The African Studies Association of the USA Annual Meeting (November 29-December 1, 2012, Philadelphia, USA) is one of the biggest and most enjoyable meetings of Africanists every year and represents a great opportunity to share your work, find out about the latest research, and build networks. Every year new and innovative work on democracy in Africa is presented.
This year I am the Section Chair for Policy and Politics section and so I’m really keen to encourage people to submit papers that ask what Africa’s multiparty governments are actually doing in terms of healthcare, education, infrastructure spending and so on. There are many fascinating questions in this area that remain underexplored. Do more democratic countries spend more on public services than authoritarian ones? Which services do they prioritise? Following significant debt relief, is the influence of the international community over the design of public policy lower than it was in the 1990s? What are the main barriers to the provision of services? If you working on any of these areas please do submit papers for consideration in my Section.
The official blurb for my section is:
14. Policy and Politics. Section Chair: Nic Cheeseman, African Studies Centre, Jesus College, University of Oxford. Historically, the positing of a neo-patrimonial African state has deflected from serious study of public policy on the continent. Yet, debt reduction and rising tax revenue have empowered many governments to pursue diverging policy goals such as education, healthcare provision, infrastructure and security—with dramatic consequences for their people. Panels that speak to the interplay between research and policy and adopt innovative techniques to interrogate these issues will be particularly welcome.
If you are not working on policy and politics there are many other sections of the meeting so please check out the Program Theme to see where your work would fit best. Readers of ‘Democracy in Africa’ will also be interested in my good friend Staffan Lindberg’s section on Democracy and Autocracy:
4. Democracy and Autocracy in Africa. Section Chair:Staffan I. Lindberg, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Department of Political Science, University of Florida. The last two decades have imprinted the global struggle between democracy and autocracy in Africa. Micro- and macrostudies, historical, interpretative, statistical, and experimental designs, have all contributed to our more informed understanding of the developments. Papers and panels identifying and advancing the research frontiers in this area are particularly welcome.
Click here for the Call for Proposals