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Faculty Directory

The Michigan State University African Studies Center has close to a hundred Core Faculty with experience on Africa, probably one of the largest in the nation. The Center features many scholars in social science, agricultural economics, African languages, the arts and humanities, education, health and medicine and many other fields.

The faculty members are listed alphabetically by college and departmental affiliation, noting geographical areas of Africa experience, and teaching and research interests.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the African Studies Center's Core Faculty, please fill out the Membership Request form

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John P. Beck Department: Human Resources & Labor Relations
Email: beckj(at)msu.edu

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Biography: John P. Beck is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources & Labor Relations at Michigan State University. He previously served as associate director of the School, primarily in charge of two of the School's outreach units, the Labor Education Program and Union Management Initiatives. He also co-directs a project (with Karen Klomparens, the Dean of the MSU Graduate School), "Building Mutual Expectations and Resolving Conflicts in Graduate Education," on the use of interest-based conflict resolution approaches for graduate students and their faculty mentors. John holds degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. He worked for five years on the staff of the University of Michigan Labor Studies Center. He has taught labor studies on the community college level in both Oklahoma and Michigan and has taught history and education courses at the university level.

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

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

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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.

Brahim Chakrani Department: Linguistics & Languages
Countries/Research: Morocco
Email: chakrani(at)msu.edu

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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: Linguistics & Languages
Countries/Research: Kenya
Email: chotijon(at)msu.edu

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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.

Damaris Choti Department: African Studies Center
Email: chotid(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Damaris Choti is Assistant to the Director of African Studies Center at MSU. She holds PhD and MA degrees in Educational Administration from Michigan State University. Damaris coordinates alumni and student engagement initiatives and activities for the center. She facilitates communication with African alumni and works with Africa-related student groups to design a series of activities that help the larger MSU community learn more about Africa and opportunities available through the African Studies Center. Damaris is a co-founder of MSU African Female Students Empowerment Program (AFSEP) and advises many Africa-oriented student organizations. Damaris’s areas of interest include school administration, women leadership, gender studies and African studies. She has authored a book chapter Where did the Girls go?: The Role of Socialization and Institutions in Silencing Female Voices. In "Becoming Critical: The Emergence of Social Justice Scholars" Eds: Broscoe, F. & Muhammad K. (SUNY, 2015) and an article, The Role of Family Social Capital in the Upward Mobility of Kenyan Female School Principals (Kenya Scholars and Studies Association KESSA, 2013)

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

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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.

Lisa Cook Department: James Madison College
Countries/Research: Nigeria; South Africa; Senegal; Ghana; Egypt; Tunisia; Madagascar; Mozambique; Namibia; Mauritius; Rwanda; Burundi; Uganda; Kenya
Email: lisacook(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Dr. Lisa D. Cook is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and in International Relations (James Madison College) at Michigan State University. Among her current research interests are economic growth and development, financial institutions and markets, innovation, and economic history. As a Senior Economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the 2011-2012 academic year, Dr. Cook worked on the euro zone, financial instruments, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Eric Crawford Department: Ag, Food & Resource Econ
Email: crawfor5(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Prior to his doctoral studies, Professor Eric Crawford worked on rural and agricultural development programs in Kenya for five years, initially as a Peace Corps volunteer. He joined the department at Michigan State in 1979 as an assistant professor focusing on international agricultural development. His recent research has covered the evaluation of agricultural research impacts, determinants of farm productivity and investment, benefit-cost analysis of alternative strategies for promoting improved input use, and linking farm household models with climate change and crop models. From September 1992 through September 2006 he served as Associate Chairperson and graduate program coordinator. Since 2006, he has served as Co-Director of the Food Security Group within the department. He is also currently Director of MSU’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation, and is a Co-PI on several international projects including the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy, the Tanzania Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI), and the Borlaug Higher Education Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) program.

Constance (Connie) Currier Department: Human Medicine Dean/History
Countries/Research: Ghana; Ethiopia; Kenya; Liberia; Mali; Malawi; Zimbabwe
Email: currier3(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Connie Currier, DrPH, MPH, is Assistant Professor and advisor for the Program. She is responsible for coordinating international and domestic practicum/field experiences for students, as well as developing and teaching global public health-related courses targeted at MPH, medical, undergraduate, and high school students. Her graduate degrees are from the University of Michigan: the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in health policy; and a joint Master of Public Health (MPH) in both Population Planning and International Health, and Public Health Policy and Administration. Dr. Currier’s teaching and research interests focus on the values of social justice and cultural competence as essential to good public health practice. She believes preparing students with knowledge and skills in these areas is essential to enable them to successfully address the increasingly complex global public health challenges they will face as they enter the workforce.