The Producing Knowledge In and Of Africa and the African Diaspora Series


Knowledge Production in Africa is a highly contested topic. Recent calls have been made – both within the academy and outside it – to “decolonize” the production and circulation of knowledge about Africa. This controversy has involved new attention to institutional power dynamics in both Africa and the US academy, as well as efforts to reconceptualize key epistemological categories in Afrocentric terms. This workshop invites scholars within the humanities, social sciences and the sciences to investigate and discuss these pressing contemporary concerns.

The workshop focuses on five key themes:

  1. How does knowledge production about Africa manifest both in different and in convergent ways across disciplines?

  2. What are the ethical implications and responsibilities of scholars researching Africa in the global North?

  3. In what ways have scholarly infrastructure – including publishing platforms, institutions, conferences and research networks – emerged in both Africa and the US academy?

  4. Given the racial injustices embedded in the US and around the world, how might the fields of Black Studies and African Studies collaborate to make sense of the historical and present conjuncture?

  5. How have the racial and gendered politics surrounding the study of Africa and its diaspora shaped the institutional histories of African Studies and Black Studies at Stanford.

New Winter Quarter Workshop Events

01/20 - African Ecomedia: Network Forms, Planetary Politics

Featuring: Cajetan Iheka, Associate Professor of English, Yale University

2/10 - Zar in Iranian Cinema: On Indian Ocean Slavery’s Archival Legacy

Featuring: Parisa Vaziri, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University

03/10 - Race-making and the Register of the Enslaved Black Moroccans at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century

Featuring: Chouki El Hamel, Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Arizona State University-specializing in West and Northwest Africa


New Fall Quarter Workshop Events

10/6 - 12PM:  African Literature and Publishing Platforms

Featuring: Edwige-Renée Dro-Writer, Translator, and Founder of 1949 Books, Dr. Ainehi Edoro-Assistant Professor of English at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Founder and Editor of Brittle Paper, and Zukiswa Wanner-Writer, Publisher, and Founder of Afrolit Sans Frontières


10/20 - 12PM: Gender & Sexuality in the African Diaspora

Featuring: Dr. Judith Byfield - Professor of History at Cornell University, Dr. Sarah Zimmerman-Associate Professor of History at Western Washington University


11/11 - 12PM Decolonization and Diaspora

Featuring: Dr. Sophia Azeb - Assistant Professor of English, University of Chicago



Spring Quarter Workshop Events

4/14 From "Francographe" African Writer to Wolophone Storyteller: History and Evolution of the Senegalese Novel in Wolof  

Boubacar Boris Diop is a novelist, journalist, and screenwriter. Diop’s latest published novel, written in Wolof, is Bàmmeelu Kocc Barma (A Grave for Kocc Barma) (2017). His previous novels include Murambi: The Book of Bones (2000), Doomi Golo (2003), and Kaveena (2006). He has worked as a reporter for several newspapers in Africa and Europe, and he is the author of dozens of essays, plays, and screenplays.


4/28 Gender and Embodied Knowledge in Africa: Two Approaches in Conversation  

Naminata Diabate is an associate professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. A scholar of African and African diaspora studies and sexuality and gender studies with linguistic expertise in Malinké, French, English, and Spanish, her work seeks to redefine how we understand specific forms of embodied agency in the neoliberal present in global Africa. Diabate engages multiple sites: novels of 20th and 21st centuries, online and social media, pictorial arts, film, journalism, and oral traditions from Africa, black America, Afro-Hispanic America, and the French Antilles. She is the author of Naked Agency: Genital Cursing and Biopolitics in Africa (Duke University Press, 2020). Her exploration of naked protest, erotic pleasure, and the impact of Internet media on queerness, breast ironing, and sex strikes has appeared in peer-reviewed journals and collections of essays, including Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Research in African Literatures, African Literature Today (ALT), Interventions, Routledge Handbook of African Literature, and Fieldwork in the Humanities. Currently, she is working on two monographs, “Digital Insurgencies and Bodies” and “The Pleasure Turn in Neoliberal Africa.”

Laura S. Grillo is an Affiliated Faculty at Georgetown University. Her book, An Intimate Rebuke: Female Genital Power in Ritual and Politics in West Africa (Duke UP, 2018) was a finalist for the Raboteau Prize in Africana Studies. She is co-author of a seminal textbook, Religions in Contemporary Africa (Routledge 2019), as well as author of numerous articles and anthology chapters. Laura was a Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Chicago. She was the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Academy of Religions and the West Africa Research Association. For six years Laura led the African Religions Group in the American Academy of Religion and served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. She is a co-editor of the Africa section of Religion Compass Journal, and serves on the Editorial Boards of Religious Studies Review and the Bloomsbury book series in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality. 


