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Africa Past & Present Podcast

Africa Past & Present Podcast

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The Podcast about African History, Culture, and Politics.


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 Podcast Website:
http://afripod.aodl.org

Episode 110: The Story of Swahili

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Apr 27, 2017


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 […]

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Episode 109: Doing Mozambican History—Dams, Development & Going Digital

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Apr 05, 2017


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 […]

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Episode 108: Ajami in African History

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, Mar 03, 2017


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 […]

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Episode 107: West African Intellectual Heritage

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Feb 02, 2017


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.  

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Episode 106: The 2016 Zambian Elections

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Jan 23, 2017


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 […]

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Episode 105: Popular Theater in Kenya—The Trial of Dedan Kimathi

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Dec 22, 2016


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 […]

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Episode 104: Development Dreams in Lesotho

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Nov 21, 2016


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.

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Episode 103: On the Ground in Western Sahara

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Oct 12, 2016


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).    

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Episode 102: Photojournalism and the “Real Story of the Marikana Massacre” with Greg Marinovich

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Jun 06, 2016


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.

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Episode 101: Corpulence, Cartoonists, and Politics

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, May 23, 2016


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.

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Episode 100: The Afripod Centenary Special

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Apr 26, 2016


This centenary episode brings together selections from the first eight years of the podcast. The chosen segments broadly represent earliest and latest episodes, different African countries and regions, and notable contributions by local and international guests on a number of subjects and themes.

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Episode 99: Artisanal Mining in Tanzania

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Mar 29, 2016


Anthropologist Rosemarie Mwaipopo (U. of Dar es Salaam) on artisanal and small-scale mining in Tanzania. She discusses the roles of women;grassroots dimensions, including cultural and gender dynamics; and government policies. The interview concludes with a comparative look at small-scale mining in Africa.

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Episode 98: City of Thorns—Inside the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Feb 22, 2016


Author Ben Rawlence (Open Society Foundations Fellow) on his new book: City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp. He describes working in Dadaab, Kenya, and discusses Somali refugees’ daily struggles, their personal lives, social relationships, trade, and Islam. The interview closes with reflections on the international dimensions of the conflict in Somalia and prospects for peace.

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Episode 97: Reproductive Rights in South Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Sat, Jan 30, 2016


Susanne Klausen (History, Carleton U.) on the history and politics of women’s reproductive rights in South Africa. Our discussion of race, nationalism, and women’s sexuality focuses on her new book, Abortion Under Apartheid, the first full-length study of the history of abortion in an African context. The interview concludes with an assessment of the present and future of abortion rights in […]

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Episode 96: Creativity and Decolonization: Nigerian Cultures and African Epistemologies

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Nov 17, 2015


Toyin Falola (History, Texas; President, African Studies Association) on Yoruba history and culture; language policy in Nigeria; creativity and decolonization; forms of community action in “hyper-modern” times; and the meaning of Buhari’s victory in the 2015 presidential election.

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Episode 95: Nigerian Politics and Society in Cartoon Art

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Oct 26, 2015


Ganiyu Akinloye Jimoh (Creative Arts, University of Lagos) on his work in Nigeria as a popular cartoonist, with the pen name “Jimga,” and as a cartoon scholar. Issues discussed include: political aspects of cartooning; visual aspects of the art; language and graphic styles; and the future of cartooning in Nigeria.

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Episode 94: The Bomb, a Professor, and Higher Education in South Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Oct 13, 2015


Professor Renfrew Christie (University of the Western Cape) on South African advances and challenges since 1994; educational transformations at UWC; his role as an anti-apartheid student activist, exposure of South Africa’s nuclear bomb and subsequent imprisonment, and nuclear issues today.

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Episode 93: Atlantic Bonds and Biography: from South Carolina to Nigeria

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Sep 22, 2015


Lisa Lindsay (North Carolina) on her forthcoming biography of James Churchwill Vaughan—whose life provides insights into the bonds of slavery and family and the differing prospects for people of African descent in the 19th-century Atlantic world. Vaughan’s odyssey took him from slavery-ridden South Carolina to Liberia and finally Nigeria, where he was involved in the […]

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Episode 92: Football, Power, and Identity in Zambia

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, May 21, 2015


Hikabwa Decius Chipande (PhD 2015 Michigan State) on the political and social history of football (soccer) in Zambia. He discusses becoming an historian; the game’s relationship with British colonizers, the copper mines, and postcolonial governments; and the archival research and oral interviewing process. Chipande concludes with insights from his extensive experience with sport development in Africa.

