by Jean Allman
After a round of reshuffling, including efforts to put ourselves on a predictable annual schedule, the Ghana Studies Council has had an extremely promising and productive year. Our active membership is up 22% and our account balance now exceeds $2,200. Our last annual meeting (Orlando, November, 1995) had an attendance of forty-- up from twenty in 1994 and 1993). Above and beyond the numbers, the record is equally impressive. We seem to have stopped treading water and begun to move forward in some very exciting ways.
Thanks to the hard work of two of our members, Dan Mato (University of Calgary) and Emmanuel Akyeampong (Harvard University), the Council was able to sponsor two full panels for the 1995 ASA meeting. In what has become an increasingly competitive market, both of the GSC-sponsored panels were accepted by the meeting organizers. The two panels on Popular/Urban Cultures in Ghana included papers and comments by the following GSC members: Emmanuel Akyeampong (Harvard University), Joe Amoako (Ohio University), Robert Clark (University of Michigan), Roger Gocking (Mercy College), Donna Maier (University of Northern Iowa), Daniel Mato (University of Calgary), and David Owusu-Ansah (James Madison University). Both sessions were well-attended and included some very lively debate that extended well past the two-hour sessions.
The Council has proposed two panels for the upcoming African Studies Association in San Francisco. Both sessions are focused on "Law and Custom" and include participation by a diverse group of scholars from Ghana, North America and Europe, and respresenting a variety of discipllines. The Council will learn in late July whether or not those panels have been accepted by the 1996 meeting organizers.
In addition to organizing events around the yearly ASA meeting, the GSC has been involved in a number of projects. We were able to send $565 to the Historical Society of Ghana in December of last year to support the publication of the next issue of its journal, Transactions. This was the sum originally collected by the GSC as part of an emergency appeal two years ago. At the 1995 meeting, members voted to provide ongoing financial support to the journal, although no specific amount has yet been determined.
There has also been significant movement toward the development of a multidisciplinary journal, tentatively titled, Ghana Studies. David Henige (University of Wisconsin) originally proposed the idea of a Ghana Studies journal in GSC Newsletter #8. the journal, according to Henige's plan, would appear under the auspices of the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin. The idea was well-received by those attending the Orlando meeting and a committee was set up to investigate costs, editorial responsibilities and the nature of the relationship between the GSC and the University of Wisconsin in the endeavor. The committee will make a full report at the GSC meeting in San Francisco this November.
Finally, Larry Yarak (Texas A&M) has put together a web-site for the Ghana Studies Council. Yes, the GSC is now in cyberspace! Please see "Internet Update" on page 7 for additional information.
You will notice that the 1996 Newsletter looks a lot like last year's, with the important additions of the "Internet Update" and "Publications by GSC Members." Thank you to all members who provided updated information in their 1996 questionnaire for the section on recent publications. I'm sure that everyone will find it extremely useful.
And, finally, since we're on the subject of questionnaires, the 1997 GSC membership form/ questionnaire is at the back of this Newsletter. Please take a moment now to fill it out and send it in, along with your 1997 dues (where applicable). The information you provide will keep our membership lists updated and will allow us to include another publications list in 1997. Since the GSC has found a home in cyberspace, I have received a number of requests for information (for example, "Is there anyone working on an Akan dictionary?") and on several occasions I have been able to provide some useful information based on the databank of information your questionnaires produce. Here's how 1996-1997 looks for the GSC. Please mark your calendars:
June 1996 to Jan. 1997: 1997 questionnaires and dues collected
23-26 Nov. 1996: 1996 ASA meeting in San Francisco, CA. The GSC will hold its annual meeting during the conference. Please see the meeting bulletin (available in the fall) for the precise time.
1 Jan. 1997: Call for submissions for Newsletter 10. (Everyone is encouraged to submit items. Announcements, notes and queries and research updates are all welcome.)
1 April 1997: Deadline for submissions to Newsletter 10.