Outreach Scholars Program


Invite an Outreach Scholar to your (digital!) classroom

The African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is committed to providing support to teachers under all circumstances — including teaching during a pandemic.

We are happy to offer our expertise via our virtual Outreach Scholars program. Outreach Scholars are experts on a variety of African topics: from languages, culture and history to environmental conservation, social movements, and film studies.

We would love to help you bring an Outreach Scholar to your class virtually this fall. We’re happy to work with you on the timing, format, and content of the digital visit.

To invite an Outreach Scholar to your school or community event, please contact the African Studies Outreach Coordinator outreach@africa.wisc.edu or fill out this short form.

Popular requests:

  • Classroom presentations
  • African storytelling
  • Intro to an African language (for example Yoruba, Swahili, or Arabic)
  • Cultural demonstrations
  • Educational programs and curriculum consultation

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Our Outreach Scholars receive ongoing support as they develop and facilitate presentations. As they share their knowledge and expertise in classrooms and community settings, Outreach Scholars gain valuable public speaking and teaching experience that they bring with them to their future careers.

Community Feedback

“The presenters had first hand knowledge of living in Senegal and were extremely enthusiastic about the time they spent there. They were engaging speakers and understood what would be interesting to the audience. They were just wonderful–I think my students and I could have listened to them for hours! I would love to have them come back!” – Jennifer Wolfe, French teacher at Verona Area High School

“Professor Songolo was able to provide much more clarity to a difficult situation and my students benefited immensely!”—Carol Brey, teacher at Waunakee High Schooll

“I want to thank you for all your help in contributing to our African culture day. Students were absolutely delighted and want to do it again. They not only learned so much, but they had fun, too. They wish all their school days could be like this”—Barb Cnare, teacher at Watertown High School

“They really engaged the students, and captivated their interest. I had students comment on how helpful it was. We were really happy with the presentation, and my students really gained a lot. Thank you so much for setting everything up!”—Susan Baldwin, teacher at Adams-Friendship High School

“We had a WONDERFUL visit this morning, and the students welcomed Olayinka most warmly. Students were very comfortable with her, curious, and interested. Thank you so much for helping to arrange this amazing cultural exposure.”—Gail Sterkel, teacher at Monona Grove High School

“We can’t thank you and Theresah enough for the amazing program on Friday. The kids could not stop talking about it. Theresah did a beautiful job of teaching them age appropriate things and making it fun. We will for sure have the program back in the future!” –Sarah Popp, teacher at Our Redeemer Lutheran School

Faisal Abdu'Allah


6241 Humanities Building

Printmaking, installations; subject of contemporary art in relation to Afro-British culture; question issues of race and identity in relation to issues of cultural diversity and multiculturalism.

Sandra Adell

Languages: French, Spanish, Arabic
Research focus: Comparative Literature, Black Literature, Modern Narrative, Continental French Literature & Philosophy, Literary Theory and Criticism, African American Theater History
Countries of interest: Ghana, Morocco, Egypt

Office Phone: 608.263.0425
Email: saadell@wisc.edu

Adeola Agoke

Position title: Acting Language Program Director

1458 Van Hise

Tolu Akinwole

COUNTRY: Nigeria

LANGUAGES: Yoruba, Nigerian Pidgin

EXPERTISE: Literary criticism, postcolonial discourse, social media-enabled cultural expressions, African language pedagogy

TOPICS: “Yoruba Perspective on Love and Marriage,” “Let’s Speak Yoruba,” “How Tortoise Broke His Shell: A Lesson about Commitment.”


Araceli Alonso

Research focus: Women's Health, Women's Rights, Human Trafficking, Global Health
Countries of interest: Spain, Morocco, Cuba, Uganda, & Kenya

Office Phone:  608.263.5459
Email: aalonso@wisc.edu

Cynthia Anderson (Wautlet)

Research focus: Obstetrics and gynecology with research in Ethiopia
Countries of interest: Ethiopia

Office Phone: (608) 287-5898
Email: ckanderson@wisc.edu

Hanna Asmaeil




EXPERTISE: Literature, language education

Sumudu Atapattu

Position title: Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at UW Law School

Phone: 608-890-1395

Room 8113A, Law School

Sumudu Anopama Atapattu is the Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at UW Law School. She teaches in the area of International Environmental law and climate change and human rights . She holds an LL.M. (Public International Law) and a Ph.D. (International Environmental Law) from the University of Cambridge, U.K., and is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. Her books include: “Human Rights Approaches to Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities” (2015, Routledge, U.K); “International Environmental Law and the Global South” (2015, Cambridge University Press) (co-editor); and “Emerging Principles of International Environmental Law” (2006, Transnational Publishers, New York). She is affiliated with UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Global Health Institute, the Center for South Asia, and the 4W Initiative and was a visiting professor at Doshisha University Law School, Japan, in summer 2014 and Giessen University, Germany in summer 2016. She is also the Executive Director of the Human Rights Program at UW-Madison.

Joel Baraka

COUNTRY: Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

LANGUAGES: Kinyabwisha, Swahili, Basic Runyoro and Luganda

EXPERTISE: Education & Learning Through Game

TOPICS: Addressing inequalities within educational spaces, the need for diversity within learning spaces.

Lesley Bartlett

Research focus: International and Comparative Education, Literacy Studies (including multilingual literacies), Migration, and Educator Professional Development
Countries of interest: Tanzania, Brazil

Office Phone: (608) 262-2091
Email: lbartlett2@wisc.edu

Paul Block

Research focus: Water resources management, Climate variability and change, Hydro-economics, Global Health
Countries of interest: Ethiopia

Phone: (608) 263-8792
Email: pblock@engr.wisc.edu

Bill Brown

William Allen Brown, Ph.D., age 73, passed away at home on Tuesday, August 28, 2007. William was born on January 29, 1934 in Beauford, North Carolina, where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School prior to joining the Air Force. On leaving the Air Force, he enrolled in Kentucky State University, where he majored in History, Government, French Language and Literature; graduating with highest distinction as valedictorian in 1959. He was then awarded a Fulbright grant to attend the Universitè de Sorbonne in Paris, where he again led his class.

Upon completing his studies in France, he entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study African history and Islamic studies. At Wisconsin, he was awarded a number of fellowships, including: a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship in Arabic, and a Foreign Area Fellowship for Africa. He conducted research in Mali from 1965-66 for his doctoral dissertation, “The Caliphate of Humdullahi, ca. 1818-1864: A Study in African History and Tradition,” which he submitted to Wisconsin in 1969 and remains the authoritative study of the area.

Prof. Brown started his teaching career at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria and subsequently held positions at Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from which he retired as Emeritus Professor in 2006. He received research grants from the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, The American Council of Learned Societies, The American Philosophical Society , and he published “ Toward a Chronology for the Caliphate of Hamdullah,” Cahiers D’ etudes Africanines; “ A New Bio-bibliographical Aid; ‘ The Izalat Al-Rayb’ of Muhammad Boul Araf” and “Nasiwal Asudan”: A Guide to Legal History in Mali,” both in the Research bulletin Center of Arabic Documentation, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; and Great Rulers of the African Past. Prof. Brown also organized the first conference on Black Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967 that resulted in the publication of S. Henderson and M. Cook (eds.), The Militant Black Writer in the U.S. and Africa.

William Brown is preceded in death by both parents, Mildred and William Brown, a nephew, Stacy Mumford, and his youngest sister, Mildred Denise Brown. He is survived by two sisters, Patricia Lessner and Marsha Brown; two nephews, Mark and Myles; two nieces, April and Robin; four grand nephews, Shabar, Mark Jr., Amir and Jaden; two great nieces, Jaquel and Shanel; and his brother-in-law Fred Philpot Jr.

More information on the William Allen Brown Memorial Lecture Series can be found here.  

Find out more about the Memorial Lecture Fund here.

