David Coplan (Wits, Emeritus) takes us on a journey from New York to Soweto and into the making of his ethnographic studies of music and popular culture in West and South(ern) Africa. Coplan then turns to his recent book about The Bassline jazz club in Johannesburg. The interview concludes with insights from his new research […]
Jean Allman (Washington U.) on rethinking African humanities. She discusses her research on Ghana, women, and gender, and highlights the transformative potential of collaborative work. Allman reflects on African Studies publishing networks and then previews her ASA Presidential Lecture delivered at MSU: “#HerskovitsMustFall? A Meditation on Whiteness, African Studies, and the Unfinished Business of 1968.” […]
Prof. Somadoda Fikeni (UNISA) and Nomzamo Ntombela (Stellenbosch) reflect on continuities and changes in South African social justice activism. Fikeni and Ntombela share their respective personal and political experiences, connecting the motives and lessons of 1980s anti-apartheid mass mobilization to the recent #FeesMustFall student movement. Click here to watch the “Campus Activism for Justice: From […]
Albie Sachs, former judge, freedom fighter, and professor, speaks (and sings!) about his anti-apartheid activism and lifelong commitment to equality and justice. He reflects on the enduring need for “soft vengeance” and draws on his 15-year term on South Africa’s Constitutional Court to emphasize the importance of constitutionalism for democracy. The interview concludes with Sachs’ […]
Prof. Norman Etherington (U. Western Australia) on empire in Africa, missions, and Southern African history. The interview focuses on themes of his distinguished career and influential works, such as The Great Treks, and his latest books Indigenous Evangelists & Questions of Authority in the British Empire 1750-1940 and Imperium of the Soul.
Dr. Alcinda Honwana on the struggles of young Africans, the condition of “waithood”—a state of limbo between childhood and adulthood—and their creative engagements with everyday life. She reflects on the art and ethics of oral interviewing in Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia, and concludes with a hopeful vision of young women and men as […]
Youssouf Sakaly and Malick Sitou discuss the Archive of Malian Photography, a collaborative Malian-US project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the British Library, that provides free access to preserved and digitized collections of five important photographers in Mali. The interview considers ethical questions, family and community memory, conservation and dissemination of […]
Keren Weitzberg (Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London) on her new book We Do Not Have Borders: Greater Somalia and the Predicaments of Belonging in Kenya. She grapples with the long history of Somali migration across colonial/post-colonial borders, definitions of “Somaliness,” media coverage and representations of Somali people, and the “hidden history’” of women gleaned from poetry and […]
Prof. Alois Mlambo (University of Pretoria) discusses Zimbabwe’s deindustrialization and economic decline, its relationship with South Africa, and the role of Pan-Africanism and “patriotic history” in sustaining a new authoritarian nationalism.
Jeremy Prestholdt (U. California, San Diego) on East African commodities, culture, and “transnational imagination,” featuring his forthcoming book, Icons of Dissent (on Che, Marley, Tupac, Bin Laden). He also discusses changing meanings of Indian Ocean Africa and how technologies impact global circulation of ideas, people and commodities. With guest host, Laura Fair.
John Mugane (Harvard University) on his book, The Story of Swahili, a history of the international language and its speakers. Mugane sheds light on enduring questions: Who is Swahili? What is authentic Swahili? He also discusses the state of publishing in Swahili, and the challenges and approaches to teaching African languages in the U.S. Part of a podcast series […]
Allen Isaacman (University of Minnesota) discusses his recent Herskovits Award-winning book, Dams, Displacement and the Delusion of Development: Cahora Bassa and its Legacies in Mozambique, 1965-2007, how the work was researched, its significance, and the lives of those disrupted by the dam. He also talks of his long trajectory doing Mozambican history, book series publishing in […]
Fallou Ngom (African Languages Director, Boston U.) on his new book Muslims Beyond the Arab World: the Odyssey of Ajami and the Muridiyya. Focusing on Senegambia and Ahmadu Bamba, Ngom discusses Ajami literary texts — African languages in Arabic scripts — as sources for history. He also reflects on creating online Ajami collections, teaching and learning African languages […]
Professor Amidu O. Sanni (Lagos State University) on his work for the Timbuktu Manuscripts Project and preservation of West African intellectual heritage. He discusses the importance of Ajami sources (African languages written in Arabic script) for historical and cultural analysis and suggests possibilities for future research and training initiatives.
Nicholas van de Walle (Cornell) and Michael Wahman (Missouri) analyze the 2016 Zambian presidential and parliamentary elections. The two political scientists discuss the controversial results, the role of the Constitutional Court in the process, violence, and the influence of international election observers. With guest host, Jessica Achberger. Part of a podcast series in collaboration with the U.S. African Studies […]
Micere Githae Mugo (Syracuse, Emeritus) and Simon Gikandi (Princeton) discuss the making and aftermath of The Trial of Dedan Kimathi and, on the 40th anniversary of the play, reflect on the play’s historical and political significance in Kenya and beyond; its innovative elements; and researching, writing, and enacting the play with Ngugi wa Thiong’o and […]
John Aerni-Flessner (MSU) on his forthcoming book The Desire for Development: Foreign Assistance, Independence, & Dreams for the Nation in Lesotho. Discussion focuses on development projects and their local, national and international politics; perspectives of Basotho youth, farmers, chiefs and government; and interactions with South Africa, U.S. Peace Corps and the foreign aid industry.
Artist Sam Jury on the neglected situation of Sahrawi peoples’ refugee camps, her video installation To Be Here on their daily lives, and about the women who built the camps. Additional background on the Sahrawi movement is provided by Richard Knight (African Activist Archive).
Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Greg Marinovich (Boston University) on the genealogy and ethics of his work and on his new book: Murder at Small Koppie: The Real Story of the Marikana Massacre—one of the largest killing of civilians in South Africa since 1960. For more: read the Marikana Commission of Inquiry Report here and watch Miners Shot Down here.
Tejumola Olaniyan (Wisconsin–Madison) on African cartoonists, their depictions of the body and struggles with censorship, and the aesthetics of corpulence in African political cartooning. He elaborates on the deeper origins and gendered nature of satire in African societies and also discusses his website Africa Cartoons.com.