NEWSLETTER OF THE ARTS COUNCIL OF THE AFRICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION
Number 5, January 1984
ASA BOSTON 1983
Merrick Posnansky met with the ASA Board of Directors on Wednesday
December 7th to report on the activities of ACASA during the year.
On December 9th a brief report was given to the ASA Annual General
Meeting. The ASA Board Meeting noted with satisfaction the growth
in membership and the biannual circulation of the ACASA Newsletter.
The Second Annual Meeting of ACASA was held Wednesday, December 7,
1983 at the ASA meeting in Boston. Dr. Paula Ben-Amos chaired with
36 members in attendance.
MINUTES OF SECOND ANNUAL MEETING
1. Secretary-Treasurer's Report. Given by Merrick Posnansky on
behalf of Arnold Rubin (currently conducting research in India).
It was noted that the membership had grown from 83 to 131 since the
last Annual Business Meeting, a 59% increase. The income for the
year was $1,285.00 and expenses $468.31, leaving a balance of $816.69.
Because of the surplus of funds, the Board decided to waive 1983/84
dues for continuing members.
2. Program Committee. Following a lengthy discussion during which
the need for advance planning was noted it was agreed that Roy Seiber
on behalf of ACASA should ask Richard Long to serve as a member of the
Board for future planning for the Triennial Symposium on Traditional
African Art. It was also agreed that to encourage maximum participation
in ASA meetings, papers should continue to remain unjuried.
3. Elections. Herbert M. Cole, Joanne B. Eicher and Simon Ottenberg
being duly proposed and seconded were elected by acclamation to fill
the vacancies on the Board caused by the retirement of Herbert M. Cole,
Joanne B. Eicher and Susan Vogel.
4. African Thesaurus. Janet Stanley of the National Museum of African
Art Library described details of the plans for a Thesaurus which will
access Ethnographic group, object type, broad descriptive categories,
and themes in art. The ACASA Newsletter will be used for progress reports.
5. The Artist and the Workshop in Traditional Africa. Christopher Roy
provided details of the workshop planned by April 1985 in Iowa City
(See Announcement section of Newsletter for full details).
6. The Center for African Art. Susan Vogel outlined plans for a new
center and program for the display of traditional African art.
Exhibitions in the planning stages include Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos;
Art of Gabon; and material collected in the nineteenth century in the
Musee de 1'Homme.
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7. Visual Data Bank. Jean Borgatti introduced the concept of a visual
data bank funded by the Social Science Research Council to use video
discs for the storage of slides and photographs and their associated
documentation (see enclosure).
8. 27th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association and
Seventh Triennial Symposium on Traditional African Art. Initial plans
for both meetings were presented by Doran Ross (See Announcement section
of Newsletter for details).
9. Other matters. The chairperson thanked African Arts on behalf of
ACASA for providing a free advertisement which has attracted many new
members. In discussion it was also agreed that the Newsletter should,
where possible, include brief details of dissertation topics and research
reports. It was noted that African Arts effective the present issue
(February 1984, Vol. XVII, No. 2) will initiate a new section on
ART-RELATED PANELS AT BOSTON ASA MEETING
I/I ART AND TRADE (Clarendon Room)
Chairperson: Lisa Aronson (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point)
Judy Perani (Ohio University) "Hausa and Nupe Male Prestige
Cloths: Production, Trade and Use"
Lisa Aronson (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point)
"Cloth Trade in the Niger Delta: An Ethno-Historical
Sharon S. Patton (University of Maryland) "Western Sudanic
Influence on the Akan: The Element of Trade"
Norm Schrag (Indiana University) "Mboma Art and Trade in
the 19th Century"
II/IO NUMEROLOGY AND SEX: SYMBOLIC REFERENCE FOR 3 AND 4 IN AFRICAN THOUGHT
(407-Charles River Room)
Chairperson: Daniel McCall (Boston University)
Wyatt MacGaffey (Haverford College) "Body Geometry in Zaire"
Barbara Hagaman (Boston University) "LoBir Music in
Daniel McCall (Boston University) "Number and Essence:
African, Near-Eastern and Indo-European Numerology:
Permutations in Old World Culture History"
Frederick Lamp (The Baltimore Museum of Art) "Temne
Numerology and the Dietary Supplement"
