Africa at Noon on September 7, 2016

The African Studies Program is so excited to kick off the new academic year that the Fall 2016 inaugural Africa at Noon has been moved to Africa at 11:30am! Come ahead of the noon talk for lunch to celebrate the new semester and thank former African Studies Program Assistant Director Catherine Reiland for her years of service.

Lunch will be provided beginning at 11:30am, remarks at 11:45am and the regularly scheduled Africa at Noon talk will begin at 12:00pm. The room will remain open following the talk for continued conversation.

“Pleasure and the Pleasurable in Africa and the African Diaspora”

Katrina Daly Thompson
Professor, Department of African Cultural Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Damon Sajnani
Assistant Professor, Department of African Cultural Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tejumola Olaniyan
Professor, Department of African Cultural Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Download Poster (pdf)

Time and Location

11:30am, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI


A lively interrogation of an uncommon theme in the scholarly study of Africa and the African diaspora: pleasure. The uncommonness is not surprising, given the constituent elements of the modern history of the African world in the last five centuries: slavery, colonialism, and the continuing challenges of post-emancipation, civil rights and post-independence. Responding to this large historical canvas, the fields of African and African diaspora studies have, in large part, been dedicated to matters of the serious, the grave, the self-sacrificing, the resistant, and, indeed, the tragic; together, these represent the dominant accent of scholarly African and African diaspora studies. We propose an expansion of focus and the breath of fresh air that brings.


Katrina Daly Thompson is Professor of African Cultural Studies and director of the program in African languages. Her research uses critical applied linguistics and ethnography to address issues of language and power in various forms of expressive culture. Her books include Zimbabwe’s Cinematic Arts: Language, Power, Identity (2012); and the forthcoming Popobawa: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings (2017), both from Indiana University Press. She is currently researching transnational progressive Muslim discourse through a multi-sited ethnography.

Damon Sajnani aka “Professor D” is a critically acclaimed HipHop artist, Harvard’s inaugural Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellow, and assistant professor of African Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He researches critical race theory and social justice at the nexus of culture and politics with particular focus on the politics of global HipHop. He is currently developing two manuscripts, Senegalese Spring: HipHop and Politics in Senegal, and Critical HipHop Theory.

Tejumola Olaniyan, Louise Durham Mead Professor, is Chair of the Department of African Cultural Studies. He has published extensively on African and African diaspora cultural studies. He runs the online encyclopedia,