Feed on

Wesleyan University’s African Studies Cluster is devoted to facilitating a deeper understanding and engagement with Africa for the Wesleyan Community and beyond. We bring together a diverse array of courses focusing on Africa, culling the interests of faculty specializing in Africa from a wide variety of disciplines. This broadly interdisciplinary cluster focuses on a large geographic region that is of great historical, cultural, political, and artistic importance and interest to American university students, not to mention American society in general. The cluster promotes interdisciplinary learning in the best of liberal arts traditions.

See our Facebook page for more from African Studies @ Wes

Photos courtesy of Olivia Drake and various students and faculty.

Upcoming Events!

African Studies @ Wes

has a new homepage

Check it out!


Keep checking back here for more event updates and student blogs!


African Studies Courses for Fall 2015!

ARHA299 African History and Art

DANC 260 West African Dance I

DANC 360 West African Dance II

FIST 125 Jungle and Desert Adventures (NEW)

GOVT 324 Africa in World Politics

HIST 217 Africa to 1800 (New)

MUSC 445 West African Music and Culture – Beginning

MUSC 447 West African Music and Culture – Advanced

210px-King_Dom_Garcia_of_Kongo receiving missionaries 1641 to 1661

King Dom Garcia of Kongo receiving missionaries (17th century)

Ciwara dance in Bamako 2010 wiki

Ciwara dance in Bamako (Mali) in 2010


Political cartoon by Victor Ndula (Kenya) in 2015

Congratulations to the 2015

Brodigan Award Winners!

Holly Everett

Chloe Holden

Geneva Jonathan

Orelia Jonathan

Ibironke Otusile


Prof. Alice Hadler, Ibironke Otusile, Holly Everett, Orelia Jonathan, Geneva Jonathan,

Chloe Holden, and Profs. Laura Ann Twagira and Mike Nelson


Upcoming Talk!
“How Apartheid Ended: Mandela and the Last White Leaders of South Africa”

with Hermann Gilliomee

A Lecture in Honor of Prof. Rick Elphick

5/4 @ 6pm in Russell House

How Apartheid Ended Lecture


Think about Africa on Earth Day!

Tuesday, 4/21 @ Noon

Exkey Science Center, Room 058

Earth day talk with Gregg Mitman

“Forgotten Paths of Empire”

Earth Day Film Screening and Discussion

Wednesday 4/22 @ 4:30pm

DFC (Usdan, 3rd floor)

“In the Shadow of Ebola”



Africa Earth Day Events 2015



African Christianity Rising:

Stories from Ghana


with filmmaker/scholar Dr. James Ault

Monday, April 13 @ 8:30pm in Allbritton 103

“Striking, powerful & clarifying…” Andrew Walls     “Magnificent & moving…” Philip Jenkins   “An essential tool in African Studies…” Olufemi Vaughan

Image African Christianity Rising





The NILE PROJECT in Concert!


Friday, April 10 @ 8pmin Crowell Concert Hall


Pre-concert talk @ 7:15pm

$6 Wesleyan Students; $22 Wesleyan Faculty/Staff/Alumni; $25 General Public

Nile Project Aswan, Egypt, 8 March, 2014.




African Studies Information Session

Monday April 6th


PAC 002

Come Learn about next fall’s African Studies Course offerings

and the Christopher Brodigan Award for graduating seniors!

Pizza will be provided

African Studies Poster 2015.5_edited-1


Kampala city scene with boda and car traffic

Street Scene in Kampala, Uganda (2014)



Thursday, Feburary 26 @ 4:30pm in PAC 001

“The Classless Struggle: The Soviet Union and the Construction of Socialism in Africa”

A talk by Jeremy Friedman (Yale University)

The Classless Struggle Poster FINAL_edited-2

Mark Your Calendars!
Exciting Conference about Technology in Africa on Campus!