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Episode 91: African and American Ports–Solidarities in Durban and San Francisco

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Apr 28, 2015


Peter Cole (Western Illinois, SWOP [Wits]) compares Durban and San Francisco, maritime union solidarities, the anti-apartheid movement, and technological change in the two ports. Cole concludes with reflections on researching and teaching comparative history.

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Episode 90: Language and Power–Khoesan Studies

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Mar 31, 2015


Men?n Du Plessis (Stellenbosch University and U. of Kentucky) on her literary work, research on the Kora! language, and the significance of Khoesan linguistics to southern African studies. Du Plessis also considers digitization efforts and the impact of mass media and the Internet on endangered African languages.

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Episode 89: Digital African Studies Part 2 with Laura Seay

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Feb 03, 2015


Laura Seay (Government, Colby College) on becoming a Congo scholar; the genealogy and impact of her “Texas in Africa” blog; using Twitter for academic purposes and public discourse; and her book project titled “Substituting for the State” about non-state actors and governance in eastern DR Congo. Follow Laura on Twitter: @texasinafrica

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Episode 88: Digital African Studies with Keith Breckenridge

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Jan 13, 2015


Keith Breckenridge (WISER) on the current state of digital Southern African Studies; the politics, funding, and ethics of international partnerships in digital projects; and his new book Biometric State: The Global Politics of Identification and Surveillance in South Africa, 1850 to the Present. Follow Keith on Twitter: @BreckenridgeKD Part I of a series on digital African studies.

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Episode 87: Black Politics in South Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Dec 03, 2014


Chitja Twala (History, Univ. of Free State) on the history of black politics and the African National Congress in the Free State province; oral history; cultural resistance; the field of History in South Africa; lessons of the Marikana Massacre; and “transformation” in South African higher education.

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Episode 86: Cartooning in Africa with Tebogo Motswetla

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Nov 12, 2014


Tebogo Motswetla, a leading African cartoonist from Botswana, on his journey of becoming a cartoonist; the 25th anniversary of his character “Mabijo”; applied aspects of his work; seTswana language dialogue; the creative process, censorship, and freedom of expression.

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Episode 85: Swahili Poetry with Abdilatif Abdalla

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Nov 04, 2014


Abdilatif Abdalla is the best-known Swahili poet and independent Kenya’s first political prisoner. He discusses poetry as a political instrument and as an academic field; publication prospects for African poets; and how poetry enabled him to survive three years of solitary confinement, after which he spent 22 years in exile. The interview ends with Abdalla […]

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Episode 84: African literatures & public intellectuals: Sahara Reporters & ‘What is Africa to me’?

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Oct 22, 2014


Pius Adesanmi (Carleton University) on African literatures, public intellectuals, Sahara Reporters blog, social media and postcolonial writing, Yoruba and Anglophone literatures, ‘imposed transnationalism’ in the African literature classroom and ‘What is Africa to me’? With guest host Ann Biersteker. Photo courtesy of Pius Adesanmi

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Episode 83: Conflict in C?te d’Ivoire and Beyond, From High Politics to the Grassroots

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Sep 29, 2014


Brett O’Bannon (Political Science, Director of Conflict Studies, De Pauw University) on the causes and consequences of civil war in C?te d’Ivoire; the “Responsibility to Protect” as applied to conflict in Africa ; and monitoring herder-farmer relations in Senegal to anticipate the onset of wider-scale warfare.

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Episode 82: Denis Goldberg’s Life for Freedom in South Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, May 14, 2014


Denis Goldberg reflects on his activism, hardships in prison, and the highs and lows of the antiapartheid movement. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1963 in South Africa’s Rivonia trial with Mandela and other leaders. He served 22 years in an apartheid prison. Goldberg’s autobiography is titled The Mission: A Life for Freedom in […]

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Episode 81: The Nigerian homefront in WWII, The Biafran War, and Igbo Identity

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Mar 31, 2014


Dr. Chima Korieh (History, Marquette) on Nigerian experiences on the African homefront during World War II, agriculture and social change in the colonial era, the Biafran War and the politics of memory, and Igbo identity.  The interview closes with a discussion of endangered archives in postcolonial Nigeria.

