WHAT IS THE AFRICA REGIONAL GROUP ?
The Africa Chapter of the Memory Studies Association is a regional branch of the international Memory Studies Association (MSA), which originated from a proposal to bring the annual MSA conference to South Africa in 2020. While the MSA committee strongly supported the idea, it was felt that the association’s membership on the African continent first needs to grow and local scholarly interest in the field must be stimulated. This led to plans for hosting a regional Memory Studies conference in Pretoria in the second half of 2019 and establishing an Africa Chapter of the MSA as a local organizing body.
Originally founded by Atabongwoung Gallous (University of Pretoria) and Sabine Marschall (University of KwaZulu-Natal), the Africa Chapter shares all general aims of the MSA and is bound by all general decisions made by the MSA, but it has its own governance structure and advisory board, which will ensure that regionally specific conditions and priorities are more adequately taken into consideration. Most notably, the Africa Chapter aims to promote the field of memory studies locally and encourage critical scholarship by organizing conferences and other scholarly events in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent. In support of the MSA’s mission to diversify the Anglo/Euro focus that characterized the early development of memory studies, the Africa Chapter places strong emphasis on Africa – the geographical entity of the continent, its multi-racial and multi-ethnic inhabitants, its diaspora and the multifarious linkages between Africa and the global arena. While the short-term focus is on local development of the field, the Africa Chapter ultimately aims to build theory in memory studies inspired by Afro-centric research; test extant conceptualizations in African contexts and bring African epistemologies and Indigenous Knowledge Systems to bear on the field of memory studies. Establishing a relevant journal and other suitable publication outlets would be another long-term goal.