5/12 Exploring the Conflicting Meanings of the South African Post-Apartheid Heritage Practice

Sipokazi Madida, PhD is a Lecturer of History at the University of South Africa (Unisa). Prior to joining Unisa, Sipokazi held research and teaching positions at Robben Island Museum, University of the Western Cape and University of Witwatersrand. She is a public historian, education practitioner and heritage practitioner by training and experience. Her teaching and research interests include the politics of public history and heritage production. She has published articles and book chapters on the subjects of public history, oral history, museum collections and monuments. Her most recent publication is “Troubling statues: a symptom of a complex heritage complex,” in A. Nettleton and M.A. Fubah, Exchanging Symbols: Monuments and Memorials in Post-apartheid South Africa (African Sun Media, 2020). 


6/2 The Uses of Knowledge in Global Health

Dr. Ṣẹ̀yẹ Abímbọ́lá is a health systems researcher and a global health scholar. He has worked as a health care practitioner and/or researcher in Nigeria where he completed his medical training at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; in Australia where completed an MPhil in Public Health and PhD in health systems research at the University of Sydney, and in the United Kingdom where he was a Sidney Sax Overseas Early Career Fellow at the University of Oxford. Dr Abimbola studies community engagement in governance, decentralised governance, and the role of governance in the adoption and scale up of health system innovations. He is currently (2020-22) the Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, a senior lecturer in global health at the University of Sydney in Australia, and the editor in chief of BMJ Global Health.


Winter Quarter Workshop Events

1/27 Epidemic Illusions: On the Coloniality of Global Public Health: A Book Talk with Dr. Eugene Richardson

2/17 "I was Still Black When He Gave Me 200k": Transnational Frictions, Class, and the Tech Entrepreneurial Life 

3/10 Consent on the Continent: Bio Banking and African Genomic Wealth


List of Speakers

Epidemic Illusions: On the Coloniality of Global Public Health

Dr. Eugene T. Richardson, MD, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He received his MD from Cornell University Medical College and his PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University. He completed residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center. Dr. Richardson previously served as the clinical lead for Partners In Health’s Ebola response in Kono District, Sierra Leone, where he continues to conduct research on the social epidemiology of Ebola virus disease. He also worked as a clinical case management consultant for the WHO’s Ebola riposte in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo. More recently, he was seconded to the Africa CDC to join their COVID-19 response. His overall focus is on biosocial approaches to epidemic disease prevention, containment, and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of this effort, he is chair of the Lancet Commission on Reparations and Redistributive Justice.


"I Was Still Black When He Gave Me 200k": Transnational Frictions, Class, and the Tech Entrepreneurial Life 

Dr. Seyram Avle is Assistant Professor of Global Digital Media in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research focuses on digital technology cultures and innovation across parts of Africa, China, and the United States. This work primarily takes a critical approach towards understanding how digital technologies are made and used, as well as their implications for issues of labor, identity, and futures. Dr. Avle’s research is interdisciplinary and has been published in venues across Communication Studies, Human-Computer Interaction, and Science & Technology Studies.


Consent on the Continent: Bio Banking and African Genomic Wealth

Dr. Duana Fullwiley is an anthropologist of science and medicine interested in how social identities, health outcomes, and molecular genetic findings increasingly intersect. Her first book, The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa (2011), examines how structural adjustment policies in Africa affected both the lived experiences of sickle cell patients in Senegal and the genetic science about them. It was awarded prizes by the American Anthropological Association and The Royal Anthropological Institute. She is currently finishing her second book entitled Tabula Raza: Mapping Race and Human Diversity in American Genome Science. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Andrew and Florence White Fellows program in Medicine and the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. She has also been an invited scholar at the Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation in Paris (1997-1998, 2000 and 2002), a USIA Fulbright Scholar to Senegal, a fellow at the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2004-2005), and a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health (2005-2007). She recently completed a Scholars Award in NSF's Science, Technology & Society Program.




Fall Quarter Workshop Events

List of Events & Speakers

Black Studies and African Studies: Institutional Histories and Futures

Clayborne Carson is a professor of history at Stanford University, and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute. Since 1985 he has directed the Martin Luther King Papers Project, a long-term project to edit and publish the papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. His first book, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (1981), is a study of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the most dynamic and innovative civil rights organization. In Struggle won the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Award for best first book in American history. His other publications include Malcolm X: The FBI File (1991), The Struggle for Freedom: A History of African Americans (2005), and a memoir, Martin's Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (2013).

