[Mansa-l] Candidate's Statement #1

David Conrad basitigi at sbcglobal.net
Mon Oct 13 16:36:13 CDT 2008

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Jansen, Jan" <JANSENJ at FSW.leidenuniv.nl>
> Date: September 24, 2008 1:22:32 AM PDT
> To: "David Conrad" <basitigi at sbcglobal.net>
> Cc: "Barbara Wechsberg" <barbmuso at sbcglobal.net>
> dear david
> below (and also in the attachment) you find my statement of candidacy.
> jan j
> Jan Jansen
> MANSA is a flourishing organization whose members form a network of  
> people with an academic background who like to share their  
> knowledge with others and who strive to be helpful to those in less  
> established positions, such as many scholars from (West-)Africa and  
> students with interests in the Mande World, in Africa and beyond.  
> The first and main task of a MANSA president is to support this  
> network and these practices. My primary goal as a MANSA president  
> would therefore be a continuation of the current state of affairs.  
> MANSA’s achievements are linked to David Conrad’s personal  
> efforts and stamina to such an extent, that his successor should  
> first get a grip on his heritage; the attitude of an apprentice is  
> required! Thus, most of my energy would be dedicated to supporting  
> communication among MANSA members and close collaboration with the  
> treasurer/secretary and vice-president so as to keep all our  
> members in the organization – quite a challenge for a group of  
> permanently moving and migrating independent minds! The main tools  
> available for a MANSA president to assure the organization’s  
> continued success are: a website and a list; international  
> conferences (every three years); the journal Mande Studies; and  
> panels at the ASA.
> I believe that I am in a good position to know what MANSA members  
> share, think, and wish. I have been a member since MANSA’s I was  
> an MA student, and I have many strong and long-lasting  
> relationships with MANSA members. These are in good part the result  
> of my activities on behalf of the organization. In 1995 and 2002 I  
> co-organized Mande Studies International Conferences in Leiden, and  
> I attended those in Bamako (1993), Banjul (1997), and Lisbon  
> (2008); in Spring 2005 our third son had just been born, hence my  
> absence from Conakry-Kankan. Moreover, I have attended the ASA  
> meetings annually since 1996 (except 1999 and 2004) and therefore  
> MANSA’s annual meeting. I co-organized several MANSA sponsored  
> panels at the ASA, and was guest editor of two issues of Mande  
> Studies. In addition, I am a co-editor of the series Mande Worlds  
> (published by Lit Verlag, Münster), and African Sources for African  
> History (published by Brill, Leiden/Boston). Moreover, I have some  
> experiences with organizations for academics, since I hold  - since  
> 2002 - the office of secretary in the Netherlands Association for  
> Anthropologists.
> My institutional affiliation is also fortunate for involvement in  
> Mande studies. I am a tenured Lecturer in the Department of  
> Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden  
> University, where there is a well-established concern for the Mande  
> world. Our Department closely collaborates with the Leiden African  
> Studies Center (the only one in the Netherlands) as well as the  
> local National Museum of Ethnology (RMV). The ASC and the RMV  
> generously sponsored the 1995 and 2002 MANSA conferences. As a  
> supervisor of MA students in Anthropology, I visit Mali and The  
> Gambia every year.
> My degrees include MA’s in Medieval History and Cultural  
> Anthropology from the University of Utrecht as well as a PhD from  
> Leiden (1995) based upon a study of Kela griots. I have published  
> ethnographic accounts, historical studies and co-authored several  
> bi-lingual text editions. My scholarly interests (Mande oral  
> traditions, fieldwork in the ‘Mande heartland’) are  
> interdisciplinary and this has brought me into contact with a wide  
> range of Mande specialists. My future research (together with  
> Brahima Camara), on ‘memories of gold’, will make me visit both  
> Mali and Guinea on a regular base.
> Fieldwork in Mande has been very rewarding for me, both as a  
> scholar and a human being. From MANSA I have gained friendship,  
> knowledge, and organizational experience. I would be honored to  
> repay some of this debt by a good performance as a MANSA president.
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