[Mansa-l] Some suggestions

Johnson, John W johnsonj at indiana.edu
Thu Dec 4 17:30:43 CST 2008

As a founding member of ManSa, I fully support all these suggestions. 
Is there a way to change our constitution via e-mail voting? This could 
be put into practice after sufficient e-mail debate and before our next 
election two years hence.

John Johnson

Quoting Martin Klein <martin.klein at utoronto.ca>:

> Dear colleagues,
> I would like to congratulate Kassim and Barbara on their election. I
> would also like make some suggestions about process. David Conrad has
> functioned brilliantly for 22 years as a democratically elected
> monarch. We all appreciate his devoted leadership. Nevertheless, when
> a king yields to a republican form of government, we have to ask what
> rules we want. The present rules are inadequate.
> First, there should be a secret ballot. To vote, I had to write three
> members of the electoral committee, all of whom know how I voted.
> Second, there should be an automatic succession from vice-president
> to president. There should be an election every two years for
> vice-president. The vice-president should then automatically succeed
> to the presidency. Power in academic organizations is evanescent.
> Whatever program the candidate has, it is over before he or she can
> do anything. The automatic success guarantees that the incoming
> president is experienced and that there is an orderly process of
> succession. This is how most academic organizations function.
> Third, there is a problem of our different constituencies. We consist
> of three groups. Mansa sometimes functions as an American
> organization. It meets annually at the ASA meeting and Americans
> dominate the planning for our international meetings. The second
> group is European. Some attend the ASA and many attend our
> international meetings. There should be someone, perhaps Jan, who can
> coordinate events within Europe. Are there Mansa panels at the Aegis
> meeting? Two years ago, I heard Petr Skolnik plead with Russian
> colleagues at a Moscow conference to get involved with Aegis.
> Perhaps, European members of Mansa should do likewise. Maybe, they
> should have an information network on events in Europe dealing with
> Mande history and culture. The third constituency is those who come
> from the areas we study. We all know the problems they have funding
> research and travel, but there are organizations and meetings within
> Africa. Perhaps, through WARA or CODESRIA, they can become a more
> autonomous group functioning within the MAnde homelands. This relates
> to a larger question that should be of concern to all of us, that
> agendas within all scholarly disciplines are determined by people
> outside Africa. We have tried to facilitate participation by our
> African brethren in our international meetings, but this is probably
> not enough. There are organizations that can articulate African
> agendas. The recognition of a group within Mansa could contribute to
> that goal.
> These ideas are to stimulate discussion. I hope that others pick up on them.
> Martin Klein
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