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Alumni

Ebenezer Ayesu

Ebenezer Ayesu '11

Ebenezer Ayesu holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialization in African History. His dissertation was entitled Tradition and Change in the History of Akuapem (Ghana) Chieftaincy During British Colonial Rule, 1900-1957. He is working as a Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon; and also as Visiting Faculty, Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Ayesu's projects and research interests include African tradition Festivals and Royal Funerals; Afro-Brazilians activities in West Africa; Biographies; Chieftaincy, Church, Family and State Relations; Youth, Unemployment and Superstition;European Activities in West Africa in the 18th and 19th Centuries;African Diaspora. He also designs African clothing, including the shirt in his image.


Roger Beck

Roger Beck '87

Roger Beck holds a Ph.D. in African History. His dissertation focused on "The Legalization and Development of Trade on the Cape Frontier, 1817-1830." Dr. Beck has been at Eastern Illinois University since 1987 where he is Distinguished Professor of African and World History. His current projects include the recent 9th edition of A History of World Societies (co-authors: McKay, Hill, Buckler, Ebrey, Beck, Wiesner-Hanks, Crowston); editing a four volume Encyclopedia of World History Documents to be published by Facts on File; and a two volume History of Africa to be published by Cengage.


James Bellis

James O. Bellis '72

James O. Bellis holds a B.A. (History, Geography) as well as a M.A and Ph.D. in Anthropology. His dissertation was a case study of Archaeology and the Culture History of the Akan of Ghana. Dr. Bellis is Emeritus Faculty from the University of Notre Dame, but during his teaching tenure (1970-2007), he was very active in the Department of Anthropology. His reasearch interests include Iron Age and Historical Archaeology in West Africa, -Archaeology and Art History in West Africa, Archaeology of the United States, primarily eastern woodlands, Archaeology Method and Theory, Anthropology and Archaeology in Public and Continuing Adult Education, and The Anthropology of Art.


Sara Boulanger

Sara Boulanger '09

Sara Boulanger holds a M.A. in History. Her research interests include the physiological, psychological, and social effects of WWII on Kenyan soldiers and their families, which was the topic of her final seminar paper. Sara is currently the Coordinator of International Student Services at Mohawk Valley Community College, one of the 64 State University of New York (SUNY) campuses.




Virginia Bunker

Virginia Bunker '10

Virginia Bunker holds a M.A. in African Studies. Her thesis was entitled "Global and Political Dynamics of Sport Development in Ghana." Her research interests include sport development, Islamic and Christian movements, democratization and private sector development in Africa. During her internship in the Africa Department at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) she contributed several posts to the CIPE Development Blog. She continues to blog for CIPE.



Lisa Cliggett

Lisa Cliggett '97

Lisa Cliggett completed her Ph.D. in Anthropology with a dissertation entitled, "My Mother's Keeper: Changing Family Support Systems for the Elderly in the Gwembe Valley, Zambia." Presently, she is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Cliggett is working on three projects: Migration and Environmental Change in a Zambian Frontier; Migration, Food Security and Livelihood Change (Zambia); andStrategies of Data Archiving for Cultural Anthropology using Gwembe Tonga Research Project (GTRP) Data.


Katherine Demuth

Katherine Demuth '83

Katherine Demuth completed her Ph.D. in Linguistics with a dissertation entitled, "The Acquisition of Sesotho". She is a Professor in Linguistics and at the Centre for Language Sciences (CLaS) at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia), and a Director of the Child Language Lab. Current projects include Bantu morphosyntax and child language aquisition.



Bill Dewey

William Dewey '91

William (Bill) Dewey completed his Ph.D. in African Art History through the Department of the History of Art, as well as minors in Modern Art History and African Studies. His doctoral dissertation was "Pleasing the Ancestors: The Traditional Art of the Shona People of Zimbabwe." Dr. Dewey teaches courses in African, African Diaspora, and Oceanic art. Before coming to Penn State in 2010, he taught at the University of Tennessee. His research interests center on the arts of southern and eastern Africa, African iron arts and iron smelting, and the arts of the African Diaspora in India and Ecuador. He has curated and written the accompanying catalogues for exhibitions such as Africa Celebrates the Art of Living at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in 2006; "The World Moves – We Follow: Celebrating African Art" at the Frank H. McClung Museum of the University of Tennessee in 2003; Legacies of Stone, Zimbabwe: Past and Present at the Musée Royal de L'Afrique Centrale in Tervuren, Belgium, in 1997; and Sleeping Beauties: The Jerome L. Joss Collection of Headrests at UCLA's Fowler Museum of Cultural History in 1993. The latter exhibition was shown at the Palmer Museum of Art in 1995. Recent articles and chapters include "Blacksmiths and Kings and Their Work in Iron," for the Taipei National Museum of History's exhibition, Fatal Beauty: Traditional Weapons of Central Africa (2009), and "Zimbabwe" in the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion (2010). He recently returned from a Fulbright Fellowship working with the National Museum of Swaziland, and he has just completed service as the past-president of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association of America. He is currently working on an exhibition titled Striking Iron! The Art of African Blacksmiths, which he will curate for the Fowler Museum at UCLA. The estimated opening for the exhibition is 2014 or 2015 and other venues planned include the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art and The Museum for African Art in New York City.



