Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا


INTRODUCTION TO CODESRIA’S NEWSLETTER

Ebrima Sall
Executive Secretary

Welcome to the first issue of the CODESRIA Newsletter that aims to be a source of regular information about the work of CODESRIA and its partners. It will also seek to stimulate discussion around the most important issues facing the continent of Africa. These are functions that CODESRIA Bulletin and its predecessor, Africana, have been serving for more than three decades.

However, social realities are evolving rapidly and in increasingly complex ways. Today, with the information and communications revolutions that the Internet has taken to levels that were almost unimaginable a few decades ago, the need for scholarly perspectives and critical analyses that go beyond what newspapers, radio and TV reports usually provide has become critical. Having to wait for the publication of an issue of a quarterly bulletin or a journal in order to be informed about the activities of CODESRIA, or to get the perspectives of scholars on certain burning issues of the day seems to be too long a time to wait. The proliferation of websites and newsletters (electronic and print) aimed at giving scholarly and critical perspectives on current events is an indication of how many institutions are trying to respond.

Number of visits: 849

Welcome to the first issue of the CODESRIA Newsletter that aims to be a source of regular information about the work of CODESRIA and its partners. It will also seek to stimulate discussion around the most important issues facing the continent of Africa. These are functions that CODESRIA Bulletin and its predecessor, Africana, have been serving for more than three decades.

However, social realities are evolving rapidly and in increasingly complex ways. Today, with the information and communications revolutions that the Internet has taken to levels that were almost unimaginable a few decades ago, the need for scholarly perspectives and critical analyses that go beyond what newspapers, radio and TV reports usually provide has become critical. Having to wait for the publication of an issue of a quarterly bulletin or a journal in order to be informed about the activities of CODESRIA, or to get the perspectives of scholars on certain burning issues of the day seems to be too long a time to wait. The proliferation of websites and newsletters (electronic and print) aimed at giving scholarly and critical perspectives on current events is an indication of how many institutions are trying to respond.

CODESRIA is often called upon, and sometimes even challenged, to comment upon particular events and situations. We are often called upon to provide perspectives of intellectuals, especially from Africa, on current affairs and developments on the continent. These could be about almost everything from the crises in Mali, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the evolution the ‘Arab Spring’, piracy along the coasts of Africa, the relations between the International Criminal Court and Africa, land grabbing, the BRICS, climate change, and Agenda 2063 of the African Union etc. That is a legitimate demand. The Kampala Declaration on Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility called on scholars to share their reflections and bring perspectives from rigorously done research on the issues that society is trying to address. There is thus a need for vehicles and platforms where scholars can play such a role.

This newsletter will be a place where scholars, policy and decision makers, activists and other change agents can share their perspectives and engage in debates. It will be a place where you can keep abreast of reports and analysis produced by the CODESRIA network.

This newsletter is a complement to our other publications, especially to the CODESRIA Bulletin, which will remain a forum for scholarly and policy debates, and for exploring issues that may later be taken up in more substantive academic journal articles published by CODESRIA in, for example, Africa Development, the African Sociological Review, the Journal of Higher Education in Africa, or in other African journals. While the newsletter will be published more frequently than is usually possible with academic journals and bulletins, we will nevertheless ensure quality through the establishment of peer review mechanisms. This will help in minimizing the risks of publishing feature articles that do not meet scholarly standards or cannot pass the test of originality.

We welcome contributions to this newsletter which should be sent to editor.news@codesria.sn. Make this your newsletter. We will aim to publishing this newsletter initially monthly, with a view to increasing its frequency in due course.

In the future, we hope to be able to publish the newsletters in all the main working languages of CODESRIA. For now, we do not have the human and financial resources to do that (if you would like to help, e.g. with funds, or translation, or the production work, please get in touch with us). However, we hope that we will be able to provide text in both French and English very soon. In the meantime, we hope that you will make use of automatic translators that are available on the internet to get some sense of the ideas in articles published in languages in which you may not be fluent.

Bonne lecture!

STOP PRESS

As we go to press, we learned of the sad passing of Nelson Mandela. On behalf of the Executive Committee of CODESRIA, its membership, and the social science community at large, we express our deep condolences. We pay tribute to Mandela’s outstanding contribution to Africa’s liberation in this first issue of CODESRIA Newsletter.

December 6 2013



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