Africanizing Technology
March 5-6th, 2015

Thursday, March 5th

5:00pm Keynote Lecture  by Dr. Julie Livingston (Rutgers University)

“Pharmaceutical Technologies and the Nature of Efficacy in Botswana”

Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, Room 311

222 Church Street, Middletown, CT

Friday, March 6th

Conference Panels (9am-5:30pm)

Usdan University Center, Room 110

45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown, CT


9:00am Technologies of Identity and Knowledge Production

10:45am Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Development 

1:45pm Imagining New Technological Cultures

3:30pm Technological Cultures of Health and Healing



“American Slaves in North Africa:

Captivity Narratives from the early 19th century”

Thursday, February 19 @ 4:30pm in 41 Wyllys, Room 115

Tobias Auboeck, University of Innsbruck


Abstract: In the narrative about her captivity in Algiers in the early nineteenth century, Maria Martin states on numerous occasions that a certain event or feeling “must be imagined, rather than described.” Considering the fact that her narrative turns out to be completely fabricated, this expression receives an interesting second level of meaning – it describes the author’s process of inventing everything that Maria Martin supposedly goes through in the course of her narrative. This is all the more fascinating, as her narrative ended up being the most successful female-authored Barbary Coast captivity narrative ever to be published in the U.S. This study shows how the images and ideas depicted are often subconsciously constructed but also in some cases carefully drafted.



Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars


In Concert this Friday!


Feb. 13th @ 8pm in Crowell Concert Hall

(panel discussion at 7pm)

Tickets: $5 Wes Community, $10 General Public

SLRAS Concert Flyer

SLRAS-Concert-Flyer (downloadable pdf)

Submit to the African Studies

Student Blog!


Email your posts to wesafricablog@gmail.com


African Studies Blog Poster


Welcome Back to Campus!

African Studies is now on Facebook!

Like us @ African Studies at Wes

Check back soon for exciting events and concerts coming this spring!

Inline image 1

Nov. 6 from 5-6pm in the Zelnick Pavilion

(Refreshments Provided)

Come Meet the African Studies Faculty

Learn How to Build Your Own African Studies Course Concentration

Meet the Faculty and Learn About Upcoming Events!

All are Welcome!

Upcoming Student Events!

Nov. 7&8 The African Innovation Summit and Ariya Student Show

Check back for more details!


Open House Poster



“The Origins of Voluntary Compliance: Attitudes toward Taxation in Urban Nigeria”

with Adrienne Lebas (American University)

Monday 10/27 @ noon in PAC 004

How do states convince citizens to pay tax? Rather than
focusing on enforcement, most accounts emphasize voluntary or
“quasi-voluntary” compliance as an essential element in successful tax
regimes. There remains, however, limited understanding of how
voluntary tax compliance and the societal norms supporting it emerge.

This is an important issue in sub-Saharan Africa, where low reliance
on taxation is presumed to contribute to corruption and a lack of
government accountability. Prof. Lebas uses novel public opinion data
from urban Nigeria to examine why individuals adopt pro-compliance
norms. We find that citizens respond to state delivery of services,
but tax attitudes are also shaped by their access to services or “club
goods” provided by non-state actors.

Ebola Understanding the Public Health Response Oct 23 Poster (2)

Mark Your Calendars!

The second event on Ebola sponsored by African Studies is coming soon!

Ebola: Understanding the Public Health Response

Thursday, October 23 at noon in PAC 001


Dr. Matt Carter (Wes ’76), the Connecticut State Epidemiologist: What do we need to know about Ebola in C0nnecticut?

Prof. Anna Geltzer (SISP) : What do we know about international drug development and where Ebola fits into the picture?

Prof. Dave Constantine (Math) : What do we make of recent models for the spread of the virus?

All Are Welcome


Lunch talk sponsored by the History Department and African Studies:


Ebola in the News

A Historical and Political Perspective

A recent NPR story reported that the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus has “Broken All The Rules” (Sept 20, 2014).

“Worst Case Scenario: CDC Predicts 1.4 Million Cases in Four Months” (New York Times, September, 24, 2014)


Has Ebola broken all the rules? What do we know about past outbreaks?

What is the potential political impact for Africa?
Professors Bill Johnston (History), Laura Ann Twagira (History), and Mike Nelson(Government) will discuss the recent health crisis.

Monday, October 6, 12-NOON, PAC 002. Light lunch will be available.


Ebola in the News

Panel Discussion:
Gender, Islam, and the “Muslim Problem”

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 7:00 PM
CFA Hall

•   •   •
§ Aida Mansoor
¶ President of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut

§ Leila Buck ’99
¶ Writer, performer, and teaching artist

§ Dr. M. Saud Anwar
¶ Mayor of South Windsor, Connecticut

§ Typhaine Leservot
¶ Associate Professor of French and Letters

§ Peter Gottschalk
¶ Professor, Department of Religion
•   •   •
This panel, part of the Muslim Women’s Voices Project, will feature a discussion of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiments, which have proven so influential among non-Muslim Americans and Europeans. The panel will ask questions that will prepare the community for the larger, year-long look into the complexities that challenge what are often one-dimensional popular portrayals of Islam, gender, and Muslim groups and cultures.