Eugenia Shanklin (Trenton State College)
Henry Kingsbury (Indiana University)
II/II MADE IDEOLOGY IN ART (Berkeley Room)
Chairpersons: Patrick R. McNaughton (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and
Mary Jo Arnoldi (Indiana University)
Mary Jo Arnoldi (Indiana University) "Relationships Between
Form & Ideology: An Analysis of Puppet Theatre and
Initiation Association Masquerade Among the Mande"
Kate Ezra (Metropolitan Museum of Art) "Bamana Sculptural
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John William Johnson (Indiana University) "Power &
Authority in the Manden"
Joseph A. Opala (SOAS, London) "Limba Blacksmiths:
Mande Influence in the Hinterland"
Ivan Karp (Indiana University)
IV/15 FUNERARY ART AND RITUAL (Clarendon Room)
Chairperson: Joanne B. Eicher (University of Minnesota)
Kofi Anyidoho (University of Texas, Austin)
"Music Event as Ewe Funerary Art"
Chris Roy (University of Iowa) "Art and Death in a
Susan Domowitz (Indiana University) "Anyi Sculptured Tombs"
Joanne B. Eicher (University of Minnesota) & Tonye
Erekosima (University of Port Harcourt) "Very Fanciful:
The Art of Kalabari Funeral Rooms"
David Binkley (Indiana University) "Kuba Masks in a
Simon Ottenberg (University of Washington)
V/2 THE ARTS OF DIVINATION (Clarendon Room)
Chairpersons: Susan Preston Blier (Columbia University) and Edward
Lifschitz (Museum of African Art)
Edward Lifschitz ( Museum of African Art) "Divination and
Art in Southern Liberia"
Margaret Drewal (Cleveland Heights) "The Role of Women in
Ifa Divinatory Art and Ritual"
Suzanne P. Blier (Columbia University) "The Architecture
of Divination: Symbolic and Structural Correlates in
Tamberma Divinatory Practice"
Henry Drewal (Cleveland State University) "Myth and Motif:
The Iconology of Ifa Divination Implements"
Ellen Suthers (University of Virginia) "Art and Divination
Among the Senufo"
Ivan Karp (Indiana University)
VI/3 OPEN FRONTIERS: A RECONSIDERATION (Berkeley Room)
Chairperson: Jean M. Borgatti (Boston University)
Jean M. Borgatti (Boston University) "Northern Edo Age
Grade Masquerades from Ekperi"
Sidney Kasfir (Boston University) "Six Figures in
Search of an Attribution: The Tiv-Idoma Borderland"
Carol Ann Lorenz (Colgate University) "Ishan Stools
and Bini Prototypes"
Rene Bravmann (University of Washington)
1984 ASA MEETING IN LOS ANGELES
27th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, Los Angeles
October 25-28, 1984 at downtown Los Angeles Hilton.
The 1984 Los Angeles meetings of ASA will simultaneously celebrate the
25th anniversary of the UCLA African Studies Center. In honor of both,
the UCLA Ruseum of Cultural History will mount a major traveling
exhibition Igbo Arts: Community and Cosmos curated by Herbert M. Cole
and will reassemble an abridged version of African Islam curated by
Rene Bravmann and recently shown at the National Museum of African Art,
Carol B. Thompson, Program Chair, has announced that there will be no
general theme for the meetings. She has divided programing responsibilities
into nine different sections:
Los Angeles, Ca. 90024
2. Art Arts Council of the ASA
Doran H. Ross
Museum of Cultural History
55A Haines Hall
Los Angeles, Ca. 90024
3. Film and Media
African Studies and Research
Washington, D.C. 20059
Editor of ALA
Dept. of Comparative Literature
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E6
5. Music and Dance
110 Music Bldg.
University of Pittsburg
Pittsburg, Pa. 15260
Africana Studies Center
310 Trithammer Rd.
Ithaca, N.Y. 14850
7. Social Sciences
Ed Keller, Director
Santa Barbara, Ca. 93106
8. Women's Caucus
Dept. of Anthropology
Hanover, N.H. 03755
to be arranged by Allen Isaacman
10. LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS
African Studies Center
Los Angeles, Ca. 90024
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She has also reinstituted the formal ASA guidelines for panels and papers
which are reproduced here in her directive to Doran Ross, section leader
for the Arts panels:
There are some basic guidelines for forming panels which I ask you to
follow. They are standard procedure for ASA, but not fully implemented
each year. I find them useful to encourage wide participation so will
1. High scholarly quality should be the principal criterion for
acceptance of papers. Full consideration should be given to
all suggestions which come to you either directly or through
the Program Chair. Meetings have to be kept as open as
possible, but section leaders may reject poorly prepared
proposals or ones which lack relevance to panel themes.
