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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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Pero Dagbovie Department: Graduate School Dean
Countries/Research: Togo
Email: dagbovie(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Pero Gaglo Dagbovie is professor of African American history and Associate Dean in The Graduate School. His research and teaching interests comprise a range of time periods, themes, and topical specialties, including black intellectual history, the history of the black historical enterprise, black women's history, black life during the Nadir, the civil rights-Black Power movement, African American Studies, hip hop culture, and contemporary black history. His books include Black History: Old School Black Historians and the Hip Hop Generation (Bedford Publishers, Inc., 2006),The Early Black History Movement, Carter G. Woodson, and Lorenzo Johnston Greene (University of Illinois Press, 2007), African American History Reconsidered (University of Illinois Press, 2010), Carter G. Woodson in Washington, D.C.: The Father of Black History (The History Press, 2014), and What is African American History? (Polity Press: Cambridge, UK, 2015). He is on the editorial boards of The Journal for the Study of Radicalism and The Journal of Black Studies and is a lifetime member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Charles (Kurt) Dewhurst Department: Museum/English
Countries/Research: South Africa
Email: dewhurs1(at)msu.edu

Cynthia Donovan Department: Ag, Food and Resource Economics
Countries/Research: Mozambique Zambia; Kenya; Angola; Malawi
Email: donovanc(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Dr. Donovan is an Associate Professor in International Development in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, having joined MSU in 1999.  She has been involved with research, training and outreach in developing countries since 1981, including research positions with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and the West African Rice Development Association (WARDA, now known as Africa Rice) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Dr. Donovan is currently Deputy Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab on Collaborative Research for Grain Legumes(Legume Innovation Lab and a member of the Core Faculty of the African Studies Center at MSU.  She has extensive experience in West, East, and Southern Africa, as well as Asia and Latin America.

Chinwe Effiong Department: International Studies and Programs
Email: effiong(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Dr. Chinwe Effiong is Assistant Dean for the Youth Empowerment Programs. In this role she is responsible for leveraging MSU expertise to identify and scale new opportunities for global youth education, entrepreneurship and empowerment initiatives. Before joining MSU, Dr. Effiong served as CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) in Africa, where she provided strategic direction and oversight for JA operations across sub-Saharan Africa. She worked closely with government, civil society groups and private sector stakeholders to raise awareness and promote support for programs that enabled young people in Africa to improve their livelihoods. Dr. Effiong has made significant contributions to the global mission to create jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, especially young women, residing in the world’s most marginalized communities. She designed the groundbreaking entrepreneurship curriculum for out of school youth, popularly referred to as ITS TYME (Immersion Training Strategy: Targeting Young Marginalized Entrepreneurs). In partnership with Google volunteers, she also facilitated the creation of the JA SySTEM, an innovative curriculum designed to raise awareness about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) among middle and high school students, especially girls, across Africa. Prior to joining JA, Dr. Effiong was the Director of Programs for Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership in Silver Spring, MD. She also worked for several years as Country Director for Nigeria and Regional Director for East and West Africa at Africare, a Washington, D.C. based, international development organization, addressing a wide range of development needs across the continent of Africa. Dr. Effiong started her professional career as Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Lincoln University, PA and served as interim Chair of the Department of Political Science there. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Delaware and a B.A. in English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar, Nigeria. Dr. Effiong is a recognized thought leader in the field of youth education and entrepreneurship and has served on the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative. In addition to her professional work, Dr. Effiong is a creative writer and motivational speaker.

