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

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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.

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: Linguistics & Languages
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: Linguistics & Languages
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.

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

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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)

Daniel Clay Department: Community Sustainability
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.