His full obituary can be found here

Matthew H. Brown

Research focus: African cinema, Video and visual cultures, African literature, Literary criticism, Cultural theory, Media studies, Yoruba language and culture, The Global South, Nollywood
Countries of interest: Nigeria

Phone: (608) 262-8983
Email: matthew.h.brown@wisc.edu

Henry Bunn

Research focus: Paleoanthropology, Early Pleistocene hominins, Diet and foraging strategies of early Homo, Behavioral ecology and archaeology of Hadza foragers near Lake Eyasi in northern Tanzania, and Excavations of Oldowan archaeological sites at Olduvai Gorge
Countries of interest: Tanzania

Phone: 608-263-6854
Email: htbunn@wisc.edu

Sabrina Butteris


Phone: (608) 265-5545

600 Highland Ave, H4/470

Emily Callaci

Research focus: Urban history, popular culture, gender, sexuality, and reproductive politics
Countries of interest: Tanzania

Phone: 608.262.6046
Email: ejcallaci@wisc.edu

(Joan) Hazel Carter

Joan Hazel Carter (22 February 1928 – 3 August 2016) was a British-American Linguist, known in particular for her work on the Bantu languages, Shona, Kongo and Tonga.

Born on 22 February 1928 to parents Charles and Constance Wilkinson, Hazel graduated from the County Grammar School for Girls in Beckenham, Kent, England in 1947 and received a full scholarship to Oxford University, Oxford, England where she was a member of St. Hugh’s College from 1947 – 1950.

In 1952 Hazel conducted fieldwork in Shona (in present-day Zimbabwe) and in Tonga from 1957 to 1960 (in present-day Zambia). A post-graduate scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, Hazel then became a lecturer in Bantu Languages at SOAS in 1954, with a promotion to Reader in Bantu Languages (1971 – 1983). In 1971 she received her doctorate with her dissertation, “Syntactic Tone Phrases in Kongo,” published in 1973 under the title, “Syntax and Tone in Kikongo.”

After one year as a visiting professor at the Department of African Languages & Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980-1981, Hazel retired from SOAS in London and moved permanently to the United States. First an Honorary Research Fellow, then a Visiting Professor, Hazel became a Full Professor at the University of Wisconsin in 1986. She retired in June 1995 and was appointed Professor Emerita.

In 2001 she received the Distinguished Services Award from the African Language Teachers Association.

Her full obituary can be found here


Jean-Paul Chavas

Research focus: Economics of agriculture, Price dynamics, Technological change, Applied econometrics, Economics of trade, Welfare, and Policy analysis
Countries of interest: Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Tunisia

Phone: 608.261.1944
Email: jchavas@wisc.edu

Kaiping Chen

Phone: 608.262.0184

316 Hiram Smith Hall

Kaiping Chen is an assistant professor in computational communication in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an affiliate of the UW-Madison Robert & Jean Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies, the African Study Programs, and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Chen’s research employs data science and machine learning methods as well as interviews to examine how digital media and technologies affect political accountability to public well-being and how deliberative designs can improve the quality of public discourse on controversial and emerging technologies. Chen’s work is interdisciplinary and draws from theories in communication, political science, and computer science.

Bruce M. Christenson

Research focus: Parasitology, Medical Entomology, Mosquito/Parasite Interaction, Pathogenesis, Microbiology, Immunology, and Zoology
Countries of interest: Egypt, Mali

James H. Conway

Research focus: HIV education, Immunization training, Influenza, Pertussis, Vaccine hesitancy
Countries of interest: Uganda

Phone: 608.263.0946
Email: jhconway@wisc.edu

Kelley Conway

Languages: French
Research focus: Francophone film, Gender and cinema, African film

Phone: 608.263.3977
Email: kelleyconway@wisc.edu

Philip Curtin

Curtin  was born in Philadelphia on May 22, 1922, and grew up in Webster Springs, West Virginia, the site of a coal and timber company owned by his family. He attended Swarthmore College, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree during 1948, having had a recess of three years while he served in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II, serving aboard ship as a radio operator. He did his graduate work at Harvard University, earning a Master of Arts degree during 1949 and was awarded his Ph.D. during 1953. His doctoral dissertation, titled “Revolution and Decline in Jamaica, 1830-1865” addressed 19th-century history and economics of Jamaica.

After graduation, he began teaching at Swarthmore College where he remained until 1956. He relocated to the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he taught from 1956 through 1975. There, Curtin and fellow historian Jan Vansina established a department of African languages and literature during 1956 (now the Department of African Cultural Studies), as part of one of the first academic African studies programs established at a college in the United States. From 1975 until the time of his death he was a member of the faculty of Johns Hopkins University.   

Recognized during 1983 as a MacArthur Fellow with its accompanying “genius grant”, Curtin published a total of 19 books, which include Death by Migration: Europe’s Encounter with the Tropical World in the Nineteenth Century, described by the American Historical Review (AHR) as “ground-breaking.” His most famous work, 1969’s The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census was one of the first estimates of the number of slaves transported across the Atlantic Ocean between the 16th century and 1870, yielding an estimate of 9,566,000 African slaves imported to the Americas.  Although subsequent authors have disputed this number, his work remains the most commonly cited. He also wrote about how many Africans were taken and from what location, how many died during the middle passage, how many actually arrived in the Americas, and to what colonies/countries they were imported.

You can find a memorial article published in the New York Times here

You can find his full obituary here, or here.

Katrina Daly Thompson

Research focus: Linguistic anthropology, African languages, Popular verbal arts, Critical discourse studies, Language socialization, Gender and sexuality, Islam, LCTL pedagogy, Learner autonomy
Countries of interest: Zimbabwe, Tanzania

Phone: 608.262.6537
Email: katrina.daly.thompson@wisc.edu

Rahel Desalegne

Position title: Adjunct Professor

Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Dr
Madison, WI 53706

Vlad Dima

Languages: French
Research focus: Francophone cinema, New Wave French cinema, Cinema/Television studies, Quebec novel, & Zombies
Countries of interest: West Africa

Phone: 608.262.4074
Email: dima@wisc.edu

Mary Dinsmore

COUNTRY: Madagascar
EXPERTISE: Environmental history of Madagascar, human-wildlife conflict
TOPICS: Conservation of lemurs and their significance (both ecological and cultural)

Moussa Diop

Languages: French
Research focus: Rental markets, Real estate finance, Mortgage securitization, Corporate real estate, & International real estate investment
Countries of interest: Senegal, South Africa

Phone: 608.262.3409
Email: moussa.diop@wisc.edu

Lori DiPrete Brown

Research focus: Global health care and social services for women and children
Countries of interest: Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Honduras, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia

Phone: 608.262.5742
Email: dipretebrown@wisc.edu

Meagan Doll

Position title: Assistant Director

Phone: 608.262.4460

Contact for Mandela Washington Fellowship, Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, external communications.

Meagan Doll is a graduate of the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication and formally served as the African Studies Program communications assistant. Meagan coordinates the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) at UW-Madison (yali@africa.wisc.edu), African Studies Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship awards (fellowships@africa.wisc.edu), alumni development and external communications efforts. Meagan is from western Wisconsin where she worked as a freelance reporter for two St. Croix River Valley publications, and she has also held positions with PBS MediaShift and the Center for Journalism Ethics. Her primary reporting interests include U.S. foreign policy, mass atrocity prevention and global health. Outside work, Meagan enjoys running, camping and photography.

Henry Drewal

Languages: French
Research focus: African and African Diaspora arts, Material culture/arts
Countries of interest: Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Togo, Morocco, Senegal, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, India

Phone: 608.263.9362
Email: hjdrewal@wisc.edu

Ainehi Edoro

Helen C. White Hall

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches and researches on African literature, political theory, and literature in social media. Edoro is the founder and Editor of Brittle Paper (https://brittlepaper.com/), a leading online platform dedicated to African writing and literary culture. Her current book project is titled “Forest Imaginaries: How African Novels Think.” She also writes essays and commentaries about contemporary African literary culture in mainstream publications such as The Guardian and Africa is a Country.

Lindsay Ehrisman

COUNTRY: Uganda and the broader Great Lakes region
EXPERTISE: Early African history, historical linguistics, gender and sexuality

Nevine El-Nossery

Languages: French
Research focus: Francophone literatures and cultures, women and self-writing, women and exile, trauma in literature and visual art
Countries of interest: North Africa, Quebec

Phone: 608.262.7940
Email: elnossery@wisc.edu

Samuel England

Languages: Arabic
Research focus: Arabic literature, Classical poetry, The lyric tradition, Literature dealing with the Crusades, Modern fictional treatments of the Middle Ages, Film studies
Countries of interest: Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon

Ann Evensen

Position title: Professor (CHS)

Phone: (608) 845-9531

Ann Evensen, MD, FAAFP, completed her undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She had residency training at the University of Washington-affiliated program in Renton, WA. Since residency she has practiced part-time but full-scope family medicine in rural and private practices in WA and WI.