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Episode 80: Biographies and Databases of Atlantic Slaves, Part 2

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Feb 25, 2014


David Eltis, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History at Emory University, on the making of the Transatlantic Slave Trade database,  a landmark collaborative digital project he has co-edited for two decades. Eltis discusses the research process, online dissemination, and new directions for the initiative. This is the second part of a two-part series recorded at […]

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Episode 78: Spirituality in Central African History

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Dec 05, 2013


David Gordon (Bowdoin, History) on his recent book Invisible Agents: Spirits in a Central African History. Gordon explores how and why spirits and discourses about spirits inspired social movements and influenced historical change, from precolonial Bemba chieftaincies and 1930s Watchtower millenarianism to the postcolonial state’s humanism and Pentecostalism under Kaunda and Chiluba, respectively. Gordon closes […]

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Episode 77: Barry Gilder’s Songs and Secrets

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Nov 19, 2013


Barry Gilder, South African folk singer and ex-ANC intelligence operative, is the author of Songs and Secrets: South Africa from Liberation to Governance. In the interview, he reflects on freedom songs, exile, and armed struggle. Gilder performs his “Matola Song,” about a friend killed by an apartheid death squad.  He ends with thoughts on democratic […]

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Episode 76: Black Travelers, Writers and Activists in Africa and the Diaspora

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Nov 05, 2013


David Killingray (Emeritus, Goldsmiths College, U. of London) on the often-neglected role of African travelers and intermediaries in 19th-century Africa; black writers and activists in Victorian Britain; and the significance of documenting lived experiences of Africans to better understand processes of historical change.    

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Episode 75: Radio and Resistance in South Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Oct 10, 2013


Sekibakiba Peter Lekgoathi (U. Witwatersrand/Michigan) on radio, ethnicity and knowledge production in South Africa, both apartheid’s Bantu Radio and the liberation movement’s Radio Freedom, including broadcasts and audiences, idioms, songs and slogans. Also discusses formation of Ndebele ethnicity and role of popular radio in forging a strong ethnic consciousness, and histories of African interpreters and […]

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Episode 74: The Dialectics of Piracy in Somalia

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, May 14, 2013


Geographer Abdi Samatar (U. Minnesota; President of the U.S. African Studies Association) on pirates and piracy off the Somali coast; the complexities and inequalities between “fish pirates” and other kinds of pirates; the inadequacy of “clans” in explaining Somali society; and thoughts on “Africa’s First Democrats” and the future of Somalia.  

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Episode 73: Namibia: Herero Protest, Prophecy and Private Archives

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Apr 17, 2013


Dag Henrichsen (Basler Afrika Bibliographien, Basel) on protest and prophecy among Herero intellectuals in 1940s Namibia. Also discussed are the 1904-5 German genocide, construction of Herero modernity, private archives, popular culture, Namibian historiography, and how Namibians conceptualized a “South African Empire.”

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Episode 72: Conflict in Mali

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Mar 26, 2013


Vicki Huddleston (former U.S. Ambassador to Mali) and anthropologist Bruce Whitehouse (Lehigh Univ.) discuss the ongoing political and military conflict in Mali. Focus is on the complex origins of the Tuareg and Islamist insurgencies in the north, French intervention and U.S. policy, and how to chart the way to peace and stability in a wounded […]

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Episode 71: Ethnicity in Zimbabwe

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Feb 27, 2013


Enocent Msindo (History, Rhodes U.) on his recent book Ethnicity in Zimbabwe: Transformations in Kalanga and Ndebele Societies, 1860-1990. He explores chiefly politics, class, language, and local sources to show the creation of ethnic identity in southwestern Zimbabwe was not solely the result of colonial rule or African elites. Ordinary Africans created and shaped an […]

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Episode 70: The International Politics of Black Liberation

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Jan 23, 2013


Historian Gerald Horne (U. of Houston) on how labor struggles in Hawaii and black self-assertion in Kenya influenced a young Barack Obama; the legacy of African-American involvement in African political struggles; the confluence of African-American Studies and African Studies; and W.E.B. DuBois as a template for unity among people of African descent. With guest co-host […]

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Episode 69: Economic and Cultural History of the Slave Trade in Western Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Dec 12, 2012


Toby Green (King’s College London) on his recent book The Rise of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in Western Africa, 1300-1589. Green discusses periodization, sources, and the creation of creole communities in the Upper Guinea coast. He also comments on new research comparing Upper Guinea and West-Central Africa and concludes with a reflection on the opportunities […]

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Episode 68: Witchcraft, AIDS and Power

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Nov 28, 2012


Adam Ashforth (Univ. of Michigan) on “witchcraft”  in rural Central and urban Southern Africa. Discusses connections with colonial and postcolonial power and authority; gender; spiritual insecurity and religious enthusiasm; law, culture, and HIV/AIDS in Malawi; “anti-anti-witchcraft,” and the “serious laughter” of photographer Santu Mofokeng.

