2018 AfAA Student Paper Awards

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Association for Africanist Anthropology (AfAA) Student Paper Awards. Once again, we received strong submissions for both awards and have been impressed with the focus and quality of the research.

Drugs and Uncertainty in Tanzania

In much of the Global South, biomedical markets have been flooded by a massive proliferation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. The World Health Organization identifies Sub-Saharan Africa as the region most affected by this development, with estimates of drugs thought to be fake ranging from 30–60 percent.

African Vodun in the Age of Globalization

Westerners’ knowledge of Africa typically includes images of safaris, poverty, and of course, “tribal” religion, with all of its racist connotations of “primitiveness.” Among African religions, Beninese Vodun holds a prominent place as the precursor of Caribbean Vodou and North American Voodoo.

Creators of the Contemporary in Africa

In Ghana, creative culture and the contemporary art sphere is in a period of exponential growth and refiguration. Across Accra and Kumasi, the contemporary creative scene has been growing at an unprecedented rate since 2011–pervading public spaces, transportation infrastructure, historical sites, and online social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In the absence of support structures for the arts, many artists and institutions have begun using urban public spaces as creative venues and substantive mediums for producing and displaying art.

Fieldwork through the Eyes of an Undergraduate

Running through terminal three at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, two thoughts crossed my mind: “I have to make this flight,” and, “This is my McCallister moment.” It was not until I was finally seated on my seven-hour flight to Heathrow that doubt began to creep into my mind. All of the trip anxiety that I had before leaving came rushing back somewhere between hours three and four of the flight.

African Futures and Afrofuturism

Black Panther (2018) is one of the highest grossing films in history. That a high-budget, sci-fi, action-hero movie is popular around the world is not a surprise. Yet, a global cinematic hit made by a mostly Black cast and production team, and set in East Africa, is unprecedented. Black Panther and its commercial success are products of and contributors to a growing popularization and even valorization of forms, metaphysics, symbols, and other cultural elements recognizable as “African.”