Diana Chioma Famakinwa

Position title: Assistant Director

Phone: 608.262.2380

Contact for Africa at Noon, FLAS, and Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Diana Chioma Famakinwa is our new assistant director. She joins the African Studies Program from UW–Madison’s School of Education, where she recently completed her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies, with a concentration on comparative and international education and African studies. She has held administrative, research, and teaching positions with various units across campus and has a long track record of successfully managing a variety of international projects in nonprofit and university settings in Madison and beyond. Diana has experience living and researching in Nigeria, where she conducted an ethnographic case study of diaspora-homeland collaborations at Nigerian universities as a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) fellow in 2018-2019. As a scholar-practitioner in the field of international education and African diaspora studies, she looks forward to (re)connecting with members of the African studies community and promoting engagement with African languages and cultures in this virtual era.

Megan Fitzpatrick


Phone: (608) 262-5922

MC 8550
600 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53792-8550

Jeremy Foltz

Research focus: Technology adoption, Technological change, Biotechnology, Economic development, Political economy, Agricultural development in Africa
Countries of interest: Tunisia

Phone: 608.262.6871
Email: jdfoltz@wisc.edu

Eden Foster

Position title: Communications Intern

Contact for general inquires, features, and social media.

Eden Foster is a fourth-year undergraduate student. She became interested in African Studies when she studied abroad in Botswana the summer after her freshman year thanks to the UW Global Gateway Fellowship and has since focused her coursework and research on issues in Africa. This year, she received both a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship Award and a Chipstone-CDMC Fellowship Award for her research project, Building on a Dream: Finding Alternatives to FGM in Rural Kenya. Her research analyzes the efficacy of the Alternate Rite of Passage (ARP) in reducing rates of Female Genital Mutilation in Tharaka, Kenya and how the ARP can be further improved by providing curriculum for both facilitators and participants. She hopes to further her research in African Studies in graduate school after graduating this December.

Joshua Garoon

Research focus: Ways health, development, and the environment intersect across Africa and the United States, Environmental governance, Global Health Inequities, Anthropology, Sociology, Epidemiology
Countries of interest: Zambia

Phone: 608.890.0981
Email: garoon@wisc.edu

Tony Goldberg

Research focus: The ecology, epidemiology and evolution of infectious disease
Countries of interest: Uganda

Phone:  608.890.2618
Email: tony.goldberg@wisc.edu

Pablo Gómez

Research focus: History of health and corporeality in the early modern world, Latin America, The Caribbean, the African diaspora, The Iberian and Black Atlantic Worlds, The creation of evidence around the human body and the natural world in the early modern Caribbean
Countries of interest: Colombia, Cuba, Brazil

Phone: 608.262.3414
Email: pgomez@wisc.edu

Monica Grant

Research focus: Gender inequality in adult attainment, Early life course transitions (particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa), The intersection of education and adolescent reproductive health, The expansion of education in less developed countries, Family structure, Divorce
Countries of interest: Malawi

Phone: 608.262=.6261
Email: grantm@ssc.wisc.edu

Jonathan Gray

Research focus: Film, television, and music circulation and reception
Countries of interest: Malawi

Phone:  608-263-2541
Email: jagray3@wisc.edu

Sundaram Gunasekaran

Research focus: Biological systems engineering, CALS International Programs, Food science

Phone: 608.262.1019
Email: guna@wisc.edu

William Hachten

William Andrews Hachten, 93, passed away on May 15, 2018 in Madison. Bill was born November 30, 1924 in Wichita, Kansas and grew up in Huntington Park, California. From early childhood he was involved with football – first as a player and later as a fan and critic of the sport. He attended Stanford University on a football scholarship but played there for just one year before joining the Marine Corps. The Marine V-12 program sent him to UC Berkeley where he played guard on the 1943 and 1944 teams. After the war, he played one more season at Stanford before graduating with a degree in journalism in 1947. He was then drafted by the New York Giants and played as a guard for one season before a knee injury sidelined him permanently.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps from July 1943 to April 1946. After finishing the Marine V-12 program, he trained at Parris Island, Camp Lejeune, and Quantico, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1945.  For over a decade after the war, Bill worked as a professional journalist for several daily newspapers in southern California. In 1950, he took a six-month bicycle tour of ten European nations with a college friend that whetted his life-long love of international journalism and travel. After earning a master’s degree in journalism from UCLA and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, he joined the School of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960. His first book, The Supreme Court on Freedom of the Press, received the 1968 Delta Sigma Chi award for research on journalism.

In 1963, he became a member of the university’s new African Studies Program. Over the next three decades, he conducted research and taught workshops in more than a dozen African nations, and published numerous articles and books on African mass communications, including the groundbreaking Muffled Drums: The News Media in Africa. In 1972-73 he received a Fulbright grant to establish a School of Journalism at the University of Ghana.

After thirty years as a professor, and three years as the School’s director, Bill retired in 1989. But he continued his scholarly work, publishing several new books and continuing to update his popular textbook The World News Prism (the 9th edition, co-authored with James F. Scotton, appeared in 2015).

 You can read his full obituary here.


Mark Hairston

Research focus: Theater, African Diaspora, Community Development, Acting

A native of Washington, DC, Mark H. is a director, performer and educator with a primary focus on American theater and theater of the African diaspora. He is particularly drawn to classical works, innovative literary adaptations, and theater for community development. Mark is a graduate of the MFA Directing program at Columbia University School of the Arts, where he was the Dean’s Fellow and studied under the primary mentorship of Anne Bogart and Brian Kulick. His recent directing highlights include The Escape; or, A Leap for FreedomKing LearThe Cherry Orchard, and The Henry Dumas Project.  Along with directing, Mark has worked extensively as a professional actor with some of the nation’s leading theater companies. He graduated with High Honors from the BFA Acting program at Rutgers University, and was classically trained at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Most recently, Mark served as the Artistic Producer on Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s acclaimed production of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation…, and his current projects include Ms. Blakk for President at Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Assistant Director to Tina Landau) and a collaboration with the legendary Bill T. Jones on a new work scheduled to make its world-premiere at the Park Avenue Armory in NYC in the spring of 2020.

Rebecca Hanks

Position title: Communications & Outreach Intern

Phone: 608.262.2380

Contact for event promotion,
African Studies newsletter, social media.

Mary A. Hark

Research focus: Fiber and Material Studies, Art integration in schools, Papermaking, Ghanian textiles
Countries of interest: Ghana

Phone: 608.262.1367
Email: hark@wisc.edu

Lyndon Harries

Lyndon Harries (back row, second from the left) passed away on November 17, 1980 at his retirement home in Chilton, Wisconsin. His dual career as an Episcopalian priest and as a scholar and teacher of African languages and literature spanned more than fifty years.

Harries was born January 11, 1909 in Port Talbot, Glamorgan, U.K. He completed his B.A. (Honours, English) at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford in 1930. After two years’ further study  at Ely Theological College, Cambridge, he was ordained a priest in the Church of England. In 1935, he began ten years’ service as a missionary in the diocese of Maasai in southern Tanganyika. His first publications in the field of African languages, linguistics, and literature date from this period.

In 1945, he returned to the U.K. and began a four-year research fellowship at the school of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; during the final two years of the fellowship, he conducted research in Kenya on the tonal structure of Kikuyu. In 1953, he received his Ph.D. from SOAS.

During his tenure at SOAS, Harries’ research took him to the Congo in 1955, where he made a survey of 26 previously unstudied Bantu languages. In 1958, he had a study leave to conduct research on the Swahili Coast of East Africa.  He returned to the region again in 1962, working in Kenya, Zanzibar, and Tanganyika.

In 1964, Harries joined the faculty of the newly-formed Department of African Languages and Literature, now the Department of African Cultural Studies, at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He served as department chairman there from 1965 through 1969.

To read more on Lyndon Harries, click here.