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Summer (Tritt) Durrant '11

Summer Durrant holds a M.A. in African Studies and a MLS from the School of Library and Information Science ('09). Her researach interests include digital libraries in sub-Saharan Africa and the history of libraries in Ghana. She is currently an Assistant Librarian (Economics and Government Information) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Library.


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Emily Frank '06

Emily Frank holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a dissertation focus on the impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia was having on inheritance practices and the rights of widowhood in Southern Province, Zambia. She currently holds two positions: the first as a Research Associate with the Department of Anthropology at IU which allows her to continue to pursue research in Southern Africa on the social impacts of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the subsequent international interventions that arise in efforts to manage it. The second position is as a full time Senior Strategist at InSync, a global business research and consulting firm located in Toronto. The firm specializes in understanding how patients experience illness, particularly chronic illness, such to help the healthcare industry better address patient needs and enhance health outcomes.


Suzanne Gott

Suzanne Gott '94, '02

Suzanne Gott holds a Ph.D. from the Departent of Folklore that was earned in 1994 with her dissertation entitled In Celebration of the Female: Dress, Aesthetics, Performance, and Identity in Contemporary Asante," addressed the socioeconomic significance, creation, and fashionable display of Ghanaian women's kaba ensembles of 'African-print' cloth. Her second Ph.D., earned from the Department of the History of Art, the School of Fine Arts, was received in 2002 with a dissertation entitled Precious Beads and Sacred Gold: Trade, Transformation, and the Unifying Principle of Generative Nurturance in the Arts of Southern Ghana," focused on the historical development of two distinctive Ghanaian art forms—powder-glass beads and golden Asante dual-disk funerary pectorals—and their symbolic associations with generative powers and maternal nurturance. Dr. Gott is currently an Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture in the Department of Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. Her research, focusing on Ghanaian women's art and visual culture, addresses historic and contemporary processes of cosmopolitanism, hybridity, globalization, and localized modernities in Ghanaian visual culture, and the particular significance of popular expressive culture in the fashioning of identities. Dr. Gott has published her research findings in academic journals and book chapters, including a chapter in the book, Contemporary African Fashion (2010), published in the African Expressive Cultures series of Indiana University Press, which she co-edited with Dr. Kristyne Loughran. She developed and guest curated the exhibition, Glass Beads of Ghana, based on her ethnographic and historical research on Ghanaian glass bead making, which was on display at The Newark Museum from January 2008 through March 2010.


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Christopher R. Green '10

Christopher R. Green holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, with minors in African Studies and African Languages and Linguistics. His dissertation was entitled Prosodic phonology in Bamana (Bambara): Syllable complexity, metrical structure, and tone. He is currently an Assistant Research Scientist, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of Language


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Jennifer Hart '11

Jennifer Hart holds a Ph.D. in History. Her dissertation was entitled 'Suffer to Gain': Citizenship, Accumulation, and Motor Transportation in Late-Colonial and Postcolonial Ghana. She is currently an Assistant Professor of African History at Wayne State University.


Clara Henderson

Clara Henderson '09

Clara Henderson holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Ethnomusicology. She is Associate Director of the Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities (www.iub.edu/~idah) at Indiana University, Bloomington, and is affiliated with the African Studies program and the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. She is also Associate Director for the EVIA Digital Archive Project and is Project Manager for the Ethnomusicology Multimedia Project. She teaches an Advanced Fieldwork course in Folklore and Ethnomusicology, focusing on the under-emphasized components of fieldwork such as ethnography and the senses, bodily knowledge, and identity markers. Her research interests include the dance and music of Africa and the African Diaspora, religious expression, visual media, and technology. Before attending Indiana University she lived and worked in Malawi for nearly twenty years. She is currently preparing a monograph on dance discourse in the music and lives of Presbyterian women's guilds in southern Malawi, and is conducting research on the ways in which Africans, both individually and collectively, have influenced and shaped the perspectives of missionaries, ethnographers, and travelers from the late 19th century to the present. She performed for a number of years with the Mutinhimira Marimba Band, and with the Afro-Brazilian samba group Women of Mass Percussion.


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Megan Hershey '11

Megan Hershey holds a Ph.D. in Political Science with a minor in African Studies. Her dissertation was entitled NGOs, Community Participation and Kenya's Fight Against HIV/AIDS. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Whitworth University.