2. Except in unusual circumstances, panels should consist of no
more than five participants (3 papers, one discussant, one
3. No participants may appear (in any role) on more than one panel.
However, chairs may present a paper on his/her panel (but only
4. Representation by gender, race, and age is encouraged for each
panel. We want to encourage young scholars; papers on "women"
do not always belong on "women's panels," for women are also
artists, laborers, decision-makers, etc. Several ASA members
have pointed out that African women seem to be particularly
under-represented on panels in past years.
5. Roundtables should be limited to six persons.
6. The order of presentation on the panel should be the order listed
on the program.
7. Audio-visual equipment should be requested at the time the panel
is formed. (See enclosed panel form.) We can meet the requests
only if there is adequate time to arrange for equipment. ASA
does not have adequate funds to rent equipment at the last moment
from the Hilton. Please do check this out with the panel chairs.
Two arts panels for ASA have already been formulated and will be held on
Saturday, October 27, at UCLA in conjunction with the Igbo and African Islam
exhibitions. Prearranged bus transportation will be available from the
downtown Hilton. The Saturday morning panel will be chaired by Herbert M.
Cole and is titled Masquerade Arts in Igboland. The Saturday afternoon panel
will be chaired by Simon Ottenberg and is titled Problems in Igbo Art History.
The 2 hour period between the panels will celebrate the 25th anniversary of
the UCLA African Studies Center with a buffet and entertainment.
** Proposals for other art panels and/or papers should be sent to Doran H. Ross
at the address cited on page 4. Deadline for all panels is April 15 1984.
The Peabody Museum of Ethnology at Harvard University has completed its storage
renovation and its African collections are once again available for study by
appointment. Contact Victoria Swerdlow, Collections Manager. The Africa
exhibition hall is not yet organized. The catalogue for the Peabody Museum-
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts exhibition of African art, entitled
Designs for Living, by Monni Adams is available from Harvard University Press,
79 Garden St., Cambridge, Ma. 02138 ($12.). Another special event in Boston in
1983 was the exhibition of African art from a large private collection of
G. McMillan at the Athenaeum, a venerable Boston library. (Illustrated catalogue
$5. containing latest research information).
A new juried art history journal is being published in Vienna called Artibus et
Historiae. The editor, Dr. Josef Grabski, welcomes contributions in all areas of
art history as long as the work is "well-documented and significant." There is
no limit on the number of illustrations. They publish both B&W and color. The
descriptor from the journal reads:
artibus et historiae
revista internazionale di arti visive e einema
ARTIBUS ET HISTORIAE, a new periodical
dedicated to the visual arts publishes
articles on research in art in its broad
sense, thus including also films, photography,
as well as other areas of art connected with
visual expression. The periodical particularly
encourages interdisciplinary research on art
problems on the borders of art history and other
humanistic disciplines such as psychology,
sociology, philosophy, literature, and so on.
ARTIBUS ET HISTORIAE appears every six months:
The articles are published in one of four
languages: Italian, German, English, or French.
Those interested in submitting manuscripts for consideration should contact:
Dr. Josef Grabski, Director
Artibus et Historiae
A-1130 Wien, Austria
The Birmingham Museum of Art announces an exhibition of Nigerian sculpture entitled:
"Nigerian Sculpture: Bridge to Power."
The exhibition, will contain over one hundred objects borrowed from public and private
collections around the United States. This extensive collection will contain works
in wood, ivory, metal and ceramic.
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A catalog will"accompany the exhibition and will include essays by Ellen Elsas,
University of Alabama in Birmingham, Curator for the exhibition,and Dr. Robin
Poyner, University of Florida, guest scholar.
Related events which have already been scheduled include a lecture by Dr. Poyner
at the opening of the exhibition on April 15 and a lecture by Dr. Robert Thompson
of Yale University on April 26. Nigerian performing arts, sponsored by the
Festival of Arts, will be scheduled for various locations in the community during
This exhibition is being organized with a grant from the National Endowment for the
Arts and funding from the Birmingham Festival of Arts.