Margaret Hawkins

Research focus: Applied linguistics and education, ESL & Bilingual Programs, Languages and literacies domestically and abroad
Countries of interest: Uganda

Phone: 608.263.4667
Email: mhawkins@education.wisc.edu

John Hawks


Phone: 608-262-8726

5325 Sewell Social Science Building

I’m an anthropologist, and I study the bones and genes of ancient humans. I’ve worked on almost every part of our evolutionary story, from the very origin of our lineage among the apes up to the last 10,000 years of our history.

My work has taken me to Africa, Asia, and Europe, where I have measured thousands of bones and investigated dozens of archaeological sites. In my lab, we use bioinformatics methods to work with whole genome sequences from thousands of living people (and a few ancient ones). We’re interested in uncovering the patterns of relationships that connect people, and the subtle changes by which we adapted to ancient environments. I’m an expert in population dynamics and the process of natural selection on both genes and morphological traits. I’ve used my work in genetics and skeletal biology to form rich collaborations with colleagues in a dozen countries.

Najma Ibrahim


LANGUAGES: Swahili, Borana

EXPERTISE: Literature, oral literature/storytelling

Pernille Ipsen

Research focus: Cultural and social history of the Atlantic world, Interracial marriage, race, and gender during European colonialism
Countries of interest: West Africa

Phone: 608.770.9843
Email: pipsen@wisc.edu

Sheriff Issaka



TOPICS: Islam in Africa, Religion in Africa

Safiya Jama


LANGUAGES: Swahili, Somali, Arabic

EXPERTISE: Languages, gender, literature

TOPICS: “Let’s learn Swahili!” “A Day in Kenya”

Cynthia Jasper

Research focus: Women’s leadership in philanthropy
Countries of interest- Malawi

Phone:  608.262.2384
Email: crjasper@wisc.edu

Archibald Campbell Jordan

Archibald Campbell Mzoliza Jordan Xhosa writer and linguist died in Madison, Wisconsin. Jordan was born on October 30, 1906 at the Mbokothwana mission station in the Tsolo district of Pondoland in South Africa. He graduated from Mbokothwana mission before moving to St John’s College in Umtata to become a teacher. He began his teaching career at St. Cuthbert where taught for a year and also excelled as choirmaster. Jordan then moved to teach at Kroonstand High School where he taught for ten years and was elected president of the African Teachers’ Association.

Jordan went on to study at the University of Fort Hare where he obtained a BA degree in 1934. During his period at the University of Fort Hare he authored poetry that was published in Imvo Zabantsundu a newspaper that aired the views of black people. In 1942 Jordan received his MA Degree from the University of Cape Town.  In 1945 Jordan began teaching in the Department of African Languages at Fort Hare. After receiving his doctorate in 1957, he was appointed as a lecturer in African languages at the University of Cape Town.

Jordan became an outspoken critic of the apartheid government’s racial policies. As a consequence, the government refused to issue him with a passport when he was offered the Carnegie bursary to conduct research work in the U.S. He then left South Africa on an exit permit. He was made a professor in African Languages and Literature at the University of California’s Los Angeles campus. He then moved to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and lived there until his death in 1968.

After his death, his novel Ingqumbo Yeminyana was published in English as The Wrath of the Ancestors in 1980, later translated into Afrikaans and Dutch. Jordan also authored a critical study of Xhosa literature which was published in 1972. The following year his collection of short stories Kwezo Mpindo zeTsitsa, in Xhosa was translated into English under the title Tales from Southern AfricaIn recognition to his literary contribution to South African literature, Jordan was posthumously awarded a doctorate in Literature by the University of Port Elizabeth in 2004. In 2005 the South African government also awarded him the Order of Ikhamanga in Gold for exceptional contributions in literature.

His full obituary can be found here.

Aruna Kallon

Position title: Events Coordinator

Contact for Africa at Noon logistics

Yoshihiro Kawaoka

Research focus: Influenza, Ebola, Veterinary virology
Countries of interest: Sierra Leone

Richard C. Keller

Research focus: History of European and global medicine and public health, Health and the global environment, Lyme disease
Countries of interest: Tunisia, Algeria

Phone: 608.263.7378
Email: rckeller@wisc.edu 

Nancy Kendall

Research focus: Comparative education, Education and democratization, Gender studies, HIV/AIDS education
Countries of interest: Malawi, Mozambique, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Zimbabwe.

Phone: 608.265.5955
Email: nkendall@education.wisc.edu

Harry Kiiru

Position title: Events Coordinator

Coordinates YALI and conference events

Sooji Kim

Position title: Outreach Coordinator

Phone: 608.265.9151

Contact for Day in Africa, outreach scholars, or discovery boxes

Christopher Kirchgasler

Research focus: Educational reform/change
Countries of Interest: Kenya

Chris was previously affiliated with African Studies at Kansas University, and both his current book project Gritty: A Genealogy of the Global Learning Crisis and the Child and other related publications continue to draw significantly upon research he did into conditions of colonial and contemporary school reforms in Kenya.

His current research explores a few related moments—specifically, the translation of U.S.-sponsored school reforms in Kenya Colony; 2) the development of prison village re-education in response to Mau Mau; and, 3) the rapid scaling up of data-driven low-fee for-profit school reforms in Kenya. He uses these historical juxtapositions in order to understand how each configured the crisis in terms of a lack of psychological qualities deemed necessary for progress. Today, this is stated as the desire for the gritty child who is posited as able to overcome various the various forms of economic, social, and political precarity and as a guaranteeing national and global economic futures.

Heinz Klug

Research focus: Comparative law, Constitutional law, Human rights law, International law, Property law, Post-apartheid law
Countries of interest: South Africa, Botswana

Phone: 608.262.7370
Email: heinz.klug@wisc.edu

Neil Kodesh

Position title: Faculty Director

Phone: (608) 262-1760

UW Madison - Department of History 3211 George Mosse Humanities Bldg.
455 N. Park St., Mailbox 5023 Mosse Humanities

Neil Kodesh is a historian of East Africa with a particular emphasis on the Great Lakes region. His research and teaching interests center on medical history, historical anthropology, and multidisciplinary methodologies for writing African history. His first book, Beyond the Royal Gaze: Clanship and Public Healing in Buganda, examined how the domains of politics and public healing were intimately entwined in Buganda, a kingdom located on the northwest shores of Lake Victoria in present-day Uganda, from the sixteenth through the early nineteenth centuries. The book won the Melville Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association.

He is currently working on two projects. The first is a historical ethnography of Mengo Hospital, the first hospital established in present-day Uganda. The second – Mapping Hot Spots: ‘One Health’ and the History of Infectious Disease Research in Africa – is part of a collaborative research cluster with Tony Goldberg (Pathobiological Sciences) and Josh Garoon(Community and Environmental Sociology). This project emerged from an earlier collaboration with Claire Wendland (Anthropology) and Pablo Gomez (Medical History) that created a program to expand graduate-level teaching and the development of research partnerships on the theme of “Health, Healing, and Science in Africa.” The program culminated with an international conference on “Big Stories and Close (Up) Research: Health and Science in the African World.”

Neil Kodesh

Languages: Luganda
Research focus: History of the Great Lakes Region, Buganda, Medical history, Historical anthropology
Countries of interest: Uganda, Tanzania

Phone: 608.263.2395
Email: kodesh@wisc.edu

Robert Koehl

Bob Koehl joined the faculty of UW- Madison Department of history in 1964 and served as full faculty until he retired in 1997. His life in Madison reached far beyond the university and is beloved by many. He was an avid historical site visitor, music collector, stamp collector and train and trolley supporter.  He was awarded upon retirement professor Emeritus status by Wisconsin in 1997 and continued to supervise students for years. Bob also was a founder of the Department of Educational Policy Studies and specialized in comparative and international education. Many of his students are world leads in international education and are still close to Bob.  

Bob Koehl is a graduate of Harvard College and University, BA , MA and PhD as well as member Phi Beta Kappa. Bob’s studies were interrupted by World War II where he served in European theater occupied by Germany and Axis. Bob was in US Army Intelligence in the war where his knowledge of language was useful as an interrogator. Bob wrote about European history and specialized in NSDAP Nazis and fascism. His World War II course was extremely popular all the years he offered it. He went on to teach at MIT in Boston, University of Nebraska and UW- Madison.

