International Studies & Programs

Faculty

The Michigan State University African Studies Center has 170 faculty with experience on Africa, probably the largest in the nation, including the largest faculties in social science (40) and in economics and agricultural economics (16). The Center features many other scholars in African languages, the arts and humanities, education, agricultural and natural sciences, health and medicine and other fields. The faculty members are listed alphabetically by college and departmental affiliation, noting geographical areas of Africa experience, and teaching and research interests.

 

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John Aerni-Flessner

Department: Residential College in the Arts & Humanities (RCAH)
Countries/Research: Lesotho
Email: aernifL1(at)msu.edu
Biography:
John Aerni-Flessner earned a BA in History from Grinnell College in Iowa. He taught high school in rural Lesotho (a country in southern Africa) and in the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Kwethluk, Alaska before returning to graduate school. He earned a PhD in African and World History from Washington University in St. Louis and taught at SUNY Cortland in Upstate New York before coming to Michigan State. His main research focuses on how ordinary people grappled with the idea of independence in mid-20th century Africa, and how they came to terms with their changing relations to the state during the decolonization process. As a social historian, his classes tend to focus on big ideas like nationalism, slavery, sport/leisure, development, etc. and then examine how ordinary people interacted with these ideas, were changed by the ideas, and how they were able to change them in subtle ways.