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Episode 67: Africanizing History and Society

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Oct 31, 2012


Sifiso Ndlovu (CEO, South African Democracy Education Trust) on the Soweto 1976 rising; personal and professional perspectives on challenges and contributions of African historians;  writing and editing SADET’s The Road to Democracy in South Africa series; and the importance of orality and African languages in Zulu history and in rewriting South Africa’s past.  

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Episode 66: Miners, Marikana, and Photography

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Sep 27, 2012


  Alex Lichtenstein (History, Indiana U.) on the history of the struggles for class and racial justice in both South Africa and the U.S. The focus is on black trade unions and the apartheid state, the 2012 Marikana mine massacre, and labor in Jim Crow U.S. South, as well as an upcoming exhibition of Margaret Bourke-White‘s […]

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Episode 65: A Female King: Gender and Oral History in Eastern Nigeria

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Sep 06, 2012


Prof. Nwando Achebe (MSU History) on her recent book The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe. Achebe describes key aspects of King (or Eze) Ahebi’s life; reflects on the value of oral history and multidisciplinary methods; and discusses Igbo gender, culture, and power during British colonial rule.

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Episode 64: The Life and Writings of A. B. Xuma

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, Jun 01, 2012


Peter Limb (Michigan State University) on the life and writings of Dr. Alfred Bitini Xuma, President-General of the African National Congress (1940-49) and first black physician in Johannesburg. Limb discusses his just published book bringing together Xuma’s autobiography, correspondence, essays and speeches on health, politics, crime, beer, the pass laws, and the rights of African […]

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Episode 63: Noise and Silence, War and Peace in the Politics of DR Congo

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, May 16, 2012


Tom Turner (DR Congo country specialist, Amnesty International USA) on the politics of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, focusing on The Congo Wars and their complex political, economic and international dimensions; the obstacles to peace; and the ambiguities of the “Kony 2012” campaign.  

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Episode 62: Kingship, legitimacy, and violence in Rwanda and Eastern Congo

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, May 02, 2012


David Newbury (Smith College) on the historical dynamics of kingship, legitimacy and violence in Central and East Africa, focusing on Alison Des Forges’s Defeat is the Only Bad News: Rwanda under Musinga, 1896-1931 and The Land beyond the Mists: Essays on Identity & Authority in Precolonial Congo & Rwanda. He deconstructs static views of royal […]

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Episode 61: ‘Holy Hustlers’, Freud, and African Wisdom Diviners

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Mar 19, 2012


Anthropologist Richard Werbner (University of Manchester) on the similarity between Freud and African wisdom diviners, ethnographic filmmaking in southern Africa, and the place of ‘Holy Hustlers’ (pentecostal churches and prophecy in Botswana) — the subject of his latest book — in the public sphere.  

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Episode 60: The Atlantic Slave Data Network

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, Feb 10, 2012


Historians Gwendolyn Midlo Hall and Walter Hawthorne on Slave Biographies: The Atlantic Database Network — a digital history project of Matrix and the MSU History Department funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. They discuss the origins of the ASDN, intellectual and technological challenges, and the wider significance of building a freely accessible web database […]

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Episode 58: African Women in Politics

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Nov 07, 2011


Aili Mari Tripp (U. of Wisconsin – Madison and ASA President) on African women’s movements and paradoxes of power in Museveni’s Uganda. Includes discussion of democratization and highlights the need for the African Studies Association to challenge the U.S. government’s draconian cuts to international education. With guest host Prof. Kiki Edozie (International Relations, Michigan State).