CALL FOR PAPERS (Revised deadline now March 15, 1984)
Third Symposium on African Art,
University of Iowa, School of Art and Art History
THE ARTIST AND THE WORKSHOP IN TRADITIONAL AFRICA
April, 1985, Iowa City
Please submit a one-page, single-spaced abstract. Presentations will be limited to
one-half hour. Proposals from scholars in any discipline will be considered, but
the focus must be art-historical. Papers must not have been presented or published
previously, and must be based on research in Africa. All abstracts will be
Considered by a panel of scholars, and those papers which are selected for presentation
will be published following the conference in "Iowa Studies in African Art."
Travel expenses for those who present papers will be paid by the University of Iowa.
Please send abstracts to: Professor Christopher Roy
School of Art and Art History
University of Iowa
Iowa City, la. 52242 (office phone 319/353-4434)
From Monni Adams: M. Mate Kovacs
Section des Politiques Culturelles
UNESCO 7, Place de Fontenoy
75007 Paris, France
Keeps a pool of experts for UNESCO.
Africanists art specialists might
want to register with him.
Jean Borgatti is organizing a workshop for the 1985 College Art Association meetings
in Los Angeles. The sessions subject is "Performance Art In Africa." Please send
paper proposals to: Jean Borgatti
5 Beverly Road
Shrewsbury, Ma. 01545
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The UCLA Museum of Cultural History is mounting an exhibition titled "Afro-Bahian
Arts of Candomble and Carnaval" in its Haines Hall 2 Gallery from April 11 to
June 10. The exhibition is being curated by Dr. Daniel J. Crowley and Mikelle
Smith Omari. A 72-page, 8" x 11" monograph accompanies the exhibition and can be
ordered for $14.00 postpaid from: Publication Orders
Museum of Cultural History
Haines Hall 55A
University of California
Los Angeles, Ca. 90024
Through May 6 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is "Riders of Power in
African Sculpture" curated by Herbert M. Cole. A 6" x 9", 27-page Monograph,#2
in the Ethnic Arts Series is available.
Other African exhibitions of note include: Seattle Art Museum
The Katherine White Collection
March 8 May 26
Indiana University Bloomington
William H. Mathers Museum
"Somalia in Word and Image"
Through May 15
National Museum of African Art,
Through April 22
PLEASE SEND INFORMATION ABOUT PUBLICATIONS, EXHIBITIONS, SYMPOSIA, RESEARCH,
DISSERTATIONS, TRAVEL, VISITORS, ETC. FOR INCLUSION IN THE ACASA NEWSLETTER
University of California, Los Angeles
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90024
VISUAL DATA BANK
We are i6 the process of planning a visual data bank of both
field and museum photos located in the United States, Europe, and
Africa at member institutions. Roy Sieber, Sylvia Williams, Ekpo
Eyo, Simon Ottenberg, Philip Ravenhill, Susan Vogel, and several
other scholars including representatives from the Social Science
Research Council have agreed to participate in a planning meeting
for the archive and to help generate the appropriate funding. We
welcome any suggestions you may have, and we would welcome the
presence of other concerned scholars at our spring meeting.
The project proposes (1) to use recently developed technology
associated with optical discs to store visual records--slides,
photographs, and film which can then be accessed quickly and the
image displayed on a high resolution graphics terminal; (2) to
integrate textual and visual imagery on storage devices inter-
faced with microcomputers so that images may be accessed ac-
cording to key characteristics as well as annotated in detail
over time. We see it as possible to make a comprehensive record
of field slides as well as objects, taking advantage of pre-
existing photographic records. The costs are such that all
images can be published; indexing and random access capabilities
provide for the easy retrieval of images and associated informa-
tion, as well as for the construction of sub-indexes focused on
particular topics as information accumulates across discs.
We are trying to assess interest and support in the field, and
request that you complete this simple questionnaire.
Please return this to the information desk at the ASA or to Jean
Borgatti, 5 Beverly Rd., Shrewsbury, MA 01545. Completion of the
questionnaire in no way obligates you to participate in this
project once underway.
PRIMARY FOCUS OF VISUAL DOCUMENTATION IF DIFFERENT FROM RESEARCH
WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO PUBLISH YOUR FIELD SLIDES ON AN OPTICAL
DISC WHICH WOULD BECOME PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL VISUAL DATA
BASE? YES NO
ESTIMATED NUMBER: SLIDES B & W PHOTOGRAPHS