Allyson Hobbs is an Associate Professor of United States History, the Director of African and African American Studies, and the Kleinheinz Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education at Stanford University. Allyson’s first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life (2014), examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. A Chosen Exile won the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Award for best first book in American history and the Lawrence Levine Prize for best book in American cultural history. Allyson is currently at work on two books, both forthcoming from Penguin Press. Nowhere to Run: African American Travel in Twentieth Century America explores the violence, humiliation, and indignities that African American motorists experienced on the road. To Tell the Terrible examines black women’s testimonies against and collective memory of sexual violence.

Ato Quayson is a Professor of English at Stanford University. He took his BA (Hons; First Class) from the University of Ghana and gained a Ph.D. in English from the University of Cambridge. He is Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006), the Royal Society of Canada (2013), and the British Academy (2019). He has published 5 monographs and edited 8 volumes, along with several articles in a variety of fields including African and postcolonial literature and literary theory, disability studies, urban studies, and diaspora studies, among others. His most recent monograph, Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism (2014) was co-winner of the Urban History Association’s Best Book Prize (non-North American category) in 2015. His new monograph titled Tragedy and Postcolonial Literature is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, and he is completing Accra Chic: A Locational History of Fashion in Accra with Grace Toleque for Chicago University Press and Intellect Books. Quayson is founding Editor of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry and President of the African Studies Association.

Richard Roberts is the Frances & Charles Field Professor in History and African History at Stanford University. He has published widely on the social and economic history of French West Africa and has edited two volumes that have appeared in the Social History of Africa series (Law and Colonialism in Africa, co-edited with Kristin Mann, and Cotton, Colonialism, and Social History of Sub-Saharan Africa, co-edited with Allen Issacman).

African Literature & Cold War Afterlives: Reframing Decolonial Trajectories

Bhakti Shringarpure is Associate Professor of English at University of Connecticut (Storrs) and co-founder and editor-in-chief of Warscapes. She is the author of Cold War Assemblages: Decolonization to Digital (2019) and co-translator of Kaveena, a novel by Senegalese writer Boubacar Boris Diop (2016). Her edited works include Literary Sudans: An Anthology of Literature from Sudan and South Sudan (2016) and Imagine Africa, Volume 3 (2017). Her writing has also appeared in The Guardian, The Funambulist, the Los Angeles Review of BooksLiterary Hub, and Africa Is a Country, among others.


Nature, Power and Race: Reflections on South Africa's Kruger National Park

Jacob Dlamini, Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University, is a historian of Africa, with an interest in precolonial, colonial and postcolonial African History. He obtained a Ph.D. from Yale University in 2012 and is also a graduate of Wits University in South Africa and Sussex University in England. Jacob held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Barcelona, Spain, from November 2011 to April 2015, and was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University from August 2014 to May 2015. A qualified field guide, Jacob is also interested in comparative and global histories of conservation and national parks. He is the author of two recent monographs: Safari Nation: A Social History of the Kruger National Park (2020) and The Terrorist Album: Apartheid’s Insurgents, Collaborators, and the Security Police (2020).


Email: africanstudies [at] (africanstudies[at]stanford[dot]edu)


Stanford Center for African Studies

Stanford Humanities Center  African and African American Studies


Past Events

Wed June 1st 2022, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
SHC Boardroom
424 Santa Teresa Street
Stanford, CA 94305

From the mid-nineteenth century into the twentieth, African for the Africans was the banner under which a range of pan-Africanists imaginaries and…

Wed April 6th 2022, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Architect Sumayya Vally and sociologist Denise Lim both utilize multi-sensory and transdisciplinary methodologies to highlight and amplify the stories of people and things—everyday, extraordinary…

Thu March 10th 2022, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Chouki El Hamel Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Arizona State University-specializing in West and Northwest Africa

In late-seventeenth-century Morocco, Sultan Mawlay Isma‘il (reigned 1672–1727) commanded his officials to enslave all black Moroccans:  that is, to buy coercively or freely those already…

Thu February 10th 2022, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Parisa Vaziri, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University

Zar, a constellation of belief and therapeutic response to spirit winds, has long been considered a ritual trace attesting to the movement of African slavery in the Indian Ocean world.…

Thu January 20th 2022, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Dr. Cajetan Iheka, Associate Professor of English, Yale University

Join us for a conversation with Dr. Cajetan Iheka on his new book, African Ecomedia: Network Forms, Planetary Politics.

Thu November 11th 2021, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Join CAS, AAAS, and the Stanford Humanities Center for a talk by Dr. Sophia Azeb, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Chicago.

Wed October 20th 2021, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

In histories of African diaspora, marriage and migration go hand in hand.

Wed October 6th 2021, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Wed May 12th 2021, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Sipokazi Madida

Post-apartheid heritage practice, like the rest of its kind, is a complex system characterized by conflicting and contested meanings, knowledges, policies and…

Wed April 28th 2021, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

For centuries, African women have drawn on the ritual power of their genitals to perform spectacular political protests across the continent.