Laurian R. Bowles

Term: 2022 – 2024

Laurian Bowles is Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology, core faculty of the Africana Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies departments and Director of the Davidson in Ghana study abroad program at Davidson College. As a visual and cultural anthropologist, Dr. Bowles researches, writes, and teaches about social mobility and the visual economies of women’s labor in Ghana and the African Diaspora. Her intellectual work attends to the way women’s activism takes shape through ordinary forms of mobilization and refusal in public and intimate spaces. Especially interested in the haptic nature of photographs, the circulation of pictures as material artifacts, and the way race, class, and queerness are formed through visual storytelling, Dr. Bowles publishes in Feminist Anthropology, Visual Anthropology Review, The Journal of African History and African Arts. Her book, Headstrong: Bodies of Labor, Migration and Race in Ghana (under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press), uses photovoice with migrant women to explore the liberatory politics of the women head porters who work at Accra’s central market.

Jasmine L. Blanks Jones

Term: 2022 – 2024

Jasmine Blanks Jones is a cultural anthropologist who works in Liberia and with African immigrant and African American youth in the United States. As an Africanist, Jasmine is attentive to the contributions of young people across the Black World to how the discipline of anthropology understands how power works, especially for those deemed to be at the margins. Taking a performance arts focus, she is particularly concerned with how the work of anthropologists may bolster the efforts of Black communities in improving their own quality of life, especially in the areas of health and education. She is the Executive Director of the Center for Social Concern, a lecturer in the Program in Racism, Immigration and Citizenship, and Founder of B4 Burning Barriers Building Bridges Youth Theatre.

Jennie E. Burnet

Term: 2022 – 2024

Jennie E. Burnet is an associate professor of anthropology and director of the Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, United States of America. She is the award-winning author of Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda. Her forthcoming book, To Save Heaven and Earth: Rescue during the Rwandan Genocide, examines how and why some Rwandans risked their lives to save Tutsi from the carnage. Her research has appeared in Politics & GenderAfrican AffairsAfrican Studies Review, and Women’s Studies International Forum.

Omolade Adunbi

Program co-Editor
Term: 2022 – 2024

Omolade Adunbi is a political and environmental anthropologist and Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, Professor of Law (courtesy) and the Director of the African Studies Center. He is a Faculty Associate, Program in the Environment (Pite), the Donia Human Rights Center (DHRC) and the Energy Institute at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His areas of research explore issues related to governance, infrastructures of extraction, environmental politics and rights, power, violence, culture, transnational institutions, multinational corporations and the postcolonial state. In 2016, he received The Class of 1923 Teaching Award at the University of Michigan. His book, Oil Wealth and Insurgency in Nigeria (Indiana University Press, 2015) won the 2017 The Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland’s Amaury Talbot Book Award for the best book in Anthropology of Africa. His latest book, Enclaves of Exception: Special Economic Zones and Extractive Practices in Nigeria, (Indiana University Press, 2022) interrogates the idea of Free Trade Zones and its interrelatedness to oil refining practices, infrastructure and China’s engagement with Africa. His new project is at the intersection of social media, climate change and the politics of the environment

Vivian Chenxue Lu

Program co-Editor

Vivian Chenxue Lu is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and faculty affiliate in African and African American Studies at Fordham University. Her work examines the growing migratory and commercial linkages between West Africa, specifically Nigeria, and the Global South.

Program & Committee Chairs

Betty Harris

Elliott P. Skinner Book Award Committee Chair

Betty Harris is a Full Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. Her research interests include political economy, especially of Southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland), including agriculture, water, commercialization, Chinese trade; race and ethnicity in the US; and the history of anthropology (particularly of South Africa).

Gwendolyn Mikell

Elliott P. Skinner Book Award Committee Chair

Gwendolyn Mikell is the Professor of Anthropology and Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where she has taught since 1976. She served as Director of the African Studies Program in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown from 1996-2007 – a program which she helped develop from 1982 onward; and she was Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology from 1992-1995. She was Senior Fellow for African Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2000 – 2003. She has been President of the African Studies Association, a Jennings-Randolph Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana-Legon, the Institute for Social Research at the University of Natal in Durban- South Africa, and the Institute for Developing Economies in Tokyo. She is a Board member of the Smithsonian Museum of African Art; and she has served on the Boards of the American Anthropological Association, the African Studies Association, CIES-Fulbright Program, and the British-Marshall Selection Committees As a political and economic anthropologist, Mikell’s research interests are in African political and economic transitions, democratization and peace, African feminism, and the political /religious dynamics of African women’s organizations. She is the author of numerous articles and two books – Cocoa and Chaos in Ghana (1982, 2005) and African Feminism: The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa (1997); and she has a forthcoming book project that follows Kofi Annan’s initiatives on Africa 1997-2009. She holds the B.A. in Sociology from the Univ. of Chicago; a Certificate in French from the National University of Cote d’Ivoire; and the M.A. & Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University.

Bennetta Jules-Rosette

Student Paper Awards Committee co-Chair

Bennetta Jules-Rosette is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and the Director of the African and African-American Studies Research Center at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of nine books and over 120 scholarly articles on African, African-American, and diaspora studies. Her areas of interest include ethnographic and semiotic studies of art, religion, and technology. Her books include African Apostles: Ritual and Conversion in the Church of John Maranke (1975), A Paradigm for Looking: Cross-Cultural Research with Visual Media (1977, co-authored with Beryl L. Bellman), The Messages of Tourist Art: An African Semiotic System (1984), Terminal Signs: Computers and Social Change in Africa (1990), Black Paris: The African Writers’ Landscape (1998), Josephine Baker in Art and Life: The Icon and the Image (2007), and African Art Reframed: Reflections and Dialogues on Museum Culture (2020, co-authored with J.R. Osborn). Professor Jules-Rosette is a past President of the Association for Africanist Anthropology (2005-2009), a past President of the Semiotic Society of America (1988-1989), and a former Board Member of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (2005-2009).

