The Faculty of Arts of the University of Ghana has organized its 11th Annual Colloquium under the theme, “From Theory to Practice: Insights from the Humanities”.
Professor Ama Ata Aidoo
Delivering the keynote address on the topic, “Clapping with One Hand, or Fundamentally Flawed Management of Post-Colonial African Spaces”, Professor Ama Ata Aidoo, a world-acclaimed novelist, poet, dramatist and critic, used the analogy of clapping with one hand to explain gender disparities especially against women in the area of management in national and other public spaces.
Professor Ama Ata Aidoo, who is currently the Executive Director of Mbaasem, a foundation that promotes the work of Ghanaian and African women writers, described as disturbing the role that women have been relegated to play in terms of governance. She was of the view that women are normally called upon only to discuss issues specifically on women and children and not the real developmental issues facing the country. Consequently, she called on all stakeholders to treat women as an adult responsible group in society.
The renowned writer noted that the non-genderised nature of some local languages in particular and other African languages generally brings out the issue of global gender discrimination. She concluded that since clapping with one hand is impossible, women should fight to portray themselves as sufficiently qualified to fit such spaces of decision making for the state.
Professor Ernest Aryeetey
In brief remarks, the Chairman for the occasion and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, underscored the important role of the Humanities in the quest for new knowledge. He was hopeful that the topics and themes to be addressed would reflect the changes of the new University of Ghana in terms of research. He challenged the African into making the rest of the world part of the African culture by exploring new ways of retaining their uniqueness whilst positioning themselves to respond to new threats in the global environment as well as solving international problems. He assured the Faculty that the University would continue to support the Creative Arts to maintain its position as an important part of the University.
Professor Cephas Omenyo
Earlier, the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Cephas Omenyo, in his welcome address, paid glowing tribute to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic and Student Affairs, Professor Kweku Osam, for his vision, leading to the publication of papers from the Colloquium series. He said the two-day colloquium was significant because it provided a platform for serious discourse among individuals in the Arts. He added that it would serve as a tool to respond to real-world phenomena and situations that may arise in the future.
Professor Omenyo was particularly elated about the number of senior members and graduate students who were presenting papers at the Colloquium and encouraged them to keep up the good work.
Professor Kweku Osam
The second part of the ceremony saw the launch of a book of selected papers from the 2011 Colloquium. The 255-page book titled “The One in the Many: Nation Building through Cultural Diversity” was reviewed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Students Affairs, Professor Kweku Osam.
The book was jointly edited by Professor Helen Lauer of the Department of Philosophy and Classics, Professor Nana Aba Amfo of the Department of Linguistics and Dr Joana Boampong, Spanish Section of the Department of Modern Languages. It contains papers from Dance studies, Language, Linguistics and Literature, Music and Theatre Arts.
The Colloquium series was characterised by a plenary presentation by Professor Martha Frederiks, Head of Department, Religious Studies and Theology, Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University in the Netherlands, on the topic, “The Humanities: From Theory to Praxis”, parallel presentations and an exhibition of Faculty publications.