You can read his full obituary here.  


Omnya Kohla

LANGUAGES: Modern Standard; Egyptian Arabic
EXPERTISE: Arabic, everyday Muslim experience
TOPICS: Cultural events, Islamic celebrations

Gloria Ladson-Billings

Research focus: Multicultural education, Social studies in elementary education, Critical race theory

Phone: 608.263.1006
Email: gjladson@wisc.edu

James LaGro

Languages: German
Research focus: Community livability and sustainability, Effective smart growth strategies for urban and suburban neighborhoods
Countries of interest: Switzerland, Caribbean

Phone: 608.263.6507
Email: jalagro@wisc.edu

Rebecca Larson

Research focus: Bio-waste, Manure management, Agricultural sustainability
Countries of interest: Uganda

Phone: 608.890.3171
Email: rebecca.larson@wisc.edu

Aberdeen Leary

Position title: Communications & Outreach Intern

Phone: 608.262.2380

Contact for event promotion,
African Studies newsletter, social media.

Aberdeen Leary is a senior undergraduate student at UW-Madison, majoring in English with certificates in African Studies, Environmental Studies, and Global Health. She recently returned from Accra, Ghana, where she studied health, social activism, and environmental studies, as well as serving as Communications Intern for Days for Girls Ghana. Aberdeen enjoys photography and has found her inspiration in Madison, where she enjoys rides on the bike path, exploring Picnic Point, and taking trips to the farmers market every Saturday morning.

Jennifer Lien

COUNTRY: Nigeria
EXPERTISE: Egúngún masaquerades,
Yoruba twins
TOPICS: “Double Power, Double Trouble: Memorial Art for Twins in Yorubaland”

Keisha Lindsay

Research focus: Black masculinity, Intersectionality, Black feminism, Caribbean politics

Phone: 608.263.1959
Email: knlindsay@wisc.edu

Dennis Lloyd

Position title: Director, University of Wisconsin Press

Phone: 608-263-1101

Carly Lucas

Position title: Communications Coordinator

Contact for general inquires, newsletter, and social media

Carly Lucas looks at intellectual history in East Africa. Her dissertation focuses on the political theories and ideas that circulated Dar es Salaam and the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) from 1965 through the 1980s. During this period, Dar’s thinkers and those who sought political refuge there cultivated a vibrant intellectual community. My current research focuses on their ideas about neocolonialism as well as its psychological consequences. She is interested in the movement of ideas, texts, and people in and out of this city, and how Dar’s pan-African circles urged fomented an intellectual movement around anti-imperialist discourses and debates.

Luís Madureira

Languages: Portuguese
Research focus: Luso-Brazilian colonial and postcolonial studies, Modernism and Modernity in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, Early modern and colonial studies, Theatre and performance in Africa
Countries of interest: Mozambique, Cape Verde, Brazil, Carribean

Phone:  608.262.2093
Email: lmadurei@wisc.edu

Luís Madureira

Position title: Faculty Director

Phone: (608) 262-2093

1470 Van Hise

Luís Madureira is a professor in the Department of African Cultural Studies, and he has been a member of the African Studies program since he joined UW-Madison almost three decades ago. Luís earned his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, San Diego. His research interests include Luso-Brazilian colonial and postcolonial studies, Modernism and Modernity in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, early modern and colonial studies, and theatre and performance in Africa. He has published two books and several articles on these and related topics.

Currently working on a book-length project that centers on the complex ways in which Mozambican drama (ranging from the Marxist-Leninist republic to neoliberal, multiparty democracy) negotiates and re-articulates ethnic, class and gender identities both against and alongside dominant nationalist ideologies. His second on-going project examines several Luso-African historical novels and explores the entanglements inherent to the adoption of a classical European genre buttressed by the very notions of cultural difference, gendered subjectivity and teleological time that postcolonial reinterpretations of the past ostensibly seek to interrogate.

Upenyu Majee

Position title: Mandela Washington Fellowship Academic Coordinator

Coordinates MWF academic roundtables and academic programming, interfaces with academic presenters.

Kathryn Mara

Country: Rwanda and the Rwandan Diaspora in North America
Languages: Kinyarwanda; Swahili
Expertise: Genocide; (Critical) Discourse Analysis; Language Self-Instruction; Literature; Autoethnography; Media Representations of “Africa”
Topics: “The 1994 Genocide in Rwanda: An Introduction”; “How Should We Talk About Africa?”; “Muraho! Mwitwa nde?: Saying Hello and Introducing Yourself in Kinyarwanda”

Ryan McAdams

Phone: (608) 417-6236


Phone:For Patients
For Academic Inquiries: (608) 417-6236

Aleia McCord

Position title: Associate Director

Phone: 608.262.4461

Contact for graduate certificate and PhD minor, partnerships, grants and funding, visiting scholars, office operations.

Aleia McCord studies the relationships between energy and health in east Africa using mixed methods from the social and natural sciences. Her most recent work examined the economic, social, and environmental impacts of micro-scale anaerobic digesters in Uganda. From 2012-2016, McCord co-founded and led a renewable energy and agricultural research station in Mukono, Uganda. The center works with private-sector commercial partners and researchers from Makerere University Center for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation to develop and test innovative waste management and renewable energy technologies. She holds a Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Aleia McCord

Research focus: Relationships between energy and health in east Africa
Countries of interest: Uganda, Ghana

Phone: 608.262.4461
Email: aleia.mccord@wisc.edu

Richard McFarland

Research focus: Biological anthropology, Primatology, Physiology, Behavioral ecology
Countries of interest: South Africa

Phone: 608.262.7395
Email: richard.mcfarland@wisc.edu

Muhammad Memon

Muhammad Umar Memon, a UW–Madison professor who was an internationally renowned scholar of the Urdu language and literature, died June 3. He was 79. Memon’s lifelong work was to raise the awareness of Urdu in the West through his scholarship and teaching, and by editing an influential Urdu journal.

Born to a prominent family in Aligarh, India, near Delhi, and educated at Pakistan’s Karachi University, Memon attended Harvard University on a Fulbright scholarship and received a Ph.D. from the University of California-Los Angeles in 1971. He met his wife, Nakako, in the United States and came to UW–Madison in 1970 to take a joint appointment as assistant professor in the Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies and the then-Department of Indian Studies. Throughout his 38 years at the university, he taught courses on Urdu language, literature, Islam, and Arabic Studies. In addition, he was an accomplished translator, poet and Urdu short story author.

Following his retirement in 2008, Professor Memon continued writing, translating and publishing.  Emeritus professor Joe Elder worked alongside Professor Memon in the Department of South Asian Studies (then named Languages and Cultures of Asia) for decades.  The Annual of Urdu Studies began at the University of Chicago in 1980, and in 1993, Professor Memon assumed the editorship, and brought the publication to UW–Madison.

Read the full article from UW-Madison news here.      

Gregg Mitman

Research focus: Environmental history, The history of science, Medical history, Visual culture of science and medicine
Countries of interest: Liberia

Phone: 608.262.9140
Email: gmitman@med.wisc.edu

Marissa Moorman

Position title: Professor

1408 Van Hise

Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué

Research focus: Feminism, Gender Studies, History
Countries of interest: Cameroon

Dr. Mougoué is an interdisciplinary feminist historian of Africa interested in how constructions of gender inform the comportment and performances of the body, religious beliefs, and political ideologies. Mougoué has visited campus on multiple occasions as a scholar, visiting our Africa library collections and presenting her research at Africa at Noon in 2017 and 2019.

Mougoué received her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Purdue University, as well as a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her articles have appeared in a wide variety of academic journals including Gender & History, the Journal of West African History, and Feminist Africa, and her first book, Gender, Separatist Politics, and Embodied Nationalism in Cameroon is forthcoming with the University of Michigan Press in 2019. Mougoué will be working on her second book project as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Moore Institute in NUI Galway in the Republic of Ireland this summer.

In her free time, Mougoué gives talks at women’s prisons on issues pertaining to self-esteem, identity, and overcoming abuse. She also enjoys long-distance running, traveling, photography, painting, and writing poetry and short stories.

