International Studies & Programs


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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Ann Biersteker Department: African Studies Center
Countries/Research: Kenya; Tanzania
Email: bierstek(at)

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Biography: Ann Biersteker joined the African Studies Center in 2013. She coordinates activities related to MSU’s work as a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center for African Studies and as an institution that awards Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships. She also manages the “Eye on Africa” seminar series and teaches a course on Swahili literature. Ann has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in African languages and literature. She has published two books on Swahili poetry and a widely used Swahili textbook as well as a wide range of articles on African literature. Ann has been awarded three U.S. Department of Education International Research and Studies awards, five U.S. Department of Education Group Projects Abroad awards, and she was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Senior Scholar Research Abroad Award and a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award.

Gretchen Birbeck Department: Neurology & Ophthalmology Com
Countries/Research: Zambia; Malawi; Kenya
Email: birbeck(at)

Adrian Blow Department: Human Development & Fam Studies
Countries/Research: South Africa
Email: blowa(at)

Michael Boivin Department: Psychiatry Osteopathic Med
Countries/Research: Democratic Republic of the Congo; Uganda; Kenya; Benin
Email: boivin(at)

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Biography: Dr. Boivin presently leads NIH-NICHD sponsored studies in Uganda pertaining to the neurocognitive rehabilitation in children surviving severe malaria and early caregiver training to enhance cognitive and psychosocial development in children with HIV. He is also collaborating on studies evaluating the neurcognitive effects cerebral malaria in Malawian and in Ugandan children, as well as on a recently completed R21 study on the developmental effects of maternal anemia in very young children in Benin. Dr. Boivin presently directs the neuropsychological assessment program in an NIH/NIEHS-sponsored study of konzo, a neurotoxic disease from poorly processed cassava in the DR Congo.

Michael Bratton Department: Political Science
Countries/Research: Kenya; Zambia; Uganda; Zimbabwe; South Africa; Nigeria; Ghana; Malawi
Email: mbratton(at)

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Biography: Michael Bratton is University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and African Studies at Michigan State University. He is the author of four books, most recently Public Opinion, Democracy and Markets in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2005, with Robert Mattes and E. Gyimah-Boadi) and over sixty articles and chapters, including in The American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, World Development, The Journal of Democracy, and The British Journal of Political Science. He is also a founder, former executive director, and now senior advisor to the Afrobarometer, a cross-national survey research project on public opinion in Africa.

Lawrence Busch Department: Sociology
Countries/Research: Guinea; Togo; Mali; Ghana; Kenya; Sudan; Niger; South Africa
Email: lbusch(at)

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Biography: Lawrence Busch is University Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Standards in Society at Michigan State University. Dr. Busch's current interests include the use of standards in public and private policy making, biotechnology and nanotechnology policy, agricultural science and technology policy, higher education in agriculture, and public participation in the policy process.

Brahim Chakrani Department: Linguistic & Langauge
Countries/Research: Morocco
Email: chakrani(at)

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Biography: Dr. Chakrani is Assistant Professor of Arabic in MSU’s Department of Linguistics and Languages, and he is currently MSU's Arabic Language Coordinator. He earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jonathan Choti Department: Linguistic & Langauges
Countries/Research: Kenya
Email: chotijon(at)

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Biography: Jonathan Choti's research interests focus on the morphophonology of Bantu languages; he also teaches Swahili and a course in the integrated studies in the arts and humanities that deals with African cultures, languages and literature.

Daniel Clay Department: Dept. of Community Sustain
Countries/Research: Burundi; Ethiopia; Kenya; Madagascar; Mali; Morocco; Niger
Email: clay(at)

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Biography: Dan Clay is Professor and Director, Global Programs in Sustainable Agri-food Systems in the Department of Community Sustainability, and Senior Associate to the Dean, CANR. His work in agricultural and rural development focuses on issues of sustainable food and agricultural value chain development (high value exports), food security, food aid impacts, household livelihood strategies, relief-development linkages, conservation investments, sustainable agricultural intensification, and household survey methodologies. His current/recent research and international development activities include smallholder food security and coffee value chain development in Rwanda and Burundi; satellite-based methods for forecasting and famine early warning in Senegal; and horticulture value chains and food safety in Vietnam and Thailand (WTO sponsored) and Rwanda (EU sponsored). Dan's domestic research program focuses on sports analytics, notably the ecological and organizational determinants of performance and success in college athletics.

Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz Department: Political Science
Countries/Research: Uganda; Senegal; Ghana
Email: conroyk6(at)

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Biography: Jeff Conroy-Krutz is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, where he began work in 2009.  His research focuses on political decision-making, particularly surrounding elections, in Sub-Saharan Africa.  He is currently working on a book manuscript on mass media, access to political information, and electoral decision-making in Africa, and is beginning a research project on comparative electoral campaign behavior in Africa.  To date, he has conducted fieldwork for various research projects in Senegal and Uganda.  Jeff received his PhD in Political Science from Columbia University in 2009.  In 2009-10, he will teach undergraduate courses in African Politics and Introduction to Comparative Politics at MSU.