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Roundtable discussion: Eastern African Studies in the Next Decade

last modified Sep 14, 2017 09:59 AM
Dr Sharath Srinivasan took part at a roundtable discussion hosted by the British Institute in Eastern Africa on September 11.

Opportunities and Challenges for an Evolving African Studies Journal 

• Nanjala Nyabola, Writer, Humanitarian Advocate and Political Analyst
• Godwin Siundu, Senior Lecturer, Department of Literature, University of Nairobi
• Sharath Srinivasan, Director, Africa’s Voices, Nairobi Director, Centre of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge
• Jason Mosley, Managing editor, Journal of Eastern African Studies

Looking back at its first 10 years, the editors have been happy to see that the Journal of Eastern African Studies has established itself as a major Area Studies journal. As our readership has broadened – in addition to our readers among the members of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, the Journal is now widely available through many library subscription bundles – we have climbed to the ranking of second among journals in African Studies, and 13/69 in Area Studies. We are pleased also at having cultivated a global audience, with readers in African, European, American and Asian institutions. Our submissions reflect a similarly diverse profile.

Our primary goal remains the same as it in 2007, when the journal’s founding editorial team stated in their opening editorial that the journal “aims to promote fresh scholarly enquiry on the region from within the humanities and the social sciences, and to encourage research that communicates across disciplinary boundaries.” The primary quality that we continue to pursue in our publication is original scholarship based on substantial empirical research, analyzed in ways that speak to contemporary scholarly debates.

Looking forward to the future, our energies will be devoted to refreshing and reorganizing our editorial and advisory boards, in pursuit of closer engagement with scholars based in Eastern Africa, as well as greater diversity of voices in terms of gender and the wider divisions between the global North and South. Like other area studies journals, we face challenges to broaden access in authorship and readership to the region – although we have been pleased that some of our articles have contributed to public debates. We hope for more opportunities to connect our scholarship to current public debates in the region, and globally, during the coming decade and beyond.

The roundtable will discuss the opportunities and challenges for JEAS and African Studies journals more broadly, as we move into our second decade.