AASR President, Elias Bongmba, is new the Executive Editor of The Journal of Religion in Africa.

The Journal of Religion in Africa invites you to consider serving as a reviewer of manuscripts that have been submitted to the journal. The peer review process remains the core of our intellectual practice and we would greatly appreciate it you take the time to review submissions. If you are interested in occasionally reviewing submissions, send a message to Elias Bongmba, Executive Editor bongmba@rice.edu or to Diana Bell at bell.dianna@gmail.com.

Nomination of New AASR Executive

Dear AASR members,

At the business meeting during the AASR conference in Lusaka in 2018, we were appointed in the committee with the task of nominating candidates for the new Executive, to be elected in 2020. Following our appointment, we have taken the following steps:
• First, we have consulted with the current members of the Executive – Professor Elias Bongmba, Dr Damaris Parsitau, Dr Abel Ugba, and Dr Corey Williams – who each are eligible to serve for another term. We checked with them whether they are available to be part of the new Executive. The outcome of this process was that Dr Parsitau is available for a second term, in the same or in a different office; Dr Ugba is available for a third term, in a different office; Dr Williams and Prof Bongmba are not available for another term.
• Second, as recommended by the AASR Constitution, we have consulted the AASR membership, in an email dated 17 July 2019. We solicited nominations for each of the four offices in the Executive: President, Vice President, General Secretary, and Treasurer. The deadline for this passed on 31 August 2019.
• Third, we have internally considered the various nominations we received and have consulted those who were nominated, to check whether they are available to serve on the Executive.
Following this process, as a Committee we have unanimously decided to put forward the following nominations:
• Office of President: Dr Damaris Parsitau
• Office of Vice President: Dr Abel Ugba
• Office of General Secretary: Dr Nathanael Homewood
• Office of Treasurer: Dr Sara Fretheim
We believe that this Executive makes a strong team of highly qualified members who have demonstrated a great commitment to our Association. With two continuing members, and two newly incoming members, this Executive also has the right balance between continuity and renewal. It preserves the existing knowledge regarding the Association while bringing in fresh ideas and energy.

Following the advice from some members, as a nomination committee we recommend the newly elected Executive to create the additional office of Membership Officer and to appoint someone in that role.

Elections for the new Executive were initially scheduled to take place at the AASR conference in Senegal, 29 July–1 August 2020. However, with the conference being postponed till 2021, elections are now scheduled to take place at the IAHR quinquennial World Congress in New Zealand (23-29 August, 2020). Prior to the conference, an online vote will be opened and

* We remind you of the constitutional right of AASR members to nominate counter-candidates for particular offices until one month before the elections. The deadline for this is 22 July 2020. Counter-nominations must be send electronically to the AASR General Secretary, Dr Corey Williams. Each counter-nomination must be supported by electronic mail by at least three AASR members. They must also have ascertained that their nominee is willing to serve in the office for which they nominate her or him.

If we do receive counter-nominations by 22 July 2020, members who cannot attend the IAHR congress will be given an opportunity to cast their vote online or postal. Communication about this will be send out shortly after the closing date.

If we do not receive any counter-nominations, no online/postal vote opportunity will be given; the vote at the IAHR congress will serve to affirm the above nomination.

In case the above raises any questions or concerns, please do contact the co-chairs of the nomination committee.


Professor Njoki Wane
Professor Adriaan van Klinken

Dr Rose Mary Amenga-Etego
Dr Chammah Kaunda
Professor Danoye Oguntola-Laguda

Senegal Conference Update

As previously announced, the 9th AASR conference in Dakar, Senegal was originally scheduled for 29 July – 1 August 2020. However, with respect for the holy festival of Eid al-Adha, we made the decision to move the dates of the conference. We had hoped to reschedule sometime during Summer 2020, or even January 2021, but this has proved too challenging given a variety of scheduling conflicts. The AASR International Council, which is made up of the Executive Committee, as well as national and regional leaders of the AASR, has therefore made the decision to reschedule the conference to be held in the Summer of 2021.

In the first instance, we will attempt to work with CODESRIA on holding the conference in Dakar, Senegal, using the agreed upon theme: ‘Religions, Governance, and Social Transformations in Africa and the African Diaspora’. However, if this cooperation proves to be unworkable for Summer 2021, we would also request your support to explore other partners and locations. We could then take up the cooperation with CODESRIA at a future AASR conference.

