The Ivorian Origins of the Ghana Studies Association

Elisa Prosperetti


This article situates the history of the Ghana Studies Association (GSA) in a regional frame. It argues that political dynamics in neighboring Côte d’Ivoire were central to the creation of the GSA’s predecessor, the Akan Studies Council (ASC). In the 1970s, Côte d’Ivoire experienced an upsurge in economic growth that mirrored Ghana’s success in prior decades. Ivorian intellectuals, buoyed by their country’s economic “miracle,” sought to link Ivorian good fortune to a shared Akan history. However, as Côte d’Ivoire’s prosperity receded, the impulse that had driven a transnational approach to Akan Studies became entangled with the xenophobic discourse of ivoirité. The Ghanaization of the ASC in the 1990s reflected the increasing divergence in the two countries’ trajectories, and the consequent reassertion of the nation-state as a key analytical category.

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