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Welcome to the African Studies Program!

The African Studies Program has long been recognized as one of the leading centers for the interdisciplinary study of Africa. We are committed to being one of the nation's leading programs for the interdisciplinary study of Africa. Our diverse research, teaching, and outreach activities promote greater understanding and appreciation of the continent and its people. We also promote the study of Africa in global perspective by cooperating with other area-studies programs, international centers, professional schools, and departments inside and outside Indiana University. All of our activities are conducted in accordance with our values stressing integrity, excellence, diversity, community, collaboration, and creativity.


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Program and Affiliate News

The State Department's Experience America program came to the campus of Indiana University Monday, May 7, and the African Studies Program received a surprise visit. Thank you, Her Excellency Njabuliso Gwebu, Ambassador from Swaziland to the United States, for dropping by to say, "Hello!" Pictured left to right: Marilyn Estep, ASP Administrative Coordinator; Dr. John Hanson, ASP Director; Ambassador Gwebu; Dr. Betty Dlamini, ASP Senior Lecturer; and Dr. Tavy Aherne, ASP Associate Director.

Congratulations, Dr. Vincent Bouchard, Assistant Professor of French and ASP affiliate faculty member! Vincent is a recipient of the College Arts and Humanities Institute (CAHI) Research Fellow award for his project The Film Commentator in West Africa: The Cook, the Interpreter, His Assistant, and Their Audience, which examines the conditions and reception of propaganda film screenings imposed by colonial institutions and compares them to current video projections by local NGOs in West Africa: particularly focusing on the role of the live commentator (bonimenteur).

The IU Department of Art History has received a $1.5 million gift which will support the study of African art at Indiana University-Bloomington. The anonymous donation establishes the Tanner-Opperman Chair in Honor of Roy Sieber who served as curator of African art for the Eskenazi Museum of Art for more than 30 years. Read the full story here.

Faculty, Student, Alumni, and Staff News

Congratulations, Samson Ndanyi, Ph. D. candidate, History, on his successful defense of his dissertation, "The Cinema is a Great Influence in the Life of the Modern Child": Instructional Cinema and Child Spectators in Colonial Kenya, 1926–1963. Samson has accepted a position at Rhodes College where he will teach Africa to 1800, Africa from 1800, Black Cinema, Black Protests, and Africana Studies during the 2018-2019 academic year. Samson also recently wrote an article, The tale of two presidents, for africasacountry.com.

We are saddened by the news of Bernard Woma's passing on April 27. Please see the rememberance by Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology Ruth M. Stone and Professor of Ethnomusicology Daniel Reed here.

Congratulations, Dr. Amadou Beidy Sow ! Dr. Sow is a recipient of the prestigious Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award which honors individuals who have a positive impact on learning through the direct teaching of students, especially undergraduates. He is seen here introducing students of his Bamana language course to the audience at the Spring 2017 African Languages Festival. Dr. Sow also was recently promoted to Senior Lecturer in the African Studies Program.

African Studies Program Senior Lecturer Dr. Betty Dlamini has been selected as a member of the Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) Class of 2018! She is one of 20 distinguished members who participated in this year’s retreat where all were inducted. Dr. Dlamini teaches IsiZulu language courses as well as culture classes such as Gumboot Dance: Beauty from Pain and Drama for Development. Congratulations, Dr. Dlamini, and thank you for your dedication to our students!

Congratulations, Meryem Ozel, on receiving the Palmer-Brandon Scholarship in the Humanities from the College of Arts and Sciences! Meryem is an undergraduate Art History student who is also pursuing an African Languages minor. Read more here.

Congratulations, African Languages Coordinator Alwiya Omar on receiving the 2018 A. Ronald Walton Award at the annual meeting of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages in April. The Walton Award is presented to an individual whose career has been distinguished by selfless service and noteworthy contributions to the fostering of less commonly taught language initiatives. This prestigious award was named after the late A. Ronald Walton whose tireless efforts on behalf of less commonly taught languages are remembered fondly by all who knew him. Pictured with Dr. Omar: National African Language Resource Center director Dr. Antonia Schleicher (left) and African Languages Teachers Association director Dr. Leonard Muaka (right).

Congratulations to our very own Wayne Parkinson for receiving the inaugural SGIS Outstanding Staff Award! As the ASP's Student Services Assistant, he was cited for his dedication to the program, going well beyond his job description to support ASP's students and faculty--constantly seeking out what he can do to make others’ jobs easier, or make a student feel comfortable and informed. He has initiated projects that have enabled ASP programs to reach a broader community, and has done professional training to increase his skills.

IU Almunus Alex Perullo (Ph. D., Folklore and Ethnomusicology, 2003) announces the release of Listen All Around: The Golden Age of Central and East African Music, a compact disc collection containing two discs, 47 songs, and an 84 page booklet documenting popular music from the region in the 1950s. In the collection you can hear artists experimenting with sounds from many parts of the world, including Cuban songs, Ghanaian highlife, and American country hits, as they forge new sounds in African popular music. Find out more at Dust to Digital.

