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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership


We are delighted to announce the fifth

Annual Lecture of the Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

Akosua Adomako Ampofo

Professor, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon


President of the African Studies Association of Africa

Race-ing the Academy: Acute on Chronic


5.00pm, Wednesday 8 May 2019
Lecture Room 9
8 Mill Lane, Cambridge
Akosua Adomako Ampofo is a Ghanaian academic and activist, and was the founding Director of the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy at the University of Ghana. Her work focuses on African knowledge systems, higher education, identity politics, gender-based violence, women's work, masculinities, and gender representations in popular culture. Her recent publications include: ‘Re-viewing Studies on Africa, #Black Lives Matter, and Envisioning the Future of African Studies’, and with Deborah Atobrah, ‘Expressions of Masculinity and Femininity in Husbands’ Care of Wives with Cancer in Accra’, both published in African Studies Review in 2016; as well as Transatlantic Feminisms: Women’s and Gender Studies in Africa and the Diaspora, co-edited with Cheryl Rodriguez and Dzodzi Tsikata (Lexington, 2015).
Many people today suffer from chronic, long term conditions that cannot be cured, but that can be controlled or managed. Take, for example, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is a condition that includes obstruction of the small airways and emphysema. This chronic condition can be controlled with breathing treatments and inhalers. However, when the person with COPD develops a bad cold, flu or pneumonia, she or he now has a new acute lung condition which makes the COPD worse and causes new disease symptoms of the acute on top of the chronic. The patient’s symptoms worsen to the point where hospitalization is needed. My father has been an asthmatic all my life, and as he aged, he would fall into the acute phase and throw the rest of the family into a panic. Once he was cured of the acute condition, or it had run its course, then the chronic condition would eventually go back to its baseline and he would resume his own version of a normal way of life. But that ‘normal’ was really only a resumption of life under the banner of chronic: for my father it meant going back to his inhaler, his oxygen machine and his medication. The academy has often treated matters of race as acute — say when there are student movements around decolonising the academy, or new waves of migrations — and then soon thereafter there is a return to chronic silences, erasures or misrepresentations. This talk will illustrate some of these conditions, and suggest why race-ing the academy is important and how we might carry this out.