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Susan Ford Dorsey Innovation Africa Fellowship Recipients

We are thrilled to announce that Venolia Rabodiba and Ozgul Ozdemir have been awarded the prestigious Susan Ford Dorsey Innovation Africa Fellowship for the 2024-2025 academic year. This fellowship, provided by the Center for African Studies at Stanford University, recognizes doctoral students whose research demonstrates outstanding originality and potential to transform our understanding of the African continent and its diaspora. Congratulations to both recipients for their remarkable achievements and contributions to African Studies.

Venolia Rabodiba’s doctoral dissertation explores how Southern Africa is striving to achieve regional unity through unprecedented investments in corridor connectivity infrastructures during a renewed era of multilateral cooperation. Her ethnographic research, conducted at the Kazungula One Stop Border Post, delves into the experiences of customs officials, cross-border traders, and local laborers to understand the implications of these infrastructural developments for regional integration, power dynamics, and mobility. Through her work, Venolia aims to articulate and assemble common ambitions for new African futures based on cooperation and interdependence.

Ozgul Ozdemir’s research examines the Ottoman Empire’s efforts to abolish slavery in the Red Sea region, challenging the Eurocentric narratives of abolition history. By analyzing Ottoman archival sources, Ozgul's work highlights the significant role the Ottoman state played in ending the slave trade in the late 19th century. Her project places the Red Sea—a crucial maritime space with complex patterns of human flow—at the center of both African and Ottoman histories, thereby contributing to a more integrated understanding of East African and Middle Eastern historical connections.