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Our Team

Susan Ford Dorsey Director, Center for African Studies

Joel Cabrita is a historian of modern Southern Africa who focuses on Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and South Africa and an Associate Professor in the Department of History. She examines the transnational networks of the Southern African region including those which connect Southern Africans to the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. 

Her most recent book (The People’s Zion: Southern Africa, the United States and a Transatlantic Faith-Healing Movement, Harvard University Press, 2018) investigates the convergence of evangelical piety, transnational networks and the rise of industrialized societies in both Southern Africa and North America.  The People's Zion was awarded the American Society of Church History's Albert C Outler Prize for 2019. She is also the co-editor of a volume examining the global dimensions of Christian practice, advocating for a shift away from Western Christianity to the lateral connections connecting southern hemisphere religious practitioners (Relocating World Christianity, Brill, 2017). Read more about her work here.
Cabrita did her PhD at the University of Cambridge and was subsequently a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. Before moving to Stanford, she held permanent posts at SOAS (University of London) and the University of Cambridge. Her research has been recognized by two major early-career research prizes, the British Arts and Humanities Early Career Research Fellowship (2015) and the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2017).


Associate Director, Center for African Studies

Dr. Robin Phylisia Chapdelaine comes to us from Duquesne University where she is an associate professor of history and Director of Undergraduate Studies. She has also held administrative roles at Princeton University and Rutgers University. Her research focuses on human trafficking, child slavery, equity in higher education, and Black Joy practices. She is co-editor of When Will the Joy Come? Black Women in the Ivory Tower (2023); author of The Persistence of Slavery: An Economic History of Child Trafficking in Nigeria (2021); and won the 2021 Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora prize for her article in "Marriage Certificates and Walker Cards: Nigerian Migrant Labor, Wives and Prostitutes in Colonial Fernando Pó," in African Economic History. She has published articles in Journal of West African History, Radical Teacher, and Bulletin of Ecumenical Theology and is currently guest editor for the theme “Retrospectives on Child Slavery in Africa” in Genealogy. Chapdelaine also has several chapters in co-edited volumes and is working on her next book Embrace Black Joy: How Empathetic Teaching Empowers All StudentsThis text aims to be a pedagogical tool that assists educators to embrace Black Joy as a worthy topic of inquiry in the classroom and one that benefits all students. She earned a Ph.D. in Women's & Gender History and African History at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ) and a B.A. at Santa Clara University. She enjoys spending time with her dog (weimaraner) De La Soul, camping, and listening to mystery themed audiobooks. As a California native, she looks forward to returning to her home state.

Program Coordinator, Center for African Studies

Amany Sharafeldin is the new Program Coordinator at The Center for African Studies, where she brings her expertise in behavior science technology and program development. After graduating with honors in Psychology from York University, Amany began her career as a behavioral therapist for children on the spectrum before moving into project coordination for an NGO women's helpline. Amany is committed to creating positive change and improving outcomes for underserved communities and is excited to use her skills to make a meaningful impact at The Center for African Studies. When she's not at work, Amany enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, painting, baking, and trying to coax her very indoor cat outside. A fun fact about Amany is that she is a road trip enthusiast who drove from Mississauga, Canada to the Bay Area in just four days! Amany is thrilled to join The Center for African Studies and work with the individuals who make CAS what it is.

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