Current Students

The following list includes masters and doctoral students carrying out research on Africa.

The symbols on this page are Adinkra symbols from Ghana, and vary according to department. With thanks to JeanMacDonald and

Mary Adekoya

Cinema and Media Studies

Dissertation: "Shadows of Film: Nollywood and the Vernacular Revolution in African Cinema."

Zoe Berman

Comparative Human Development

Research interests: sociocultural and medical anthropology; youth; intergenerational change; trauma; historical memory; healing; Rwanda.

Jorge Campos-Téllez


Interests: Somaliland, Indian Ocean coast, fiscal technologies, anthropology of the state, cities, affect, the occult, phenomenology, critical theory, anarchist anthropology, sonic ethnography, visual anthropology

John Cropper


Research interests: French West Africa; environmental history; colonial and post colonial Senegal; history of charcoal and woodfuels

Dissertation title: The People's Energy: The History of Charcoal Production and Forest Access in Senegal, 1900-2014

Zebulon Dingley


Dissertation: "Of Bond and Boundary: Kinship, Capital and the Occult on the South Coast of Kenya"

Ian Duncan

English Language and Literatures

Dissertation: "Reading the Postcolonial Cosmopolitan Novel: Ethical Encounters with the Literature of Incendiary Circumstances"

Emily Lord Fransee


Dissertation: "Without Distinction: Gender and Political Rights in the French Empire (Algeria, Senegal, and Cameroon), 1944-1962"

Interests: Citizenship, gender and sexuality, decolonization, imperialism and colonialism, francophone Africa, race, science and speculative fiction, elections and suffrage rights. 

Elizabeth Fretwell


Interests: 20th century francophone West Africa, Benin, work and artisan production, gender, urban history; visual and material culture; colonialism and empire

Debora Heard

Archaeology and Anthropology

Dissertation: "In the Houses of the Ram and the Lion: Religious Displays of Royal Socio-Political Subjectivity in the Kushite Temples of Amun and Apedemak"

Kristin Hickman


Dissertation: "The Politics of Writing Moroccan Arabic"

Nana Holtsnider

Comparative Literature

Dissertation: "Exotic, Yet Integral: Empire in Nineteenth-Century British and Dutch Juvenile Colonial Literature"

Matthew Knisley

Archaeology and Anthropology

Tanzania, historical archaeology of the Sandawe homeland (central highlands, Tanzania); postcolonialism, landscape

Hilary Leathem


Kenya, Africa in the legal imaginaries of the Global North, the International Criminal Court; historical anthropology; (post)colonialism and violence; justice, power, and international law; temporality and modernity; human rights.

Stacy Pape


Interests: Ngazidja (Comoros), Indian Ocean Islands, circuits of mobility, Comorian diaspora and repatriates, gender & sexuality, kinship, and post coloniality.

Gretchen Pfeil

Linguistics and Anthropology

Dissertation: "Small Change, Big Changes: Religious Commitments and the High Stakes of Small Charitable Gifts in Dakar, Senegal"

Betsy Pillion


Bantu linguistics, African tonal languages, the Mushunguli language (Somalia), and the Bulu language (Cameroon).

Mary Robertson


Dissertation: "Negotiating 'Race' in the Post-apartheid South African Advertising Industry"

B. Theodore Rose


Freedom and selfhood; legal coercion and political sovereignty, the Postcolonial state in Africa; economic and political democratization, free and unfree labor, post-slavery regimes. Problems/tensions of forced labor within economic and political democratization processes in Sierra Leone

Abena Gyamfuah Sarfo-Mensah

Comparative Human Development

West Africa, Ghana, environmental anthropology, development studies, cultural psychology, participatory action research, qualitative methods

Jay Schutte


South Africa, Zimbabwe, China, South Korea, Translation, Mediation, Technology and the senses, Space-time and the work of the imagination, the confluence of media and language flows between East Asia to sub-Saharan Africa, semiotic analysis

Raffaella Taylor Seymour

Lisa Simeone


Dissertation: "Eating the Past, Feeding the Future: Value, Adjudication, and the Politics of Integration among African Immigrants in Chicago"

Erik Lee Skjon


Dissertation: "The Lingual-Cultural Region: Its Figures and Grounds in Makhuwa Networks, Media, and Discourse"

Gregory Valdespino


Research Interests: Migration, Homemaking, Family, Gender and Sexuality, Material Culture, Imperialism and Empire, Francophone Africa, French Caribbean