Linda Hunter

Linda Hunter '77

Linda Hunter holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics. Her dissertation was entitled An Experimental Study of Hausa Tone. She is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Pam Jagger

Pam Jagger '09

Pam Jagger received her Ph.D. from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Public Policy. Her dissertation, "Can Forest Sector Devolution Improve Rural Livelihoods? An Analysis of Forest Income and Institutions in Western Uganda," was an examination of the welfare impacts of Uganda's forest sector governance reform. Dr. Jagger is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy, Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Faculty Fellow, Carolina Population Center, and Senior Associate, Center for International Forestry Research.


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Curtis Keim '79

Curtis Keim received a Ph.D. in History. His dissertation focused on Precolonial Central Africa and Western images of Africa. Currently he is a professor at Moravian College.


Candace Keller

Candace Keller '08

Candace Keller received a Ph.D. from the Department of the History of Art. Her dissertation, "Visual Griots: Social, Political, and Cultural Histories in Mali through the Photographer's Lens," focused on history of photography in Mali. Dr. Keller is currently an Assistant Professor of African Art/Department of Art, Art History, and Design and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University.


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Jeremy Kenyon '09

Jeremy Kenyon holds a M.A. in African Studies and a MLS from the School of Library and Information Science. His research interests include scholarly information access in Africa, African environmental historiography, and African Studies in the natural/applied sciences. He is currently a Reference and Instruction Librarian (Natural Resources) at the University of Idaho Library.


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Janice R. Levi '11

Janice Levi holds a M.A. in African Studies. Her researach interests include present-day and historical Jewish presence in West Africa, Afro-Judeo relations, identity studies, and how West African Jewish communities are using memory and an understanding of Jewish heritage to construct their identity as Jews and/or descendants of Jews as well as how that understood heritage and identity is being contested by the global Jewish community. Janice works at the College of International Stuides at the University of Oklahoma, in the capacity of International Programs Adviser.


John McCall

John C. McCall '92

John C. McCall holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology. His dissertation was titled The Ohafia War Dance as Lived Experience: history and identity in a Nigerian community. This dissertation focuses on performed histories as embodied social memory. Dr. McCall is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. For the past decade, his research has focused on the Nigerian video movie industry popularly known as "Nollywood."


Dean McHenry

Dean E. McHenry, Jr. '71

Dean McHenry holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science. His dissertation was titled Tanzania: The Struggle for Development, A Study of Attempts to Establish a Fishermen's Cooperative and to Introduce Cotton Growing in Kigoma Region of Western Tanzania. Dr. McHenry was encouraged to come to Indiana University by J. Gus Liebenow in correspondence between the two about the program when Dean was teaching in East Africa under the Teachers for East Africa program, a joint British American aid program. He retired in 2009 as a Professor of Political Science from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA. He is now an Emeritus Professor, Department of Politics and Policy.


Owen Mordaunt

Owen Mordaunt '81

Owen Mordaunt holds a Ph.D from Indiana University. His dissertation was entitled Attitudes toward the Utility and Sociocultural Influences of the English Language: A Study of Prospective Teachers in Swaziland. He is presently a Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He also serves as Director of TESOL Certificates, Graduate Faculty Fellow, and International Studies Professor. His research interests include Black literature and Socio- and Applied Linguistics.


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Dee Mortensen '84

Dee Mortensen holds a M.A. in Comparative Literature with a foucs on Latin American and African literatures. She is Senior Sponsoring Editor for Indiana University Press and has worked on publishing the following series at IU Press: African Epic, African Expressive Cultures, African Issues, African Systems of Thought, Global African Voices, Readings in African Studies, and World Philosophies.


Brent O'Bannon

Brett O'Bannon '04

Brett O'Bannon holds a Ph.D. in Political Science. His dissertation focused on local governance-as-conflict-management in rural Senegal. He is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Conflict of Conflict Studies, DePauw University. Dr. O'Bannon's research focuses on questions of intervention in human protection crises and the Responsibility to Protect. He also serves as a consultant with UNICEF in Cote d'Ivoire (post conflict analysis).


Austin Okigbo

Austin Okigbo '10

Austin Okigbo holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology with a minor in African Studies. His dissertation was on Choral Music and the HIV/AIDS Struggle in South Africa. He currently is the Sterling Brown Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College in Williamstown, MA as well as serving as a visiting instructor in African languages and culture in the Department of African and African American Studies, at Harvard University. His research interests include Music in African, African American and African Diaspora Experiences; Black World Music and Resistance Movements; Music and the Global Politics of AIDS; and Music and Inter-religious Dialogues in Africa.


