Competition for Best Masters Thesis on Sub-Saharan Africa, 1000 Euros (English and Français)

Posted on 28 May 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Awards & Honors, Call for Nominations or Applications, Call for Papers, Fellowships & Scholarships, Opportunities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

en français

Africa Thesis Award 2009

[Editor’s Note: Although this award is not specific to disability issues, it does say that topics should be “socially relevant.” We Can Do readers in Africa or the Netherlands may wish to consider using this competition as an opportunity to submit Masters’ theses on disability issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. I also hope that students with disabilities will compete for the 1000 Euro prize, regardless of the topic of your thesis. Please do NOT inquire with We Can Do. Instead, please consult the official award web site directly for instructions on how to participate in this competition.. The submission deadline is June 16, 2009. Missed the deadline? This is an annual opportunity—consult the official award web site for future details.]

The African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands, has an annual award for the best Masters thesis on Sub-Saharan Africa by a student at a university in the Netherlands or in Africa. Any final-year student who has completed his/her Masters thesis with distinction (80% or higher or a Dutch rating of at least 8) can apply. The ASC specifically encourage students from Sub-Saharan Africa to submit their theses for this annual competition.

Any thesis thematically related to socio-geographical, economic, political, juridical or anthropological issues or focusing on the humanities such as history, religion and literature (but with the exception of language and/or semiotic studies) can be submitted. The thesis must be socially relevant and can be be written in English, French or Dutch.

The award consists of a price of 1000 euros. The winning thesis will also be published in the ASC African Studies Collection. Submitted theses may be (partially) published on The Broker’s website: www.thebrokeronline.eu.

More detail is available on ASC’s website, including instructions for contacting the people responsible for organizing this opportunity: http://www.ascleiden.nl/Research/Award/

Date limite: le 16 juin 2009!

Vous vous intéressez à l’Afrique et vous avez écrit votre thèse de Master sur un sujet ayant un rapport avec l’Afrique ? Le Centre d’Études africaines (Afrika-Studiecentrum, ASC) vous offre la chance de gagner le Prix de la thèse d’études africaines d’une valeur de 1000€.

Ce prix vise à encourager les étudiants à faire des recherches et à écrire sur l’Afrique sub-saharienne, et à promouvoir les études sur les cultures et les sociétés africaines. Il est décerné une fois par an à un étudiant qui aura achevé sa thèse de Master sur la base d’un travail de recherche sur l’Afrique.

In French/en français: http://www.ascleiden.nl/Research/Award/MastersThesisAward-FR.aspx



I learned of this opportunity via the Deaf Studies Africa listserver and collected additional information via the official award web site.

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Disability in the Middle East, a bibliography

Posted on 18 January 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Middle East and North Africa | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

by M. Miles

The partly annotated open online “Disability in the Middle East, a
bibliography”, first web published in 2002, was much revised, extended and updated to June 2008, and now lists about 1,750 items, at:

http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/bibliography/mideast/index.html (also .pdf)

It aims to record the cumulative formal knowledge base in the disability field in countries of the Middle East, especially Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and some smaller neighbours.

Around 45% of the items in the bibliography, listed in the last two sections with a brief introduction, comprise historical materials of the Middle East from 1751 to 1970 and from Antiquity to 1750, as an essential part of the cultural background. This earlier material has more annotation (and so takes about 60% of the total word-count), to enable potential readers to find the disability-related parts that are sometimes hidden in odd corners or footnotes, and also to indicate some cultural features that might be less easily understood nowadays.

No sensible explanation exists for how I [M. Miles] came to put this stuff together. There was already far too much material when it went online in 2002. Planning to spend a few weeks on a short update, I had a swing at disability and deafness in Egyptology, Assyriology, and the Hittite Kingdom in Anatolia,
which actually took six months. Of course, the material is utterly fascinating.

The past 30 years of “disability studies” in North America and Western Europe can look like a few buckets of water compared with the rolling 5000-year ocean of Middle Eastern disability. But just because of that contrast, I guess the majority of western students of disability won’t dip a toe into this ocean. The bibliog and annotations give a basic map for the adventurous minority… Also, of course, for the millions of non-western people who
might be happy to know something about disability before The West was invented.

best, miles

[Note to We Can Do readers: people interested in researching people with disabilities in the Middle East, African, East Asian, South Asian, and South-West Asian regions regions may find it helpful to begin with M. Miles’ collection of annotated bibliographies, of which this is only one.



This email was circulated by the author, M. Miles, on the Disability-Research email discussion list.

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PAPER: Deaf People in African Histories c. 960s – 1960s

Posted on 19 December 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Deaf, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Individuals interested in investigating the history of Deaf, deaf, or hard of hearing people in any African nation may wish to read the paper entitled, “Deaf People Living and Communicating in African Histories, c. 960s – 1960s” by M. Miles (2005).

The abstract for this paper is as follows:

“Glimpses of the lives and communication of deaf and hearing impaired people are seen in one thousand years of history across Africa. Textual evidence of 100 historical deaf adults and children, of hundreds more in groups, and of gestural communication and formal Sign Language, appears from 42 African nations, sourced in travellers’ accounts, legal and genealogical records, government reports, institutional and missionary archives, academic theses, linguistic studies, folklore, ethnography, novels, religious narrative, mime and dance. The data may assist in construction of valued identities and evidence-based cultural histories. Uses and interpretations remain for deaf people to discuss and choose according to their own varied interests and objectives.”