From my colleague, Typhaine Leservot

A quick announcement to bring your attention to several events this week involving Northern Africa through the “Muslim Women Voices” festival:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 4:15 PM / Daltry Room (Music Rehearsal Hall 003) / free: Women’s Voices, Verbal Ability, and Symbolic Power: The Case of Moroccan Shikhat. Alessandra Ciucci analyzes a wedding celebration in Morocco to determine the role(s) of the shikhat, a class of professional female singer-dancers.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 7:00 PM / CFA Hall / free: Panel Discussion: Gender, Islam, and the ‘Muslim Problem’. Organized and moderated by Professor of Religion Peter Gottschalk.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM / World Music Hall / Free for Wes students. Meryem Saci Workshop: Music Is Medicine—Hip Hop Therapy for the Bifurcated Soul. In this workshop, Meryem Saci will explore her experiences as a refugee, an artist, and a Muslim woman. She will unpack the therapeutic and spiritual benefits that music can provide, pulling examples and lessons from her own history and life story. Meryem Saci fled Algeria in 2000 and now lives in Montréal.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9:00 PM / Fayerweather Beckham Hall / Planet Hip Hop Festival Concert – Evening performances by international Muslim women in hip hop, including London’s spoken-word duo Poetic Pilgrimage, the U.S. debut of Montreal-based Algerian singer-songwriter and rapper Meryem Saci (pictured) as a solo artist, and the New England debut of Washington, D.C.-based and Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter, poet, and emcee Maimouna Youssef a.k.a. Mumu Fresh as a solo artist.

More at a later date: look for Hind Benali, Moroccan dancer, who will come at Wesleyan the week of October 13th.

For more information about the entire MWV festival, please visit http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa/mwv

Women’s Voices, Verbal Ability, and Symbolic Power: The Case of Moroccan Shikhat.
Alessandra Ciucci (Northeastern University)
4:15 PM Wednesday, September 17
The Daltrey Room (Rehearsal Hall Room 003)

For musicians and audiences in North Africa and the Middle East hearing music means, first and foremost, hearing a poetic text. The Arabic term musiqa (music), in fact, needs to be understood as a relatively recent adoption brought about by colonial and post-colonial politics, conservatory training and, more recently, by the music industry. Poetry also plays a critical role in everyday life. In Morocco, where indirect speech is the preferred means of communication, poetry is the perfect coded vehicle of expression. Verses of a particular song in fact are often sung to comment on matters that are being discussed and, thus, woven in and out of spoken discourse. Singing therefore is both a socializing and an intimate discourse with which and through which people bond, express their inner selves, celebrate their desires, reflect on their predicaments, and question and challenge their status quo, reshaping ideas and reconfiguring boundaries of power.

But what does it mean for a female performer to be and to have such a poetic voice? What is her role in the context of performance? What is the role of traditional and improvised verses constituting the principal means of oral communication at occasions where participants share the understanding of the codes and convention of a specific genre of sung poetry? And what can an analysis of the interaction between audience and performers, and of the participation and socialization among the guests, reveal about the voice of a class of professional female singer-dancers (shikhat) in Morocco? In this talk I will analyze significant moments at a wedding celebration in Morocco in order to determine the role(s) of the shikhat and of a genre of sung poetry, aiṭa, in performances associated with ceremonies publicly sanctioning the transition and transformation of individuals. This ethnographic focus aims to present an analytical framework on researching authority, gender and access, and the notion of power and performance for women in North Africa and the Middle East.

Alessandra Ciucci received her PhD in music (ethnomusicology) from The City University of New York at The Graduate Center and is currently a Full-Time lecturer at Northeastern University in Boston. Her research focuses on the music of Morocco, music and gender, sung poetry, and music and migration in the Mediterranean. Her articles appear in Ethnomusicology, The Yearbook for Traditional Music, The International Journal of Middle East Studies, Mondi Migranti, Cahiers de musiques traditionnelles, and in several edited volumes. She is currently working on a book project tentatively titled Sounding Rurality: Tradition, Modernity, Migration and the Mediterranean Horizon. Ciucci has been a recipient of a Fulbright foreign scholarship grant (Morocco), a fellowship from the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women, a grant from the American Institute for Maghrib Studies Grant, and was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Music Department at Columbia University.

Older Posts »

Log in

This website uses a Hackadelic PlugIn, Hackadelic SEO Table Of Contents 1.7.3.