The second edition of The Africa Institute’s
annual country-focused program—an annual initiative exploring one
African country or African diaspora community through a range of
scholarly and public programs—will be presented in Sharjah, UAE and Accra, Ghana
in 2021-22, convened by leading scholars Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Jean
Allman, Carina Ray, and Joseph Oduro-Frimpong.
Global Ghana will include a two-part interdisciplinary scholarly
conference beginning with Global Ghana: Sites of Departure/Sites of
Return held in Sharjah, followed by Global Ghana: In Search of
Africa’s Black Star, held in Ghana. The multidisciplinary program
will also include a film festival, a series of musical performances,
a staged theatrical performance, and an exhibition showcasing
dynamic work by contemporary Ghanaian artists. The season will be
launched with a keynote lecture and press conference in Fall 2021,
followed by a musical concert featuring an eclectic mix of popular
The Africa Institute’s Ghana-focused season aims to critically and
creatively engage Ghana’s history and contemporary condition.
Pushing beyond conventional narratives that oversimplify the
nation’s profound significance to its citizens, continental
neighbors, and the larger African diaspora, the season seeks to
reveal the complex and contested forces that have shaped Ghana, past
Global Ghana: Sites of Departure/Sites of Return
Sharjah, UAE | Spring 2022
The first part of the two-part program Global Ghana: Sites of
Departure/Sites of Return, held in Sharjah in Spring 2022, will
the ways in which Ghana has emerged over the last century as a focal
point of diasporic engagement beginning with early 20th-century
Africa’ movements, followed by Pan-Africanism, anticolonial
movements, and more recently, with heritage tourism. One of the
points of the conference will be Ghana’s efforts to cultivate and
diasporic engagement among African-descended people in the diaspora
Ghanaians living abroad through the recent “Year of Return” and
the Return” campaigns.
The season will push beyond Ghana’s Atlantic world connections to
wider field of enquiry about Ghana’s relations with the Arab world,
examinations of the past, present, and future of Afro-Arab
Global Ghana: Sites of Departure/Sites of Return seeks to welcome
engage audiences in Sharjah and throughout the UAE with compelling
thoughtfully developed dialogue.
Global Ghana: In Search of Africa’s Black Star
Accra, Ghana | Spring 2022
Held in Ghana, Global Ghana: In Search of Africa’s Black Star
explore the multiplicity of meanings that have been and continue to
invested in Ghana as a beacon of African emancipation, African
and continental innovation. The program aims to eschew racially
essentialist interpretations of the Black Star in favor of diverse
perspectives informed by Ghana’s complex history from Ghana’s role
the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries to its
place as one of the most significant sites for Afro-Arab solidarity
the 20th century.
Deep historical perspectives will inform the program’s consideration
how younger generations in Ghana today are reimagining what and who
constitutes the Black Star nation and its possible futures through a
range of different media, including visual and performing arts. To
end, the two-part scholarly conference will be complemented
by a dynamic range of musical, theatrical, and film performances and
exhibition of contemporary Ghanaian art.
Additional information on the participants and schedule for Global
Ghana: Sites of Departure/Sites of Return and Global Ghana: In
Africa’s Black Star will be announced in the coming months.
The health and safety of guests and participants are of utmost
to The Africa Institute. The Institute will continue to monitor
developments on COVID-19 and the program will be subject to
depending on how the pandemic evolves and travel is impacted.