Snapshot: Mini Workshop on Sub-Saharan African History

From left to right: Sandra Swart, John Agbonifo, Ibrahim Bashir, Christof Mauch, Wesley Mwatwara, and Vimbai Kwashirai.

Last week, the RCC hosted a group of African scholars, along with their mentors, to discuss and support proposals for a postdoctoral fellowship grant from the Volkswagen Foundation. In a three-day series of mini-workshops, the teams discussed their intended projects with RCC director Christof Mauch, RCC students and fellows. Also in attendance was current fellow and Zimbabwean and Oxonian scholar Vimbai Kwashirai.

Wesley Mwatwara, based at the University of Zimbabwe, together with his mentor Sandra Swart—a leading socio-environmental historian from Stellenbosch University—proposed a research project on the history and development of livestock disease management in postcolonial Zimbabwe.

John Agbonifo was accompanied by mentor Ibrahim Bashir—one of Nigeria’s leading economic historians—and German partner Dorothee Brantz. Together they discussed the development of John’s proposal on the environmental impacts of violent conflict in Nigeria, focusing on three case studies from the beginning of the civil war in the 1960s until the present.

The lively discussions proved enlightening, both with regard to contemporary challenges in post-colonial Zimbabwe and Nigeria and grant-writing strategies. Both applicants had a chance to incorporate the feedback into their proposals. We wish them all the best for their applications and future work!

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