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Our Team

James Ferguson

Director, Center for African Studies, Susan S. and William H. Hindle Anthropology Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences

James Ferguson is the Susan S. and William H. Hindle Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Professor in the Department of Anthropology. His research has focused on southern Africa (especially Lesotho, Zambia, South Africa, and Namibia), and has engaged a broad range of theoretical and ethnographic issues. These include the politics of “development”, rural-urban migration, changing topgraphies of property and wealth, constructions of space and place, urban culture in mining towns, experiences of modernity, the spatialization of states, the place of “Africa” in a real and imagined world, and the theory and politics of ethnography. Running through much of this work is a concern with how discourses organized around concepts such as “development” and “modernity” intersect the lives of ordinary people.

Professor Ferguson's more recent work has explored the surprising creation and/or expansion (both in southern Africa and across the global South) of social welfare programs targeting the poor, anchored in schemes that directly transfer small amounts of cash to large numbers of low-income people. His work aims to situate these programs within a larger “politics of distribution,” and to show how they are linked to emergent forms of distributive politics in contexts where new masses of “working age” people are supported by means other than wage labor. In this context, new political possibilities and dangers are emerging, even as new analytical and critical strategies are required. His book on this topic (Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution) was published in 2015.  More recently, he has been working on two new projects: first, a programmatic paper (co-authored with Tania Li) outlining an alternative approach to global political-economic inquiry in the wake of the failure of long-established transition narratives; and second, a theoretical essay exploring the ways that “presence” (rather than membership) can serve as a basis of social obligation (including the obligation to share).


Laura Hubbard

Associate Director
Phone: (650) 723-0295
Office: 100 Encina Commons
Discipline(s): Anthropology

Laura Hubbard, PhD, UC Berkeley, is an anthropologist of youth, media and popular culture. She has lived and worked in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa focusing on questions of aesthetics and politics, temporality and youth culture, the links of longing and belonging among southern African cities, and the nexus of media and development. Dr. Hubbard's other interests include humanitarianism, the city, race and representation, speculative fiction, television and short film, Afro-futurism, and the aesthetics of hope. In 2013, Dr. Hubbard received the Dean's Award of Merit from the School of H&S for her contributions to African Studies and the broader Stanford community. Dr. Hubbard cherishes and thrives in the music, deep conversations, and many events at CAS. She has an open door policy and welcomes all to enter and share stories and songs anytime. Join her in an ever growing CAS and in calling CAS home for research, for community, and for solace. 

Ariane Khalfa

Program Coordinator
Phone: (650) 497-7688
Office: 100 Encina Commons

Ariane Khalfa received a BA in Geography and French with a Certificate in African Studies from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. During the summer of 2011, she traveled to Togo, West Africa where she did research with a Togolese NGO. After graduating from Mount Holyoke, Ariane worked for two years at the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco. During the summer of 2014, Ariane returned to Togo, where she founded and managed a water filter project and an educational African film festival. Shortly after, she took up her role at Center for African Studies (CAS) at Stanford University. Ariane is thrilled to work in a dynamic program and community center surrounded by students, faculty and staff who share her passion for African Studies. Engaging with and learning from the diverse CAS and Stanford Global Studies communities at Stanford has fostered an interest in sustainable, ethical business development in Africa, which Ariane looks forward to pursuing.