Philip Effiong Department: English & Theater Studies
Email: effiongp(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Philip Uko Effiong has been teaching at the college level for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Drama from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He received his Master’s in Literature of the African Diaspora and Bachelor’s in English, both from the University of Calabar, Nigeria. Prior to joining Michigan State University (MSU) in the Spring of 2018, Philip taught drama, fiction, nonfiction, orature and writing at the University of Calabar, Nigeria; Regent University College of Science and Technology, Ghana; the University of Wisconsin, Madison; the University of Tennessee, Martin; the University of Delaware, Newark; Lincoln University, Pennsylvania and Morehouse College, Atlanta. He is also on the faculty of the University of Maryland University College where he teaches online classes in drama and African American literature. With a growing interest in interdisciplinarity, Philip teaches theatre, literature and history classes at MSU. His research interests also crisscross multiple disciplines and include: dictatorships and divine masks; influences of European drama and Greek tragedy on African and African diasporic drama; war literature, particularly wars fueled by religion; misrepresentations of Fela Kuti and his music; postcolonial and post-apartheid African literature; historic narratives that redefine Africa; the Maroons of Jamaica; Biafra and the creation of a new diaspora; the African diaspora in India and the Philippines; and the oral tradition. As a writing consultant, Philip has written documents covering development and healthcare for nonprofit, governmental and business organizations. He has also worked in information technology as an Oracle programmer.

Stephen Esquith Department: Residential College Arts and Human Dean
Countries/Research: Mali
Email: esquith(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Stephen L. Esquith has been working on ethical problems in developing countries since 1990, when he was a senior Fulbright scholar in Poland. His primary scholarly work is Intimacy and Spectacle (Cornell, 1994), a critique of classical and modern liberal political philosophy. Steve has also been involved in numerous civic engagement projects in the public schools, including an exchange program between local elementary school children in the United States and schoolchildren in a community school in Kati, Mali. He led study abroad programs focusing on ethical issues in development in Mali in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 and spent the 2005-06 academic year teaching and working with colleagues at the University of Bamako as a senior Fulbright scholar. After consulting with the Malian Ministry for Reconciliation in 2013, he returned to Mali in summer 2014 to lead a new study abroad program there to develop a local dialogue forum in collaboration with students and faculty from the Ecole Normal Superieure in Bamako and the Institute for Popular Education in Kati.

Emine Evered Department: History
Email: evered(at)msu.edu

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Biography: As a historian of the Middle East and North Africa, Emine Evered specializes in analyzing late Ottoman and early nationalist accounts of education and public health as a means to understanding themes in modernization, nation-building, and ethno-religious particularization. As an historian of the Middle East and North Africa, Emine Ö. Evered specializes in analyzing late Ottoman and early nationalist accounts of education and public health as a means to understanding themes in modernization, nation-building, and ethno-religious particularization.  She earned her PhD in History with a minor in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona.  She also holds an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduate and undergraduate degrees from institutions in Turkey.

Amara Ezeamama Department: Psychiatry
Email: ezeamama(at)msu.edu

Laura Fair Department: History
Countries/Research: Tanzania
Email: fairl(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Laura Fair is a historian of Tanzanian urban social, cultural and gendered history. Dr. Fair teaches a broad range of courses from surveys of pre-colonial and colonial Africa to graduate seminars on oral history theory, method and praxis. Dr. Fairs current project is a wide-ranging study of commercial cinema in colonial and postcolonial Tanzania. Cinemas, Cities and Audiences: The Business and Pleasures of Movie-going in Twentieth Century Tanzania, explores changes in exhibition, distribution and reception from 1900-2014.

Anne Ferguson Department: International Studies & Programs Dean
Countries/Research: Malawi; Zimbabwe; Nigeria; Tanzania; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Zambia
Email: fergus12(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Dr. Anne Ferguson, GenCen Co-Director and Professor of Anthropology, does research and teaching on development studies, gender, agricultural and environmental change, and medical anthropology. Her early work in El Salvador in medical anthropology centered on the impacts of multinational pharmaceutical firms' business practices on health care provided at pharmacies, and on the integration of these companies' products into lay and alternative medical practices.In the mid-1980s, Dr. Ferguson shifted her research focus to Southern Africa, where she has studied development initiatives in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, and water sector reform. Currently, her research centers on the gender dimensions of Malawi's new water and land reform policies. Much of Dr. Ferguson's research has been carried out in collaboration with colleagues at MSU and at the University of Malawi. Support for her research has come from the McArthur Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, Rockefeller Foundation, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).