Mwita Muniko

LANGUAGES: Swahili, Kuria
EXPERTISE: Language pedagogy, critical theory, literary criticism, cultural studies
TOPICS: “Let’s Learn Swahili!”

Mustafa Mustafa

Languages: Arabic

Phone: 890.2098
Email: mamustafa@wisc.edu

Lisa Naughton

Research focus: Wolf recovery, Protected areas, Sustainable development, Role of tropical forests in slowing climate change
Countries of interest: Uganda, Ecuador, Peru, Uganda, Chile, Rwanda, Kenya

Phone: 608.262.4846
Email: lisa.naughton@wisc.edu

Larry Nesper

Research focus: Cultural anthropology, Legal anthropology, North America, Wisconsin, Cultural anthropology, Legal anthropology, North America, Wisconsin
Countries of interest: Senegal

Phone: 608.265.1992
Email: lnesper@wisc.edu

James M. Ntambi

Research focus: Human and animal nutrition
Countries of interest: Uganda

Phone: 608.265.3700
Email:  ntambi@biochem.wisc.edu 

Omotola Okunlola

COUNTRY: Nigeria
LANGUAGES: Yoruba, Pidgin English
EXPERTISE: English literature
TOPICS: Cultural practices in Nigeria

Theophilus Okunlola

COUNTRY: Nigeria


EXPERTISE: Postcolonial literature and theory; Cultural memory and genocide studies; Black visual cultures

Olayinka Olagbegi-Adegbite

Position title: Outreach Coordinator

Contact for Outreach Scholars program, Discovery Boxes, and Day in Africa event

Olayinka Olagbegi-Adegbite joins the African Studies Program from UW-Madison’s School of Education, where she recently completed her PhD. in Educational Policy Studies, with a concentration on Comparative and International Education, and a minor in Curriculum and Instruction. She has held administrative, teaching, and project assistant positions with various units across campus and has a track record of successfully working with first-generation, underrepresented students of color from low-income backgrounds through pre-college programming, like PEOPLE. Olayinka has experience living and researching in Nigeria. Her dissertation engages the comparative case study approach to examine the implications of language policies on teachers’ pedagogical practices in K-3 education settings within densely multilingual communities. As an educator, Olayinka is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion as they relate to language and educational opportunities for the underserved.

Tejumola Olaniyan

Research focus: African and African diaspora, Postcolonial, Drama, Interdisciplinary teaching
Countries of interest: African diaspora

Phone: 608.263.2848
Email: tolaniyan@wisc.edu

Christopher Olsen

Position title: Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences

Office: Health Science Learning Center Room 4276

Moses Oluwanifise

COUNTRY: Nigeria


EXPERTISE: Storytelling, music, education

Michael Oshindoro

COUNTRY: Nigeria


EXPERTISE: Storytelling, music, education

Perpetua Owese

LANGUAGES: Swahili, Kenyan Sign Language
EXPERTISE: Kenyan Sign Language
TOPICS: Cultural practices in Kenya

Mutlu Özdoǧan

Research focus: Remote sensing, Hydrology, Land-use, Land-cover change
Countries of interest: Sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia

Phone: 608.890.0336
Email: ozdogan@wisc.edu 

Lindsay Palmer

Languages: Lusaka
Research focus: International communications, Theories of globalization, Journalism studies, Media ethics, Cultural studies
Countries of interest: Zambia, Liberia, Kenya

Phone: 608.709.6593
Email: lindsay.palmer@wisc.edu

Lauren Parnell Marino

Position title: Undergrad Advisor & Outreach Project Assistant

Phone: 608.265.9151

Contact for undergraduate advising (advising@africa.wisc.edu),
k-16 outreach, Day in Africa.

Lauren is a doctoral student in Development Studies program at UW-Madison. Her research focuses on women’s participation in the labor force in East Africa, gender, empowerment, and social capital. She is currently learning Luganda. Lauren previously worked for Ashoka, Uganda Crafts 2000 Ltd., and the Interfaith Youth Core. She holds an MA in Gender, Globalization, and Rights from the National University of Ireland-Galway, where she was a George J. Mitchell Scholar, and a BS in Social Policy from Northwestern University. In her free time she loves baking, gardening, and photography.

Schedule an appointment with Lauren: Scheduling Assistant

Jonathan Patz

Research focus: Global health, public health, Global climate change, Infectious diseases, Urban air pollution, Land use change, The built urban environment, and Transportation planning effects on health
Countries of Interest: Ethiopia, Brazil

Phone:  608.262.4775
Email:  patz@wisc.edu

Travis Pickering

Research focus: Biological anthropology, Taphonomy
Countries of interest: South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania

Phone: 608.262.5818
Email: tpickering@wisc.edu

Thomas Popkewitz

Research focus: Educational research and evaluation, Educational reform/change, Curriculum theory, Teacher education
Countries of interest: South Africa

Phone: 608.263.7343
Email: tspopkew@wisc.edu

Will Porter

Position title: Events Project Assistant

Phone: 608.265.9151

Contact for African Studies
annual conference, special events.

Will Porter is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts in trombone performance. He studies the relationship between classical-music education and social development in Mozambique. Will received his undergraduate degree from the University of Leeds, and holds a Master of Music from the Royal Academy of Music.

Ronald Radano

Research focus: Ethnomusicology, US Black music and its transnational circulation.

Jess Reed

Research focus: Phytochemistry, Nutrition, Effects of oilgomeric polyphenols on the health of animals and humans
Countries of interest: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Zimbabwe

Phone:  608.263.4310
Email:  jdreed@wisc.edu

Aaron Rock-Singer

Phone: 608.263.1848

Office: 4118 Mosse Humanities Building
Mailbox: 4008 Mosse Humanities Building
Office Hours: TBA

I am a historian of the modern Middle East, with a research focus on 20th century Islamic movements and states. I use the tools of social and intellectual history to trace the emergence and performance of particular projects of piety and, more broadly, the ways in which men and women employ their bodies to challenge the prescriptive visions of religious elites to regulate daily practice. In my first book, Practicing Islam in Egypt: Print Media and Islamic Revival (Cambridge, 2019), I drew on ideologically diverse Islamic magazines from this period to chart the rise of an Islamic Revival in 1970s Egypt within a larger global story of religious contestation and change.

My second book project, entitled In the Shade of the Sunna: Salafi Piety in the Twentieth Century Middle East, explores Islam’s fastest growing movement through a transnational lens. Moving beyond a focus on specific organizations or commitment to the boundaries of particular nation states, it traces the emergence and consolidation of distinctly Salafi social practices between 1926 and present. To do so, it draws on over 150,000 pages of Salafi print media found in traditional archives, used-book markets and contemporary Salafi websites. Based on these sources, it explores the development of particular practices as a lens to understanding Salafism’s internal dynamics of authority, its relationship to Secularism and Islamism, and the unacknowledged reinvention of the Sunna by pious Muslims in the modern period. Threaded throughout the project is an argument that Purist Salafism’s defining practices can only be understood within a global story of the distinctly performative demands of modern visions of gender, communal membership, and piety. Alongside careful analysis of the texts that Salafis hold dear, the project tells a story of how and why precise religious practice becomes a measure of faith and of how the signifying purpose of particular practices to other Muslims and non-Muslims alike comes to exceed and even overshadow their ethical function

My teaching interests include pre-modern Islamic history, modern Islamic movements, contemporary Middle Eastern politics (particularly the Arab Spring) and global religious change in the 20th century.