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Episode 57: African Activists

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Oct 31, 2011


Eddie Daniels and Christine Root on spending a lifetime working for African liberation; Daniels in South Africa, where he was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island (1964-79), and Root in the U.S. as Associate Director of the Washington Office on Africa in solidarity with such struggles. The African Activist Archive preserves records and memories […]

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Episode 56: The Great Dance: Masks in Malawi

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Sep 27, 2011


Dr. Gary Morgan, MSU Museum Director, on African masks and the Great Dance (Gule Wamkulu) in Chewa society, Malawi. Discusses origins and characters of Gule Wamkulu, and gender, political, educational and health aspects of masks and their future in a globalizing world. Accompanies MSU exhibition on masks and the first major book on Gule Wamkulu […]

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Episode 55: African Archives, Past & Present

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Aug 23, 2011


Derek Peterson (University of Michigan) on the politics and practice of archives in East Africa, the precarious state of some archives, and exciting possibilities of preservation and digitization at Mountains of the Moon University in Uganda; “homespun” historians in Recasting the African Past and Mau Mau prisons in Kenya; and his forthcoming book Pilgrims & […]

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Episode 54: Political Biography

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Jul 27, 2011


Heather Hughes (University of Lincoln) on her new biography of John Langalibalele Dube, founding president of the African National Congress of South Africa, which celebrates its centenary in 2012. Hughes focuses on Dube’s rich connections to the United States; his educational work and political beliefs; and the previously overlooked role of Nokutela Dube.  

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Episode 53: The Impact of US government cuts on African Studies

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Jul 07, 2011


David Wiley, James Pritchett, Laura Mitchell, and Joshua Grace discuss huge federal government cuts to Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs and their impact on African Studies in the United States.

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Episode 52: Zulu Intellectual History

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Apr 27, 2011


Hlonipha Mokoena (Anthropology, Columbia U.) on her new book: Magema Fuze: The Making of a Kholwa Intellectual (2011). Explains the rise of a black intelligentsia in 19th- and early 20th-century South Africa through the remarkable life of Fuze, the first Zulu-speaker to publish a book in the language: Abantu Abamnyama Lapa Bavela Ngakona / The […]

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Episode 51: Maasai Women, Culture, and the Indigenous Rights Movement

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Apr 13, 2011


Dorothy Hodgson (Anthropology, Rutgers) on Maasai pastoralists in Tanzania, with a focus on the experiences and perspectives of women. She discusses the intersections of gender, ethnicity, and Christianity, and then turns to the subject of her new book, Being Maasai, Becoming Indigenous, which explores local activists’ engagement with the transnational indigenous rights movement.  

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Episode 50: Political Change in Africa and the Diaspora

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Mar 31, 2011


Horace Campbell (African American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse U.) on political change in Africa and the Diaspora. Focus is on the revolution in Libya, popular revolts, war, peace, and neo-liberalism in Africa and beyond. Campbell also shares insights from his new book: Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics: A Revolutionary Moment in the USA. […]

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Episode 49: The Revolutionary Situation in North Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, Feb 25, 2011


Salah Hassan and Ken Harrow (Michigan State University) on the democratic revolutions in North Africa. Events in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt are analyzed from below and above, with focus on the perspectives of youth, creative uses of technology, as well as the connections to, and relevance of, the events to Africa and the wider world. […]

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Episode 48: Nigeria, Gender, Labor, and Environment

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Feb 15, 2011


Judith Byfield (History, Cornell) on the social and economic history of women and the environment in Nigeria. She elaborates on the role of the prominent Kuti family and also on the origins of her scholarly interest in Africa. The interview was recorded during Dr. Byfield’s visit to Michigan State University where she delivered the 2010 […]

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Episode 47: Gender and Colonialism in Zimbabwe

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Jan 24, 2011


Diana Jeater on Zimbabwe’s colonial history. Focus is on gender and on how culture and access to material resources shaped African lives, and on the role of African languages — and their translation by white settlers — in constructing discourses about morality. Jeater also discusses current work on private archives of Rhodesian expats in the […]

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Episode 46: Popular Politics in Southern Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Nov 30, 2010


Historian Paul Landau (University of Maryland) on rethinking the broad history of Southern Africa from 1400 to 1948. His new book re-asserts African agency by seeing Africans in motion, coming out of their own past. Drawing on oral traditions, genealogies, 19th-century conversations, and other sources, Landau highlights the resilience of African political cultures and their […]

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Episode 45: Terence Ranger and the Making of History in Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Nov 04, 2010


Prof. Terence Ranger (Emeritus, University of Oxford) discusses his many contributions to African Studies and African History, how these themes have developed, and also his 17th book, Bulawayo Burning (2010). This is the first of three podcasts recorded at the ‘Making History: Terence Ranger and African Studies’ conference, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign October, 2010.

