“What is a political scientist doing at an Institute of African Studies?” I asked myself, when I first joined the University of Ghana about a decade and half ago after my doctoral studies. I was versed in thematic studies, but untaught in area studies. To fit in, I had to adjust. Without a sufficient understanding of Africa, and not wanting to remain defectively informed, I decided to “discover” the continent. This “discovery” has taken me to Libya, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Nigeria, Burundi, Rwanda, Senegal, Ethiopia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Benin, Tanzania, Togo, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya and Morocco, presenting conferences papers. During these visits I paid attention to the complex power structures, the autopoietic systems, the configuration of ethnicities, alienation, colonial borders, cross border migrations and pan-African proclivities. Cross-border migrations tend to pose challenges to the colonial borders, the nation-state, xenophobia, and genocide, but also trigger embryonic grassroots pan-Africanism, which I find enthralling. I have therefore been researching, publishing, teaching and supervising graduate theses in these areas.
As Core Researcher of the Ghana Country Project, as part of the IIAS-Mellon Program “Humanities across Borders: Asia and Africa in the World”, I am focusing the project agenda on memory practices, and would partner with communities to co-create knowledge on migration and grassroots pan-Africanism, past, contemporary and future. The Ghana project revisits and explores issues of memory, migration, deterritoriality, identity and new ways of pan-Africanism. The project would lead to co-creation of knowledge and the production of teaching materials based on new pedagogical frameworks.