Congratulations to Susan Kavaya, our most recent Master of Arts graduate! After completing a Master's internship project which explores participatory development practices at the community level in Kenya, Susan will continue with her studies at the doctoral level at Indiana University's School of Public Health in Applied Health Science with a minor in Health Behavior. She looks forward to expanding her knowledge, skills and practice in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, designing intervention programs and conducting research.

Alumna Donna A. Patterson (Ph. D. History), has a byline article published in The Washington Post, "The travel ban against Chad puts American security at risk".

The College of Arts and Sciences has awarded Khaled Esseissah, Ph. D. candidate in History, the COAS Dissertation Research Fellowship which helps advanced graduate students in the College make significant progress on their dissertations.

Victor Alabi, Ph. D. student in Linguistics and Yoruba instructor for the African Studies Program, has received a College of Arts and Sciences Travel Award. Victor presented "Musical Mobility: A Stylo-Semiotic Analysis of MZFM's The Broken Pitcher and the Prodigal Ones" and co-presented "Knowledge Production, Education and Development in Nigeria and Kenya" at the African Studies Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, November 16-18, 2017.

After completing a Master's thesis which explores the economic role and material agency of handmade batik textiles in Ghana, Molly Keogh has returned to Accra to resume running her clothing brand, Osei-Duro. She looks forward to expanding her practice to include teaching design, establishing an artists' residency, and new research.


Congratulations to our recent Ph. D. graduates! Fabienne Diouf, who also taught Wolof for ASP, completed her degree in Linguistics and African Linguistics. Carinna Friesen completed her degree in Folklore and Ethnomusicology with an African Studies minor. Best wishes on your next endeavors!

Alumna Jennifer Hart (Ph. D., History, 2011) has her book, "Ghana on the Go: African Mobility in the Age of Motor Transportation," on the short list for the Melville J. Herskovits Prize from the African Studies Association. Jennifer is an Assistant Professor of History at Wayne State University.

IU African Studies Program Alumnus Nate Plageman has won a 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) award for his research on state planning and urban life in western Ghana, 1900–1970. His project will be a book-length study of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana's first planned city, under both British and Ghanaian rule. Dr. Plageman is Associate Professor in the Department of History and Coordinator for the African Studies Minor at Wake Forest University.


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Upcoming Events ♦ Announcements

NOW AVAILABLE: Summer and Fall 2018 Course Lists

Open Fall Registration Now - August 26

Download Fall 2018 AFRI and cross listed courses here. The Fall 2018 list will be continuously updated through August so please check back frequently for latest listing.


Recent Events

ASP Senior Lecturer Dr. Betty Dlamini performs two songs at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Books & Beyond service-learning project. Betty wrote one song, Books and Beyond Celebration, specifically for the event. Books & Beyond is a collaborative service-learning project that connects the Kabwende Primary School (Kinigi, Rwanda), Indiana University’s Global Village Living-Learning Center, and The Project School and Harmony School in Bloomington, IN.

Thank you to all who attended and participated in the Spring 2018 African Languages Festival on April 6. We look forward to another festival in Fall 2018. If you would like to participate, be sure to sign up for one of our six languages in Fall 2018! Pictured: Simon Munyaneza and Zawadi Rowe, 4th year Swahili. See more pictures on our Facebook page.

Thank you to Dr. Fallou Ngom for presenting the keynote address at the 8th Annual Graduate Students in African Studies Symposium on 3/24. Pictured left to right: GSAS President Kehinde Ligali, Dr. Ngom, Vice President Susan Kavaya, Faculty and Student Liaison Victor Alabi, Symposium Coordinator Zawadi Rowe, and Treasurer Avenel Rolfsen. See more pictures on our Facebook page.

Composer and musical instrument designer Victor Gama introduced the Indiana University and Bloomington communities to his world vision through film and music. Here, Victor plays the toha, one of two instruments of his creation on stage at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre.

Victor was also our guest at the final Friday Colloquium of Spring 2018 to discuss two recent projects: TSIKAYA - MÚSICOS DO INTERIOR and 3thousandRIVERS voices in the forest. View more pictures on our Facebook page.


Senior Lecturer Betty Dlamini presents Her Voice Matters: Learn through her films at the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology Summit on 3/23, held at the Indiana Memorial Union.




Emmanuel Urey (ABD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) speaks about Liberian land rights issues as David McDonald (IU Dept. of Folklore and Ethnomusicology) and Gregg Mitman (Professor of History of Science, Medical History, and Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison) look on during the People and Places roundtable, 3/7/2018. View more pictures on our Facebook page.

Cathryn Johnson presents “French Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Associational Life: Women’s Participation in Community Life and Local Government in Mali and Burkina Faso” at the March 2nd Friday Colloquium.



Thank you to all who attended the African Music and Dance Bonanza! A fun time for all--proverbs, riddles, music, singing, and dancing. See more pictures on our Facebook page and watch for news about the African Languages Festival coming up in April!


African Studies Program M.A. graduate and MPH student Susan Kavaya shares her experiences working with a development project focused on fighting drug and substance abuse in Kenya during her presentation at The Friday Colloquium.


Indiana University Professor of Political Science Lauren MacLean presents “Climate Change and Energy Poverty in New Democracies: Explaining Citizen Response to the Electricity Crisis in Ghana” at the African Studies Program Friday Colloquium on February 9, 2018