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Episode 44: Oral History and Memory Work in Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, Sep 17, 2010


Radikobo Ntsimane (UKZN School of Theology) on African voices in the history of mission hospitals in South Africa and the Sinomlando Center‘s ‘memory box’ program. Ntsimane’s work demonstrates how oral history is not just an intellectual practice, but also ‘a human encounter that can have a profound effect on people’s lives.’ Free download of R. […]

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Episode 43: Reflections on Africa’s First World Cup

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Jul 22, 2010


Chris Bolsmann (Sociology, Aston University) on the successful 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Topics covered include experiences at stadiums; FIFA‘s Disney-fied World Cup; Pan-Africanism and African teams; and the economic and political impact of the tournament. More World Cup Thoughts Online: ‘After the Final’ with Karabo Mathang and Sindi Mabizela (audio) Laurent Dubois and […]

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Episode 42: Senegal, Women in Islam, Public Intellectuals, and David Robinson

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Jun 02, 2010


Penda Mbow (l’Universit? Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar), prominent historian and public intellectual of Senegal, on women and Islam, intellectual history in Muslim Africa, and civil society in Senegal. She also discusses the significant contribution and role of David Robinson in African and Senegalese historiography.

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Episode 41: 2010 World Cup and Grassroots Soccer

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, May 26, 2010


Thabo Dladla, Conti Khubeka and Zeph Mthembu on the potential impact of the 2010 World Cup on grassroots soccer in South Africa. All three men are former professional players now coaching youths. What does 2010 mean to these elders of the game? Will the tournament address the legacy of apartheid and the new challenges of […]

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Episode 40: Africa’s Global Past

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Apr 29, 2010


Paul Tiyambe Zeleza (Loyola Marymount University) on the history and study of Africa and its Diasporas. He discusses the themes of his new book, Barack Obama and African Diasporas: Dialogues and Dissensions, as well as globalization and Africa, and changes over time in the nature and focus of African Studies.

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Episode 39: South Africa – Precarious Liberation: Workers, the State, and Contested Social Citizenship

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Apr 06, 2010


Franco Barchiesi (Ohio State U) explains the precarious lives of South African workers and unemployed together with the role of politics and the impact of economic crises today. He also analyzes contests over social citizenship in post-apartheid South Africa and discusses the development of his own interest in South African labor matters.

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Episode 38: South Africa — New Histories

Author: Africa Past and Present
Sat, Feb 27, 2010


Jabulani Sithole (UKZN) on why history matters in South Africa.  Sithole discusses his journey from activist to historian, and his research on the ANC and labor unions in KwaZulu-Natal, part of SADET’s landmark The Road to Democracy in South Africa series. He elaborates on Zulu identities and his role in renaming streets in Pietermaritzburg.

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Episode 37: African Photography, Visual Griots in Mali and Beyond

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, Jan 29, 2010


Candace Keller (MSU Art and Art History) on her research on West African photographers, cultural histories, identities, and aesthetics from the 1940s to the present. Dr. Keller describes and explains the rich and varied photographic scene in Mali, its historical roots and aesthetic and technological components, discusses leading photographers such as Malick Sidibe and Seydou […]

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Episode 36: Endangered African Languages

Author: Africa Past and Present
Sun, Nov 29, 2009


Mwalimu Deo Ngonyani (MSU Linguistics) on his research on Kikisi — a Bantu language spoken by 10,000 people on the shores of Lake Malawi in southwestern Tanzania. Ngonyani elaborates on projects committed to preserving ‘small’ languages and highlights the significance of government language policies, especially in regards to English and Swahili.

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Episode 35: African Identities in the Age of Obama

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Nov 17, 2009


Wendi Manuel-Scott and Benedict Carton on the  ‘African Identities in the Age of Obama’ conference they organized recently at George Mason University. Bridging the gap between studies of Africa, African America, and the Caribbean, participants debated who and what does Obama represent? How do cultural aspects of the Obama phenomenon intersect with political and economic […]

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Episode 34: African Audiences

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Nov 03, 2009


Historian Chuck Ambler (UTEP and African Studies Association president) on the work of the ASA and his ongoing research on African audiences ‘from Hollywood to Nollywood.’  He also discusses a manuscript-in-progress on mass media and popular culture in colonial and post-colonial Africa. With guest co-host Laura Fair.