Cooper Rosin

Languages: Spanish
Research focus: Ecology, Conservation biology,
Countries of interest: Botswana, Guyana, Gabon

Phone: 608.772.2667
Email: crosin@wisc.edu

Reginold Royston

Research focus: New Media, Innovation in the African Diaspora, Ghana’s digital diaspora
Countries of interest: Ghana, The Netherlands

Phone: 608.263.2900
Email: rroyston@wisc.edu

Matthew Ruark

Research focus: Dairy production, Cover crops, Potato & vegetables, Soil health, Water quality

Phone: 608.263.2889
Email: mdruark@wisc.edu

Karen Sage

Position title: Financial Specialist

Phone: 608.262.1650

Lesley Sager

Research focus: Interior design
Countries of interest: Kenya

Phone: 608.890.3265
Email: lhsager@wisc.edu

Ellen Sapega

Languages: Portuguese
Research focus: Portuguese modernism, memory, visual culture and commemoration since the late 19th century, Cape Verdean literature, The contemporary Portuguese novel
Countries of interest: Portugal, Cape Verde

Phone: 608.262.3621
Email: ewsapega@wisc.edu

James Schauer

Research focus: Air pollution, Climate change, Sensitive ecosystems
Countries of interest: Uganda

Phone: 608.262.4495
Email: jjschauer@wisc.edu 

Jessica Schmidt

Position title: Director, Global Health and Assistant Professor (CHS)

Phone: (608) 265-3718

Dr. Jessica Schmidt serves as the director of global health at the University of Wisconsin Department of Emergency Medicine, as well as the assistant director for clinical ultrasound at The American Center and assistant director of ultrasound for medical student education. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. While in Baltimore, she completed a Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she focused on epidemiology and biostatistics. Dr. Schmidt completed her emergency medicine residency training at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. She then chose to focus on ultrasound and global health by completing an ultrasound fellowship at Denver Health Medical Center.

Nathan Schulfer

Research focus: Ecosystem services and food security
Countries of interest: Bostwana and Gabon

Phone:  608.263.7771
Email:  schulfer@wisc.edu

Gay Seidman

Research focus: Sociology of development in Southern Africa and Latin America, Political sociology
Countries of interest: Brazil, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa

Phone: 608.263.3887
Email: seidman@ssc.wisc.edu

Ajay Sethi

Research focus: Infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, Alcohol and other substance use
Countries of interest: Uganda

Phone: 608.263.1756
Email: ajay.sethi@wisc.edu

Kipsang Shadrack


LANGUAGES: Kalenjin, Swahili, and Portuguese

EXPERTISE: Language research and documentation, indigenous life studies, linguistics

Marwa Shalaby

3430 Sterling Hall

Marwa Shalaby is an assistant professor in the departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Shalaby was the Fellow for the Middle East and Director of the Women’s Rights in the Middle East Program, Rice University, Texas and a Visiting Scholar at the Program of Governance and Local Development (GLD), University of Gothenburg. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Politics and Religion and Review of Economics and Political Science.

Fred Simoons

Frederick J. Simoons (1922) was an American anthropologist, a scholar of cultural geography and professor emeritus at the University of California at Davis. He was most known for his research on food prohibitions in Africa and Asia (most notably in Ethiopia), to which he devoted 40 years of study. 

You can find some of his publications here.

Dawd Siraj

Research focus: Infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis
Countries of interest: Ethiopia

Neil Skinner

Professor Emeritus A. Neil Skinner, age 93, passed away peacefully Saturday, March 7, 2015, at Capitol Lakes Terraces, with his wife Meg, their son Ben and his daughter Evelyn by his side. Alexander Neil Skinner was born in Hankou, China on November 13, 1921 to Dr. Alexander Hugh Skinner and Winifred Mary (Beney) Skinner.

After achieving a First during his only year at Cambridge (1941), he was conscripted into the Royal Artillery, for which he was manifestly ill-suited. The Colonial Office gave him the option of colonial service. He was posted to Sokoto in Northern Nigeria. In order to pass language exams of the colonial service, Neil earnestly set about learning not only Hausa, but later Fufulde (Fulani).

He served as assistant District Officer in Kano before being appointed private secretary to the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Provinces, Sir John Patterson. Sir John recommended that Neil be seconded to the Aden Protectorate (now south Yemen). He spent 1945-47 in Aden and Mukalla, during which he became fed up with the British bureaucracy, and asked to return to Nigeria. He served as District Officer in Gombe and Bauchi, then asked to be seconded to the Northern Region Literature Agency (NORLA) which published educational books, a newspaper, and novels by Nigerian authors in their own languages. He also became known as an accomplished polo player, on the team which won the Nigerian Cup in 1948, marking the Emir of Katsina on his home field. He married Philippa (Pip) Goldsmith in March, 1950, to whom daughter Evelyn Margaret was born in 1951, and Simon Alexander was born in 1953.

Shortly before Nigerian independence in 1961, the Skinners moved to Dunedin, NZ, where Neil taught adult education classes for Otago University, including teaching Maori to Maoris, and served as a radio commentator on foreign affairs for NZBC. He maintained his fluency in Hausa by translating three volumes (over 1200 pages) of Hausa Tales and Traditions originally collected by Frank Edgar. He also compiled the first English-Hausa Dictionary, the first of three dictionaries he published in his lifetime. In 1963-64, he was invited to teach Hausa at UCLA, and then in 1966, U.W.-Madison’s African Languages and Literature Department of U.W.-Madison hired him. His wife and children declined to be uprooted yet again, and remained in New Zealand.

At U.W.-Madison, Neil taught Hausa, Fufulde, and Arabic language and literature. He published dictionaries, translations, and teaching materials still in use today. He also taught in the Hausa and Nigerian Languages Depts. of Abdullahi Bayero College, Kano, and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. In 1983, he assisted scholars compiling a dictionary of Hausa-Chinese at the First Foreign Language Institute, Beijing. He married Margaret (Meg) Gardner in 1970, and their son Ben was born in 1976.

Following his retirement in 1989, he completed a Comparative Hausa dictionary, and, together with a former student, a dictionary of Bwatiye/Bachama, and a light-hearted memoir, Burden at Sunset: Last Days of Empire. He was a member of the Friends of the Arboretum, and the United Nations Association, and maintained a vital interest in global affairs. He read voraciously, finishing 2-3 books per week. In 2000, a stroke faded his sharp wit, but to those who loved him, he had a twinkle in his eye until his last moments.

He was predeceased by his parents, and his sister Jennifer, his first wife Philippa Skinner, his mentor Edwin Ker and friends Dennison Brock and John Armstrong. He is survived by his wife Margaret (Meg) Skinner, their son E. Benjamin Skinner of NYC, his daughter Evelyn Skinner of Clyde, NZ, and son Simon (Sue Gifford) Skinner of Wellington, NZ, and twin grandchildren, Penny Skinner, a solicitor in Wellington NZ and Harry Skinner, a dancer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

During his lifetime, Neil gave emergency support to several African students to complete their UW degree programs, and to continue this work, memorial contributions are welcome to the  A. Neil and Meg Skinner African Students Assistance Fund (Fund #132818133). Gifts to this fund can be made online at: myuwconnect.org. Alternatively, American Players Theatre productions have given Neil much pleasure over many summers, and memorial contributions can be made to APT at P.O. Box 819, Spring Green, WI 53588.

His full obituary can be found here.

Emilie Songolo

Research focus: African commemorative fabrics, African studies, Francophone studies, African cinema

Phone: 608.265.4740
Email: emilie.songolo@wisc.edu

Emilie Songolo

Position title: African Studies Bibliographer

Phone: 608.265.4740

Contact for library collections, research, African Studies digital collection.

Emilie Songolo is Senior Librarian for African, Global and Francophone Studies and Social Sciences. She is also the UW-Madison Coordinator of International and Area Studies for libraries. Emilie currently chairs the Africana Librarian’s Council Title 6 group and is the curator of a large collection of African commemorative fabrics; part of this collection can be viewed on the UW Digital Collection Center’s database of Images of Commemorative Fabrics from Africa. Her current research focuses on the acquisition, preservation and access of African ephemera and media. She has published on women in African cinema. In 2014, she launched the International Women’s Day Conference  to examine and address gender disparity locally and globally. Emilie is the recipient of multiple awards including the UW-Madison Librarian of the Year, the UW-Madison Outstanding Woman of Color, the Dr. Brenda Pfaehler Award of Excellence and the UW-Madison Academic Staff Assembly Commendation for Outstanding Service in the Community. She is a graduate of the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, Mount Holyoke College, and UCLA where she earned her Master’s of Library and Information Science.