The article has 190 references, and notes some Africa-wide activities of deaf people, including in relation to deaf studies and sign language studies.

The author, M. Miles, has suggested that organizations of deaf people in each African nation should build their own archives and records of deaf people in order to help create an understanding of what it means to be deaf in Africa in the late 20th and early 21st century.

Read the full text of the article at:

http://www.independentliving.org/docs7/miles2005a.html



Thank you to the author, M. Miles, for announcing this article on the DeafStudies-Africa email-based discussion list.

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How Was the CRPD Born? Opportunity to Share Your Story with History

Posted on 30 October 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Comments or Information, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

We Can Do readers who were involved with the negotiation process for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) may wish to share their stories with the United Nations Intellectual History Project (UNIHP). This could be an important means of documenting the history of how the CRPD was created. The following text is taken directly from the UNIHP web site at http://www.unhistory.org/ora_his_sol.htm; only information provided at the UNIHP website itself should be considered official or up-to-date.

Do You Have a Story to Tell?

Limited time and resources make it impossible for UNIHP staff to conduct oral history interviews with all those who may have served the United Nations as staff members, consultants, researchers, diplomats or chairs of commissions. However, anyone who has participated in UN development activities over the years, and who has a particular story to contribute about the nexus of development ideas, international public policy, and multilateral institutions, is welcome to send us a short, written contribution.

We have set out below some of the questions, about which it would be most useful to receive your own ideas and experiences.

We ask that you send a brief note, 5 to 10 pages, by email to unhistory@gc.cuny.edu, or by fax or mail to the project’s New York headquarters.

Please note that by sending your contribution to the project you agree to vest copyright with the United Nations Intellectual History Project. This agreement will allow the project to quote directly from your note if it is used in project publications, although it will license you to copy, publish or otherwise use the note for your own purposes.

As the aim of the project is to better understand the UN’s contribution to global economic and social policy and to development discourse and practice, we examine the sources, evolution, and implementation of economic and social ideas generated or promoted by the UN. With this in mind, we ask that your note address the following questions as they relate to your own experience at the UN:

1. Please briefly describe the nature of your affiliation with the UN, positions held, and dates.

2. Could you identify one or two of the most original development ideas that you worked on, or were aware of, during your experience with the UN?

3. Where did this idea originate? Did it come from

a. Intellectual leadership of particular individuals, within or outside UN secretariats?
b. Eminent commissions?
c. Ad hoc global conferences?
d. Expert groups?
e. Academics?
f. NGOs?

4. How did this idea develop? What were the debates about it? Was it promoted, distorted, abandoned, or implemented? Some possible factors to consider that may have impacted on it are:

a. Global or regional events
b. Tensions within and among diplomatic coalitions, i.e. North-South relations within the UN during the Cold War and after; East and West; within “like-minded”; within the least developed.
c. Institutional rivalries or coalitions, including tensions between the UN and the Bretton Woods institutions
d. Quality of the international civil service, including its leadership

5. In your view, did this idea make a difference?

a. Did it change international public policy discourse?
b. Did it provide a guide to national policy and action?
c. Did it alterprospects for forming new coalitions of political or institutional forces?
d. Did it become embedded in institutions?




I became aware of the UNIHP via the AdHoc_IDC email discussion list.

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History of Disability Rights in El Salvador

Posted on 18 August 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Disability Studies, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Upside Down World has recently published an extensive history of the disability rights movement in El Salvador from the 1990s through today, with special attention to the 12-year civil war; land mines and land mine victims; disability-related legislation in the country; and the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

El Salvador is one of 34 countries to have ratified the CRPD.  The CRPD is the first international, legally-binding treaty to protect the human rights of people with disabilities.  It protects many different human rights including: the right to healthcare and to informed consent in health services; the right to procreate and to obtain contraceptives; the right to education; the right to live with one’s own family in the community; and many more. 

El Salvador also is one of 20 countries to have ratified the accompanying Optional Protocol.  The Optional Protocol gives people with disabilities another way to obtain justice if their human rights have been violated under the CRPD.  People must first pursue all means of justice available to them within their own country.  If all of these attempts fail, and if their country has ratified both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol, then they may register a complaint with the international Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The Committee is authorized to investigate human rights violations under the CRPD.

In addition to the countries that have ratified the CRPD and Optional Protocol so far, another 96 countries also have declared official interest in ratifying the CRPD in the future, and 51 of these countries also are officially interested in ratifying the Optional Protocol.  A country signals strong official interest in an international treaty by signing it.  Signing a treaty is the first step toward ratifying it.  A country that has signed a treaty is not yet obligated to obey it, but must still avoid taking actions that would violate it.  A country that has fully ratified a treaty must make its laws more consistent with the treaty by creating new laws as necessary, or by abolishing old laws that violate the treaty.

Read the full story on the history of disability rights in El Salvador, entitled “A Recent History of the Disability Rights Movement in El Salvador” at

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1384/1/

Find out if your country has signed or ratified the CRPD and Optional Protocol at http://www.un.org/disabilities/countries.asp?navid=12&pid=166

Learn more about the CRPD and Optional Protocol by reading the RatifyNow FAQ.

Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of the CRPD and Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.

This blog post was first published at <a href=”http://www.RatifyNow.orgRatifyNow.org and is re-posted here with permission of author. RatifyNow is an organization working to promote the ratification and implementation of the CRPD around the world, and periodically posts links like this one to interesting news stories related to disability rights and the CRPD.

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