College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Monday, November 13, 2017
New Medium of Knowledge Production and Transmission: Yoruba Ajami in Cultural Historiography and Scholarship.
Dr. Amidu Sanni
Malott Room, Kansas Union, 3:00 - 4:30 pm. 

The Yoruba (southwest Nigeria) came in contact with Islam in the 16th C, and their earliest documented history traced to the 17thC was said to have been made in Yoruba language using the Arabic characters (Ade Ajayi 2006). The modified form of the Arabic script for all languages whose speakers have come in contact with Islam is generally known as Ajami, and the tradition is widely cultivated for many African languages, including, Hausa, Mandinka, Fulfulde, Yoruba, Kanuri, and Wolof, among others (Cf. Ngom 2006; Mumin and Versteegh 2014).
But the oldest documentary Yoruba Ajami goes back only to the late 19th C, and the absence of a standard Ajami orthography, especially for consonants and vowels for which there are no equivalents in Arabic has for long made reading, writing, and comprehension of Yoruba Ajami materials almost impossible, except with some special skills. In the last three decades, however, the discovery of new texts in Yoruba Ajami and the increased use of it, even among those who are literate in Western and formal Arabic, in religious writing, short story, advertisement, political pamphleteering, proselytism, personal records, among others, has brought the Ajami tradition into a new focus. Dr. Sanni's presentation will examine the pre-colonial and post-colonial African processes of knowledge production and transmission with particular attention to the knowledge and epistemologies that are buried in the Yoruba Ajami as a new medium for an authentic African voice in socio-cultural expression and scholarship.

Monday, November 20, 2017
"Bound Together in Clandestine Matrimony? Reflections on the Political Economy of Human Trafficking in sub-Saharan Africa"
Munyaradzi Mawere

Human trafficking is a global epidemic as more people than at any other time in the history of humananity living in bondage. Although reportedly concentrated in South Asia, Northern Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, human trafficking is a global problem that affects every country in the world, either as countries of origin or destination. Shifman (2003) has shown that human trafficking is increasing each year as its lucrative nature continues to attract traffickers. A number of scholars have explored the causes of human trafficking with many emphasizing economic hardships, political instability, lack of child protective environment, early marriages, population explosion, discriminations and lack of birth registration. The Russian Ayn Rand is apt to say, “truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it,” but not in a helter-skelter dash. Indeed, confronted with all these alleged causes, we become confused as to which of these could be the underlying cause of human trafficking and mixed migration. We are challenged to do more research on the subject, particularly that which focuses on the underlying cause of human trafficking. A cursory look at the whole array of possible causes of human trafficking and its distinction from some form of mixed migration, makes one realize that human trafficking is a complex and pernicious problem which requires a rigorous search and not a fetidly putid analysis for us to understand its root cause. So far, the underlying cause(s) of human trafficking is as elusive as truth itself, and as such can never be eradicated from the face of the earth until its root cause is identified and dealt with accordingly. Using Southern Africa as a case study, this paper critically examine the link between poverty and the phenomenon of human trafficking. The paper further interrogates the political-economy surrounding the whole question of human trafficking and poverty in Africa to argue that poverty is the major cause and perpetuation of human trafficking in the continent. Granted, the paper argue further that as long as we live in a poverty-stricken society, human trafficking will remain a perennial global problem. 

Expert instruction in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof at the beginning and intermediate levels will be offered over eight weeks in June-July 2018.

Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit to learn more. 

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