Amy Stambach

Research focus: Cultural anthropology, Production and mobilization of environmental knowledge, Gendered and generational aspects of secondary schooling in East Africa
Countries of interest: East Africa, Tanzania

Daniel Stolz


Phone: 608.263.1778

5110 Mosse Humanities Bldg.

I research and teach the history of the late Ottoman Empire and the emergence of the modern Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  I am especially interested to understand how Ottomans used new kinds of technical knowledge to transform their society in the decades before World War I. My first book, The Lighthouse and the Observatory: Islam, Science, and Empire in Late Ottoman Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2018) shows how new astronomical practices enabled the growth of the modern Egyptian state, as well as the emergence of Islamic movements that emphasized uniform and precise observance of ritual duties.  I am currently beginning research for a new book, Middle East Public Debt and Global Financial Knowledge. This project investigates the Ottoman state defaults of the 1870s as part of the global rise of sovereign debt and its forms of expertise.

In addition to The Middle East in the Twentieth Century (History 139), I offer courses that explore science, technology, and religion in Middle East History.

Karla Strand

Phone: (608) 265-5408

430 Memorial Library

Karla J. Strand is the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian for the University of Wisconsin System. Created in 1977, the GWS Librarian’s Office is one of the premier resources for support of gender, women’s, and LGBTQ studies scholarship and librarianship in the country. From a base at UW Madison’s Memorial Library, Dr. Strand provides research and curriculum support, inter-institutional cooperation, information sharing, and advocacy related to the field of women’s and gender studies, LGBT Studies, and to gender-focused scholarship in the traditional disciplines. Dedicated to using information and knowledge to serve women’s development, Dr. Strand maintains office partnerships with organizations including the UW Women’s Studies Consortium, Women’s Knowledge International, 4W, and Wisconsin Public Television, among others. She oversees projects such as Wisconsin Women Making History and Women’s Knowledge Digital Library. Strand holds a bachelor’s in history and women’s studies from Carroll College, a master’s in library and information science from UW-Milwaukee, and a doctorate in information science from the University of Pretoria (South Africa). Her professional, research, and life interests are focused on the roles that libraries, information, and knowledge play in the empowerment of women and girls throughout the world.

Valerie Stull

Position title: Postdoc in Professional Learning and Community Education

Valerie Stull is an interdisciplinary environmental health scientist by training. As a postdoctoral research associate in the Global Health Institute, she is investigating issues at the intersection of agriculture, the environment and global health. Stull explores various aspects of food security and food sovereignty in a changing climate. She has worked in Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, India, Peru and Palestine on research, health and agriculture development projects with non-profit organizations, donor agencies, and governments.

James Sweet

Languages: Portuguese
Research focus: African Diaspora, Comparative slavery, Race and nation in the Atlantic world, Comparative world history
Countries of interest: Brazil, South Africa

Phone: 608.265.2523
Email: jhsweet@wisc.edu

Sherry Tanumihardjo

Research focus: Vitamin A status assessment, Provitamin A carotenoids, Vegetables and fruit intake to enhance health, Global health
Countries of interest: Indonesia, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, & South Africa

Email: sherry@nutrisci.wisc.edu

Girma Tefera

Research focus: Abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment with endovascular stent graft, Distal peripheral artery bypass surgery, Angioplasty and stent for limb salvage
Countries of interest: Ethiopia

Phone: 608.265.4420
Email: tefera@surgery.wisc.edu

Adrian Treves

Research focus: Wildlife management and conservation, Environmental planning and monitoring, Wolf policy in Wisconsin, Andean bears in Ecuador, Big cats in Africa, Human-wildlife conflicts
Countries of interest: Rwanda, Uganda

Phone: 608.890.1450
Email: atreves@wisc.edu

Aili Tripp

Research focus: Comparative politics (Africa), Gender and politics
Countries of interest: Tanzania, Uganda, Liberia, Angola

Phone: 608.890.3890
Email: atripp@wisc.edu

Janis Tupesis

Research focus: Educational policy development
Countries of interest: Liberia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Liberia

Phone: 608.890.6927
Email: jtupesis@medicine.wisc.edu

Matthew Turner

Research focus: Environmental governance, Political ecology, Savanna/steppe ecology, Critical development studies, STS, Africa, Remote sensing/GIS
Countries of interest: Niger, Mali, the Sahel

Gabby Umba

Position title: Special Projects Intern

Stephen Ventura

Research focus: Geographic information systems, Public participation GIS, Urban agriculture, Bioenergy cropping, Landscape process modeling, Land and resource tenure, GIS and land use planning

Phone: 608.262.6416
Email:  sventura@wisc.edu

Christopher A. Walker

Research focus: Choreography, First Wave
Countries of interest: Jamaica

Donald Waller

Research focus: Plant ecology /evolution, Tracking long-term ecological change, Deer, Nitrogen deposition, Habitat fragmentation, Climate change, Conservation biology and genetics, Metapopulation / metacommunity dynamics
Countries of interest: Cameroon, Gabon, DRC

Phone: 608.263.2042
Email: dmwaller@wisc.edu

Claire Wendland

Research focus: Biomedicine in non-Western setting (particularly in Africa), Cross-cultural ethics and communication
Countries of interest: Malawi

Phone: 608.262.3874
Email: cwendland@wisc.edu

Gloria Whiting

Research focus: Early American history, History of race and slavery
Countries of interest: African diaspora

Phone: 608.263.1851
Email: gwhiting@wisc.edu

Alex Wiedenhoeft


340 Birge Hall

My lab facilities are located at the US Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory on the west end of campus where I am a Research Botanist and Team Leader for the Center for Wood Anatomy Research. My team and I curate world’s largest and finest xylarium and conduct research on a range of topics related to wood, trees, and forests, including: the evolution of wood anatomical diversity in Croton; organellar microcapture from wood trace evidence; meso-scale characterization of wood properties and behavior; studies of structure-function relationships in wood products; and phenotypic characterization of high-value wood mutations.

Eric Wilcots

Research focus: Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the Evolution of individual galaxies and galaxy groups, Radio wavelengths
Countries of interest: South Africa

Phone: 608.262.2364
Email: ewilcots@astro.wisc.edu

Daniel Williford


Phone: 608.890.3492

5113 Mosse Humanities Building

I am a historian of technology with a focus on twentieth-century North Africa and the Middle East. My work examines the links between colonial modernization projects, the construction of racialized technical hierarchies, local forms of political contestation and technological labor, and the remaking of urban environments in the region. My research has been funded through awards from the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Aristide Zolberg

Aristide R. Zolberg was born in Brussels in 1931, survived Nazi persecution, and emigrated to the United States in 1948, where he became self-supporting at age 16. His wife, sociologist Vera L. Zolberg, also taught at the New School until 2012. After attending Columbia University and Boston University, he served in the U.S. Army in 1955-56, and received his PhD in political science at the University of Chicago in 1961 with a specialization in African studies. He initially taught at the University of Wisconsin, then at the University of Chicago, and moved to the Graduate Faculty of the New School in New York in 1983. In between, he held visiting appointments at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (“Sciences Po”), the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and the College de France, all in Paris, as well as the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna, the Salzburg Seminar, and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (Oslo)

A distinguished political scientist and one of world’s preeminent scholars of comparative politics, the history of international migration, nationalism and ethnicity, and immigration policy in North America and Western Europe, he served for many years as the founding director of the International Center for Migration, Ethnicity and Citizenship at The New School. He mentored and inspired several generations of colleagues and students at The New School. Among his publications are One-Party Government in the Ivory Coast (Princeton University Press, 1961; second edition, 1967), Creating Political Order: The Party-States of West Africa (1966; reprinted 1985); both were based on extensive field work in sub-Saharan Africa. After a decade of African research, he broadened his scope to the study of ethnic conflict, state-formation, and international migration; the results include Escape from Violence: The Refugee Crisis in the Developing World, co-authored with Astri Suhrke and Sergio Aguayo (1989), and a collection of essays, How Many Exceptionalisms? Explorations in Comparative Macroanalysis (Temple University Press, 2008). His book, A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America(Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA; and Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 2006), will remain one of the most authoritative accounts of immigration history in the United States and a compelling story of how immigration shaped this country.

From 1983 to 1991, he held the University-in-Exile Chair established by the City of Berlin at the Graduate Faculty of the New School. In 1981, the French government awarded him the Palmes Académiques in recognition of distinguished service to French Higher Education. In 2008, he was attributed the “distinguished scholar” award from the Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Studies section of the International Studies Association.

Read the full post from The New School here.