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Donna A. Patterson '08

Donna Patterson holds a Ph.D. in African History with minors in African Studies, Latin American history, and Caribbean history. Her research interests are in West and Francophone Africa, medical professionalization, drugs, and gender. She currently is Assistant Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She teaches courses in African history, African affairs, the African Diaspora, and Islamic worlds. Donna spent summer '11 completing archival work and oral interviews for her current book project on the history of Senegal's pharmacists. This trip was generously funded by the West African Research Association (WARA). She is also the recipient of other fellowships including those from Fulbright IIE, the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center.


Alex Perullo

Alex Perullo '03

Alex Perullo holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Ethnomusicology and African Studies Program. His thesis focused on the East African music industry with particular emphasis on Tanzania. Dr. Perullo is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at Bryant University; he is currently researching transformations to ownership, property and rights in expressive art forms.


Nathan Plageman

Nathan Plageman '08
Nate Plageman holds a Ph.D. in History. His dissertation was a social history of Ghanaian highlife and masculinities, c. 1880-1970. He is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Dr. Plageman's first book, Highlife Saturday Night: Popular Music and Social Change in Urban Ghana will appear with Indiana University Press in Fall 2012. At present, he is starting work on a second book project, which will be a social history of Sekondi-Takoradi, towns in Ghana's Western Region.


Christopher Roy

Christopher Roy '79
Chris Roy holds a Ph.D. from the Department of the History of Art. His dissertation, Mossi Masks and Crests, focused on the Art of Burkina Faso, especially the Mossi people. Currently Dr. Roy is the Elizabeth M. Stanley Faculty Fellow of African Art History and Professor of Art History, University of Iowa School of Art and Art History.


Linda Semu

Linda Semu '05
Linda Semu holds a Ph.D. in Sociology. Her dissertation, The Interplay of State, Family Structure and Land: A Study on Women and Children's Well- Being in Matrilineal Households in Southern Malawi, focused on the matrilineal system in Southern Malawi and examined how changes in land availability is affecting its operation through quantitative and qualitative analyses. Land is an important source of livelihood, status and identity that gives provides women to access land. However, analyses show that matrilineal women's autonomy has become increasingly eroded in the face of diminishing land size, failures in state policy, unreliable climatic conditions and the devastation of HIV/AIDS, embedding matrilineal women to national and international economic, historical and socio- political processes. At McDaniel College, Dr. Semu is Associate Professor, Sociology and Coordinator- Africana Studies Program. Current projects include working on a book manuscript, analyzing data on Malawian Immigrant Health Care Workers in the US, and working on various articles for publication.


Kim Vaz

Kim Vaz '90
Kim Vaz graduated from IU with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and a concentration in African Studies. Her dissertation topic was "Coping Strategies of Foreign Wives Living in Nigeria." Currently, she is the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Education at Xavier University of Louisiana located in New Orleans. Her research focus is on how African American Mardi Gras masking practices, with their African bases have been a way to celebrate black heritage and a way to both resistant and cope with large group social trauma imposed by Jim Crow after the period of Reconstruction. Dr. Vaz has published several books and has also been the recipient of fellowships including the Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Minorities and the McKnight Junior Faculty Postdoctoral Fellowship.


Mary Vogl

Mary Vogl '98

Mary Vogl holds a Ph.D. in French with minors in African Studies and Near East Languages and Cultures. Dr. Vogl's dissertation was entitled Picturing the Maghreb: Orientalism, Photography and Representation. She works as an Associate Professor of French at Colorado State University and as affiliate faculty for International Development Studies Program. In 2002, she published her first book: Picturing the Maghreb: Literature, Photography, Representation (Rowman and Littlefield). Current projects include articles on North African literature and culture and a book project about Moroccan Art Criticism. At Colorado State, Dr. Vogl teaches course on African Cinema and Francophone African Cultures. She also helped organize Africa Colloquium at Colorado State, is the faculty sponsor for West Africa Internship at the Centre Songhaï in Benin, and is working on Fulbright-Hays proposal for Morocco and Turkey.


Dawn Whitehead

Dawn Whitehead '07

Dawn Whitehead holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy Studies with concentrations in International and Comparative Education and African Studies. Her dissertation examined Primary School Teacher Retention and Quality in Ghana. Dr. Whitehead is the Director of Curriculum Internationalization at IUPUI in the Office of International Affairs and International Initiatives in the IUPUI Honors College and an Adjunct Assistant Professor for the IU School of Education-Indianapolis. She is also Program Director for two summer study abroad programs for undergraduate students: Cross Cultural Education in Ghana (located in Ghana) and Understanding Kenya Through Service and Learning (located in Eldoret, Kenya).


Nancy Worthington

Nancy Worthington '99

Nancy Worthington holds a Ph.D. from the School of Journalism in Mass Communications. Her dissertation focused on the news framing of female advocacy in the Kenyan press. Presently, Dr. Worthington is Professor of Communications and Chair of the Department of Media Studies at Quinnipiac University. Her current research examines media constructions of gender violence in South Africa and the U.S.


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