J.R. Osborn

Student Paper Awards Committee co-chair

J.R. Osborn is a scholar and experimentalist of communication. His work explores media history, semiotics, communication technologies, and design aesthetics with a regional focus of the Middle East and Africa.  Dr. Osborn is currently an Associate Professor of Communication, Culture & Technology (CCT) and Co-Director of the Technology Design Studio at Georgetown University. He is the author of Letters of Light: Arabic Script in Calligraphy, Print, and Digital Design (2017) and co-author with Bennetta Jules-Rosette of African Art Reframed: Dialogues and Reflections on Museum Culture (2020). African Art Reframed analyzes the global circulation of African art, drawing upon extensive curator interviews, ethnographic site visits, the visual and digital analysis of artworks, and studies of audience responses.

Contributing Editor

Position Currently Open

Communication Fellows

Ami Tamakloe

Communications Fellow

Ami Tamakloe is human unraveling and reconstructing. Originally from Ghana, she/they are currently a PhD student in the department of Anthropology at Cornell University. Through artistry, activism and intellect, Ami resists by creating work that foregrounds accessibility around themes of Blackness, gender and sexuality. Her/their current research is on gender, political participation and representation in Ghana. Ami is a multi-modal artist who creates through writing, oration, performance, filmmaking and textiles. Ami has participated in multiple symposiums and has participated internationally at events such as Fringe Festival in Edinburgh Scotland and the International Youth Design Competition in China. They have independently produced three short films and self-published a debut book titled ‘Charcoal: Book of Thoughts and Short Stories’. They are currently a Graduate Fellow with the Ufahamu Africa Podcast and have held an Adventure’s Reads Fellowship for the popular blog Adventures from the Bedroom of African Women.

Molly Duggan

Communications Fellow

Molly Duggan is a second year graduate student at Georgetown University, earning her master’s degree in Global, International and Comparative History. She studies the Atlantic world, especially the history of slavery, as well as British colonialism and environmental history in twentieth century Africa. She is particularly interested in the different methodologies that historians use in order to uncover the voices and experiences of those who have been silenced in traditional archives. Molly is also taking courses in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service to earn a graduate certificate in African studies. Originally from New Jersey, Molly now lives in Arlington, VA. After graduating, she hopes to work in the field of public history, using the skills gained over the course of her degree to assist museums in their goal of expanding traditional narratives of the past – with a particular focus on the stories of women and enslaved people.

International Liaisons

Francesca Declich

International Laison

Francesca Declich is an Associate Professor at the University of Urbino Carlo Bo in Italy. She is a Social Anthropologist and expert in the Horn of Africa, Tanzania, and Mozambique. She studied in Rome, Oriental Institute in Naples and London (LSE, Uni London SOAS). In 2018 she edited for Brill the book “Translocal connections across the Indian Ocean. Swahili networks on the move.” I believe that the African countries of the Western Indian Ocean share many cultural features that were concealed in separate realms of knowledge produced within the ex-colonies. I thus carried out fieldwork in Italian and Anglophone Somalia, Anglophone Tanzania, and Lusophone Mozambique studying several features across countries including matriliny, dance, memories of slavery, domestic slavery and forced migrations. Her research experience in Africa includes Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Somaliland, and South Africa.

Paul Nkwi

International Liaison

Paul Nchoji Nkwi (1940) is professor of African anthropology at the University of Yaounde I, Cameroon. He studied anthropology and education at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and obtained his habilitation in the same university in 1982. He taught anthropology at the University of Yaounde, at the Catholic University of Central Africa, Yaounde, and at the St.Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary Bambui, Bamenda, Cameroon. He was visiting professor at Harvard Medical School, Department of Social Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia as a Fulbright Scholar, at the University of Frankfurt, Frobenius Institut as a Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa,Visiting Fellow at the University of Leiden (1982),and Research Fellow at the University of Bergen, Centre for Social Policy, (Bergen, Norway). Nkwi was the founding president of the Pan African Anthropological Association” 1989-1994. In 1973, he won the Frobenius Esasay Award to celebration the Centenary of Leo Frobenius. He has been Vice president of the African Academy of Sciences, and founding Executive Secretary of the Cameroon Academy of Sciences.

Richard Werbner

International Laison

Richard Werbner, International Liaison for AfAA, is Professor Emeritus in African Anthropology, Honorary Research Professor in Visual Anthropology, at the University of Manchester. Sometime Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, and at the National Humanities Center, he has also held visiting appointments at universities in Japan, Belgium, Israel, Czech Republic, Australia, Botswana and the USA. Founder and Convener of the Satterthwaite Colloquium on Religion and Ritual, he carried out his first fieldwork among Winnebago of Nebraska in 1958, and began his long-term fieldwork in southern Africa in 1960, among Kalanga, first in Zimbabwe and later in urban and rural Botswana, and among Tswapong and Tswana. Among his books are Anthropology after Gluckman (2020), Divination’s Grasp (2015), Holy Hustlers, Schism and Prophecy (2011), Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana (2004), Tears of the Dead (1991). His two series of films are available through Ethnographic Video Online and the Royal Anthropological Institute. His edited collections include Land Reform in the Making (1981)), Postcolonial Identities in Africa (1996), Memory and the Postcolony (1998), Postcolonial Subjectivities in Africa (2002), His current works in progress are a critique of Talking Cures, and co-authored with Pnina Werbner, a comparative book on Seeking African Customary Justice.