee <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

African Network of IT Experts and Professionals (ANITEP) List

Date:

Sat, 6 Mar 2004 07:18:04 -0500

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (74 lines)

47th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association of
the United States (To be jointly held with the Canadian
Association of African Studies)

"The Power of Expression:
Language, Memory and Identity in Africa and the Diaspora."

National Program Chairs:
Dennis Cordell and Philip Zachernuk

November 11-14, 2004
Marriott Hotel
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Call for Proposals:
http://www.africanstudies.org/CallForPapers2004.pdf

Proposal deadline:
March 15, 2004

Theme:
"Information Technologies and Development: New Communities."

Co-chairs:
Simon Akindes, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Joseph Caruso, Columbia University

In the past fifteen years, the adoption of neo-liberal
policies in Africa has facilitated the introduction of new
computer-based information and communication technologies
(ICTs). These technologies are reshaping education,
scientific research, media, politics, and commerce in
fundamental ways and are affecting how Africans and their
diaspora are relating to one another and to the wider world.
In the process, new communities are being formed around
unconventional concepts of locality and virtuality, with
deep implications for the future. Shall we see positive
changes in the practice and theory of development in Africa,
or a tragic deepening of political, economic, and social
crises? Two main areas of research and development in ICTs
will be considered.

First, through an examination of specific case studies in
Africa and in its diaspora, the following questions may be
addressed: How do Africans forge their own identities with
tools and programs conceived outside of the continent? How
do ICTs help establish new diasporic communities for new
struggles? How do ICTs contribute to undoing or reinforcing
the marginalization of Africa, especially in scientific and
economic terms? Is foreign investment in the African ICT
sector encouraging new economic and intellectual
dependencies and obstructing the production and
dissemination of indigenous knowledge/languages? What has
been the impact of ICTs on political participation and
democratization efforts?

Second, a series of more theoretical and abstract questions
could be explored: Are ICTs helping Africa (re)gain the
initiative in the discourse and practice of its own
development? What roles are they playing in the "modern"
economic and cultural development of African peoples on the
continent and globally? Can Africa "leapfrog" economic
development stages and address the problems of extreme
poverty and uneven development through a heavy investment in
the new technologies? In light of recent experiences, do
development theories still offer an understanding of the
African condition? Is the revolution in ICTs just another
strategy of Western economic and cultural imperialism or can
Africans and their diasporas transcend the limitations of
the past and seize control of the emancipatory potential
that ICTs seem to offer?

-end-

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