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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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Mara Leichtman

Department: Anthropology Social Science
Countries/Research: Senegal; Morocco
Email: leichtm1(at)
Dr. Leichtman is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and she focuses on West Africa and the Middle East. She earned her Ph.D. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Brown University, and she also holds an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in International Relations and African Studies and a B.A. in Middle Eastern and North African Studies from the University of Michigan. Her research highlights the interconnections among religion, migration and politics, and conversion to Shii Islam, through examining Muslim institutions and the communities they serve. She investigates the location of Shii Islam in national and international religious networks, the tension between Lebanese and Iranian religious authorities in West Africa, and the development of a vernacular Shii Islamic movement in Senegal.