Liberian Studies Association Calls for Articles

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

December 17, 2002

“Liberian Culture and State Building Processes and Institutions: What Do we Really Know?"
Liberian Studies Journal Volume 28, 2003 No. 2
(Deadline for articles: August 31, 2003)

For Manuscript Submission Contact:
Al-Hassan Conteh
Editor, Liberian Studies Journal
Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict
University of Pennsylvania
St. Leonard’s Court, Suite 305
3819-33 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, Pa 19104
Tel: (215) 573-0656
Fax: (215) 573-0653

Some Issues and Questions:

The relationship between Liberian culture and the development of the Liberian state was an often-repeated issue in many discussions at the 34th Annual Meeting of the Liberian Studies Association last spring in Philadelphia. There was the feeling among many speakers, and perhaps rightly so, that this relationship should be revisited because earlier studies were deemed inadequate in comprehending the antecedent and proximate causes of the Liberian civil war and the new imperatives in preparing for peace and building a Liberian nation-state, which might have been an"imagined community." This concern is borne out by many recent studies on Liberia, which address the relationship between state culture and ethnicity, ethnonationalism in Liberian education, the conflict and peace processes in the Mano River sub-region, the role of religion in conflict mediation, and the value of contingency versus theoretical analysis of conflicts. In this context, many research questions emerge whose answers can fill knowledge gaps in the search for sustainable solutions to the problems that this relationship invoke. Some of the questions include:

· What can we learn from the history of pre-Liberia (up to 1820), and from the history of Liberia between 1821 and the present?

· Why does the Americo-Liberian and Native divide still persist in Liberian discourse, and how can it be transformed to a common national identity?

· Can a common Liberian, national identity solve the problems of postwar reconciliation? Why or why not? How?

· What’s the role of national symbols?

· Was indigenous culture less integrated into state formation than emigrant (i.e., settler) culture? Why or why not?

· What lessons can we learn from Liberian oral histories?

· How can we address the dualisms between customary and statutory laws and their many ramifications for post-war state formation and related issues?

· How might dialogue among ethnicities be nourished to attain peace and political stability?

· What lessons can we learn from material and non-material cultures?

· What are the roles of religion and medicine (including ATR and traditional medicine)?

· Where did the cult of the presidency originate? Is this an elaboration of the chieftaincy system? What lessons from this latter system would be otherwise helpful in strengthening democracy and participatory governance in post-war Liberia?

· What does the Liberian Constitution mean by"positive Liberian culture?" Is the Constitution sufficiently sensitive to cultural issues? Why or why not?

· Has"Western" scholarship been a bone or bane to understanding the relationship between Liberian culture and the development of the Liberian state?

· What trade-offs should be considered between globalization and localization in peace building and post-war reconstruction?

· What has been done in the field of Liberian archaeology and why and how should these efforts be rekindled to get a fuller picture of Liberian history and development?

The Liberian Studies Journal is dedicated to the publication of original research on social, political, economic, scientific, and other issues about Liberia or with implications for Liberia. Opinions of contributors to the Journal do not necessarily reflect the policy of the organizations they represent or the Liberian Studies Association, publishers of the Journal.

Manuscript Requirements

Manuscripts submitted for publication should not exceed 25 typewritten, double-spaced pages, with margins of one-and-a-half inches. The page limit includes graphs, references, tables and appendices. Authors may, in addition to their manuscripts, submit a computer disk of their work preferably in MS Word 2000 or WordPerfect 6.1 for Windows. Notes and references should be placed at the end of the text with headings, e.g., Notes; References. Notes, if any, should precede the references. The Journal is published in June and December. Deadline for the first issue is February, and for the second, August.

Manuscripts should include a cover page that provides the title of the text, author’s name, address, phone number, and affiliation. Anonymous referees will review all works.

Manuscripts are accepted in English and French.

Manuscripts must conform to the editorial style of either the Chicago Manual of Style, or The American Psychological Association (APA), or Modern Language Association (MLA).

The Liberian Studies Association is a non-profit, scholarly organization created to provide a means for effective cooperation among persons interested in furthering research in all scholarly disciplines, including the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, on topics relevant to the Republic of Liberia and adjacent areas; to publish and otherwise disseminate the results of such research; to cooperate with scholarly organizations, and cultural, scientific, and educational institutions, nationally and internationally, having mutual interests in the exchange and presentation of information and ideas resulting from research in the subject field; to encourage interest in Liberian affairs; and to stimulate and facilitate academic contacts and educational exchanges between Liberia and the United States. The Liberian Studies Association produces the Liberian Studies Journal, which is published bi-annually in June and December. It is the second oldest African studies journal published continuously in the United States. The Liberian Studies Journal is currently produced at the University of Pennsylvania. The headquarters of the LSA is at Fayetteville State University. Individuals wishing to publish their articles in the Liberian Studies Journal and join the LSA should please click on the following link for LSA membership and other information:

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Atlanta, GA 31145