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Episode 33: The African Diaspora in Britain

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Oct 15, 2009


Marika Sherwood (senior research fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London) on the history of the African diaspora in Britain. She discusses aspects of her 2007 book After Abolition: Britain and the Slave Trade Since 1807, the 1945 Pan Africanist Congress in Manchester, and Pan-African biographies.  Sherwood concludes by noting the inadequate treatment of black history […]

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Episode 32: Africa and the Indian Ocean

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Sep 30, 2009


Historian Ned Alpers (UCLA) on changing trends in Indian Ocean history and Africa’s centrality within it. Drawing from over three decades of research and a recently published book, Alpers discusses east African views of the Indian Ocean; slavery and the slave trade; resistance and agency.  He concludes by reflecting on the  daunting challenges and exciting […]

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Episode 31: Garvey in Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Sep 15, 2009


Dr. Robert Vinson (History, College of William and Mary) on the spread of Garveyism in South Africa and its political and cultural impact.  Vinson explains how black men and women in the 1920s and 30s appropriated Garvey’s ideas of racial pride, pan-Africanism, and modernity to sustain themselves and to propel South Africa’s struggle for freedom.

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Episode 30: Garvey and the African Diaspora

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Aug 13, 2009


Prof. Robert A. Hill (History, UCLA) on his life’s work as editor of The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers, a magisterial multi-volume series published by the University of California Press since 1983. Hill discusses the origins of his interest in Garvey and the “Africa for the Africans” movement — the largest organized mass movement in […]

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Episode 29: African Languages

Author: Africa Past and Present
Sat, Jul 18, 2009


Dr. Ibro Chekaraou, Dr. Waithera Karim-Sesay, Mamarame Seck on challenges and possibilities for African language study in North America. Focus is on pedagogy and language politics in Africa with specific reference to Hausa, Swahili, and Wolof.

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Episode 28: Ethnicity and Power in Sudan’s Past

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Jun 16, 2009


Historians Stephanie Beswick (Ball State U.) and Jay Spaulding (Kean U.) on ethnicity, slavery, and trade in Sudan.  Focus is on pre-colonial times, with an emphasis on how power relationships and economic factors influenced identity formation and political conflict. The interview was conducted at the Sudan Studies Association meeting in East Lansing.

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Episode 27: The San in Botswana and Namibia

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, May 15, 2009


Dr. Robert Hitchcock (chair of Anthropology at MSU) on San people’s struggles in southern Africa’s Kalahari region. Focus is on government-San relations; San communities’ local and international quest for empowerment and human rights; and images of the San in film. Hitchcock concludes with an assessment of the impact of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project on […]

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Episode 26: Elections in South Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Apr 30, 2009


2009 elections in South Africa: Dr. Sean Jacobs and Dr. Hlonipha Mokoena analyze the significance of the ANC victory; Jacob Zuma and Zulu nationalism; the opposition’s weak showing outside the Western Cape; and local and international media coverage. Read Ray Suttner’s paper “Why is this election different from all others?” Watch controversial commercial mentioned by […]

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Episode 25: African Identities and Genocide Studies

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Apr 15, 2009


Prof. Abebe Zegeye (Chair of Genocide and Holocaust studies at UNISA) on Africans’ multiple identities and genocide studies in Africa.  Is there a need for a different model than that of Holocaust studies to analyze political violence in colonial and post-colonial Africa? Zegeye closes with thoughts on his recent appointment as Director of WISER at […]

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Episode 24: Drugs and Gender in Tanzania

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Mar 30, 2009


Dr. Sheryl McCurdy (University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health) on drugs, gender, and violence in East Africa.  McCurdy examines heroin use in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — its recent history, enabling conditions, and the differences between men and women users.  She concludes with observations on the local ‘war on drugs’ and then offers policy […]

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Episode 23: Football/Soccer Politics and Migration

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Mar 11, 2009


Dr. Paul Darby (University of Ulster) on  Africa’s place in world soccer. He examines Africa’s political relations with FIFA and the role of CAF, the continental governing body. Darby then discusses his new research on the migration of young African players to Europe through case studies of Ghana’s Liberty Professionals FC and the Right to […]

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Episode 22: Malawi’s Environmental History

Author: Africa Past and Present
Sun, Mar 01, 2009


Dr. Wapu Mulwafu (Univ. of Malawi) on African environmental history.  Mulwafu discusses the history of water use and management in Malawi, focusing on political and religious aspects of soil conservation and the importance of indigenous ecological knowledge and practices. He closes with insights on the challenges of “doing history” in Malawi.

