Producing Knowledge In and Of Africa Series


Yellow Poster with green and red bubble advertising the Producing Knowledge 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.


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).




Stanford Center for African Studies

Stanford Humanities Center 


Past Events

Wed January 27th 2021, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

"In Epidemic Illusions (2020) Eugene Richardson, a physician and an anthropologist, contends that public health practices–from epidemiological modeling and outbreak…

Wed November 11th 2020, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Safari Nation (2020) opens new lines of inquiry in the study of national parks in Africa and the rest of the world.…

Wed October 21st 2020, 10:00am - 11:30am

Over 50 years ago, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Taban Lo Liyong and Henry Owuor published their resistant manifesto titled “On the Abolition of English Literature,” asking for the end of Eurocentric…

Wed September 23rd 2020, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
This event will be held virtually.
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Join The Center for African Studies and the Stanford Center for Humanities in the first installment of their Producing Knowledge In and Of Africa series, Black Studies and African Studies:…