It is important to keep two things in mind with this change of plans. First, is that constitutionally, we have a mandate to two hold conferences in Africa every 5 years. Given that we held our last conference in 2018, we are not behind schedule. Secondly, the elections of AASR officers will proceed as scheduled in 2020, and we will announce the results of the votes during the IAHR Congress that will take place in New Zealand. Handing over the Association’s responsibilities to the new executive will take place at that time. The recent revision to the Constitution allows for casting an online ballot, so if there are counter nominations all AASR members will be able to participate regardless of whether or not they are attending the Congress. See below for a detailed description of this procedure.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Elias Kifon Bongmba
President AASR

Professor Rosalind I.J. Hackett Honoured

Professor Rosalind I.J. Hackett installed Honorary Chief of Erinmoland in Nigeria

By Elias Kifon Bongmba

Professor Hackett

Photo credits: Brent Belnap

The African Association for the Study of Religion congratulates Professor Rosalind I.J. Hackett, University of Tennessee Chancellor’s Professor and Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and Religious Studies, for receiving an Honorary Chieftaincy in Nigeria. The Honorary Chieftaincy was bestowed by His Royal Majesty Oba (Dr) Michael Odunayo Ajayi when he celebrated the fifth anniversary of his coronation as the Elerinmo of Erinmoland, on August 9-10, 2019. At the ceremony of investiture and the celebrations that followed, Hackett and other honorees received the insignia and formal wear befitting their chieftaincy status. She was granted the title of “Yeye Meye of Erinmoland” (Mother who knows our ways).

Hackett was honored for her research and the work she has done for the African Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ACLARS) for nearly a decade. Hackett is a founding member of ACLARS and serves on its board, as well as playing an active role in planning the highly successful ACLARS conferences in Africa. These annual conferences have created a vibrant forum for African scholars of various disciplines to address critical contemporary issues at the intersection of law, human rights, and religion.

Hackett was pleasantly surprised by this honor and told her colleagues at the University of Tennessee: “It comes at a time in my career when I was taking stock of all the research, teaching, mentoring, and conference planning I have conducted in Africa and beyond over the years. It’s a delight to get this recognition.” Starting from her undergraduate student days in the United Kingdom, Hackett has maintained an abiding presence in Nigeria with more than nine years of research and teaching, making Nigeria her second home. Hackett has done research in more than twelve African countries, spending the most time in Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, and Ghana. Hackett’s interdisciplinary research has focused on cutting edge issues on African and Indigenous Religions, New Religious Movements, Religion and Art, Conflict and Peace, Religion and Gender, and Religion and Human Rights. Drawing theoretical insights from anthropology, sociology, religious studies methodologies, Hackett has studied and published well-received books and essays on religion and the media, religion and sound, and the growing influence of Pentecostalism in Africa.

Many scholars of Africa and the majority world know Hackett as the person to turn as a mentor in scholarship and the many ways of understanding and interpreting the human condition. Hackett’s work in Northern Uganda built international collaborations that brought together artists and musicians through the Jazz for Justice project. Hackett has served on numerous committees and editorial boards of scholarly journals boards around the world. She is a Past President and Honorary Life Member of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR). She currently serves as Vice-President of the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH). As members of the African Association for the Study of Religions, we proudly say Hail to the Chief!

Professor Hackett with His Royal Majesty Oba (Dr) Michael Odunayo Ajayi and other honorees, Professor W. Cole Durham Jr. of Brigham Young University and Professor Mark Hill, Queen’s Counsel, of Cardiff University in Wales.

Photo Credits Brent Belnap

Credit: Additional information from Brian Canever, and Addie Morton of the University of Tennessee. https://news.utk.edu/2019/09/16/hackett-receives-honorary-chieftaincy-in-nigeria/

IAHR e-Bulletin Supplement Feb 2019

AASR colleagues, please note the following communication from IAHR Acting Secretary General, Satoko Fujiwara regarding  the IAHR e-Bulletin Supplement. We’re especially delighted to note that one of our AASR founding members, Professor Gerrie ter Haar (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), has been honoured with an IAHR Honorary Lifetime Membership! Congratulations, Gerrie! Check the bulletin for further details.
Dear Colleagues,
[…] I am pleased to send you the IAHR e-Bulletin Supplement, February 2019 with the latest news. It includes the “Minutes of the IAHR International Committee Meeting, Bern, Switzerland, June 19, 2018,” information on the upcoming IAHR World Congress and Conferences, a call for suggestions as to matters to be discussed for the future of the IAHR, and some more important announcements and reports. […] The file is available at the IAHR website.  It is very important for the well-functioning of the IAHR that not only you but also all individual members of your organization are continuously being informed and updated on the IAHR.
Sincerely yours,
Satoko Fujiwara, IAHR Acting Secretary General, Tokyo, February 5, 2019.



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