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Episode 21: Transnational Islam

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, Feb 13, 2009


Anthropologist Mara Leichtman (MSU) on religion, migration, and politics. Leichtman unveils her new book  New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal (co-edited with Mamadou Diouf). She then discusses transnational Shi’a Islam in Dakar among Lebanese migrants and Senegalese converts, and in London at the Al-Khoei Foundation.  A fine example of why we cannot properly analyze “globalization” […]

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Episode 20: Slavery in West African History

Author: Africa Past and Present
Fri, Jan 30, 2009


Our first anniversary episode! Historian Martin Klein (Emeritus, U. of Toronto) reflects on African history and historiography and his life’s work on slavery in West Africa. Klein then sheds light on his ongoing research (in cooperation with leading Africanists) on African slaves. He concludes with observations about the state of historical research in Senegal, Mali, […]

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Episode 19: South African Cultural Heritage

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Dec 15, 2008


Narissa Ramdhani (Ifa Lethu CEO) — South African historian, archivist, and cultural heritage specialist — discusses her studies in exile in the USA and how she coordinated the return of 7 million documents from African National Congress offices in 33 countries to Johannesburg. The collection is now housed at the University of Fort Hare. Ramdhani […]

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Episode 18: The African Franchise in Colonial Zimbabwe

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Dec 01, 2008


Historian Luise White (U. of Florida) has published extensively on women’s history, medical history, political and military history, from East Africa to Central and Southern Africa.  She reveals the genealogy of her work on renegade white independence and describes the strange history of the African franchise in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. White concludes with her thoughts about where […]

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Episode 17: New Media and Southern African Studies

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Nov 19, 2008


New Media and Southern African Studies in the 21st century: What are the politics and ethics of digital knowledge production? How can podcasts enhance teaching, research, and international networking?  Listen to this stimulating discussion held at the recent NEWSA meeting — featuring yours truly, Elizabeth Green Musselman (Southwestern University), and questions from the audience (Download: […]

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Episode 16: Democracy and Labor, South African Perspectives

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Oct 30, 2008


Mac Maharaj (South African activist and intellectual) explains why the model of South Africa’s transition to democracy cannot be replicated in powersharing agreements in Kenya and Zimbabwe. In the second part of this episode, recorded at the NEWSA meeting in Burlington, VT, Alex Beresford (PhD candidate, University of Edinburgh) tells us about his research on […]

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Episode 15: Capitalism, Democracy, and Development

Author: Africa Past and Present
Wed, Oct 15, 2008


Kiki Edozie (James Madison College at MSU) compares recent corruption scandals in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.  She argues that democratic crises are closely tied to economic crises. At the end, the implications of these processes for African politics are considered.

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Episode 14: Concerned Africa Scholars / Women’s Sport

Author: Africa Past and Present
Tue, Sep 30, 2008


Concerned Africa Scholars co-chair Sean Jacobs discusses the goals of this organization, its new blog and web site, and upcoming panels at the ASA meeting in Chicago. The second part of this episode features a conversation about African women’s sport with Martha Saavedra (African Studies, UC-Berkeley) and Anisa Adem (Founder, Future Generation African Girls Association).

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Episode 13: Water, Land, and Refugees in southern Africa

Author: Africa Past and Present
Mon, Sep 15, 2008


Bill Derman (Anthropology, MSU) talks about his recent volume on Conflicts Over Land and Water in Africa (2007). He examines the role of government policies, local farmers, and chiefs in land reform in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Derman then shares his observations of refugee flows, and points to the sensitive position of researchers working in […]

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Episode 12: Atlantic History

Author: Africa Past and Present
Sat, Aug 30, 2008


Walter Hawthorne (History, MSU) is an expert on Africa and the Atlantic World in the era of the slave trade.  We talk with him (and Joseph Lauer) about the history of rice farmers on the Upper Guinea Coast and the vigorous debate over Judith Carney’s “Black Rice” thesis. Hawthorne closes by describing his forthcoming book […]

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Episode 11: Ethiopian Diaspora

Author: Africa Past and Present
Thu, Jul 31, 2008


Solomon Addis Getahun (Central Michigan University) discusses the history of Ethiopian immigrants and refugees in the USA. He describes the diversity of Ethiopians in the diaspora and their community organizations. For example, to overcome isolation and carve out an autonomous space within US society, in 1984 Ethiopians established the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America. […]

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