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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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Masako Fujita Department: Anthropology Social Science
Countries/Research: Kenya
Email: masakof(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Masako Fujita is a biological anthropologist specializing in contemporary human variation in micronutrient storage and metabolism. Masako's research focuses on the health and evolutionary implications of mother and offspring nutrition. Masako's research is a combination of epidemiological, biomarker and ethnographic methods to investigate biocultural pathways to malnutrition, particularly clarifying why some nutritional deficiencies and health issues persist today despite public health intervention efforts. Masako's work also evaluates the applicability of clinical nutrition and health research methods to anthropological studies in resource-poor, non-clinical settings.

Stephen P. Gasteyer Department: Sociology
Countries/Research: Mali
Email: gasteyer(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Dr. Stephen P. Gasteyer is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University. Dr. Gasteyer’s research focuses on the nexus between water, land, community development. Specifically, his research currently addresses: 1) community capacity development and civic engagement through leadership training; 2) the political and social processes that enable or hinder community access to water and land resources, specifically (but not exclusively) in rural communities; 3) the class and race effects of access to basic services (water, sanitation, food, health care);  4) community capacity, community resilience and water systems management; 5) the impacts of greening in economically depressed small cities; 6) the community aspects of bioenergy development; 7) international social movements and community rights to basic services; and  8) facilitating cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary partnerships to address water and land resources management.

Peter Glendinning Department: Department of Art, Art History, and Design
Countries/Research: South Africa
Email: glendinn(at)egr.msu.edu

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Biography: In February 1999, Glendinning, as Board Member of the Photo Imaging Education Association, an international organization of photography faculty, was invited as a visiting lecturer at Technikon Pretoria (now Tshwane University), Bloemfontein Technikon (now Central University of Technology), and Port Elizabeth Technikon (now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University). He lectured in each of photography programs on U.S. copyright law and related professional practices, held workshops for students and local professional photographers on his practice of studio lighting and creative portraiture with the Hosemaster Turbofilter lighting system, and created portraits of a broad cross section of South Africans. His travel was sponsored by a grant from the MSU African Studies Center and Calumet Photographic. Calumet donated a complete Turbofilter lighting system to Technikon Pretoria to enhance the education of its students and research by its faculty at a time when there was only one such system in South Africa. The portraits he created were exhibited in the following year at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. and at the consulates in New York and Chicago as well as in displays in Calumet Photographic retail outlets worldwide. Glendinning's visits resulted in further exchanges between those South African counterparts and MSU's Art, Art History, and Design faculty and students. In 2000, 2001, and 2002, students from MSU, Port Elizabeth Technikon, and Wingate University (North Carolina) created an exchange exhibit that toured all three campuses. In 2001, Prof. Cuz Jeppe of the Technikon Pretoria Fine Arts faculty spent two weeks at MSU offering lectures on contemporary artists in South Africa, including his own drawings, and leading drawing workshops. He and Glendinning also organized an exchange exhibit of artwork by faculty members that was hung in both institutions. In 2002 Technikon Pretoria artist Prof. Ian Redlinghuys was hosted as a visiting artist at MSU, lecturing on his own work and on David Goldblatt, and leading drawing workshops. In 2007, Prof. Waldemar Busshian of Tshwane University and Prof. Glenn Meyer of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, visited MSU and gave demonstrations in photography and lectures on their own artwork as well as that of contemporary South African photographers. In 2015, Glendinning received a national award as one of the 24 American Society of Media Photographers “Best of 2015”. http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2015/msu-professor-of-photography-receives-national-award/. Prof. Glendinning authored the series of 5 online courses, Photography Basics & Beyond, which has had enrollments by over 900 learners from 33 African nations since its launch in 2016. A 2019 Fulbright Scholar award will place him at Nelson Mandela University and Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa where he will teach graduate seminars. His research will bring him to each of the nine provinces to create a portrait of the South African people, through photographs and oral histories responsive to Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration statement that each of his compatriots is intimately attached to the soil of the country.

Margo Glew Department: Teacher Ed
Email: glewmarg(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Margo Glew is coordinator of global initiatives and coordinator of the Global Educators Cohort Program, supporting efforts to enhance the teacher preparation program with global perspectives so that more teachers are prepared to educate students for success in a global society. Her academic interests include global education and second language acquisition and instruction. Her recent research involves working on a multi-national project to assess global-mindedness among undergraduate preservice teachers.

Rob Glew Department: CASID (Director)
Countries/Research: Burkina Faso; China; Ghana; Malawi; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Tanzania; Senegal and South Africa
Email: glew(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Robert Glew is the director of the Center for Advanced Study of International Development and associate professor at Michigan State University. Dr. Glew has 25 years of experience working in African societies on issues of international development in the areas of coping and livelihood strategies, health, political and social change, education, and identity politics. He has taught courses on international development, cultural change, and socio-cultural diversity.

Michael D. Gottfried Department: MSU Museum
Email: gottfrie(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Michael Gottfried has been at MSU since 1997, and is currently an Associate Professor of Geological Sciences and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the MSU Museum. Mike has also served as Director of MSU's Center for Integrative Studies in General Science since 2006. His research focuses on marine fish evolution in high-latitude southern hemisphere settings, the paleobiology of the giant fossil 'megatoothed' sharks, and the evolution and biogeographical relationships of vertebrate faunas from the ancient southern supercontinent of Gondwana. Mike has conducted field expeditions in Madagascar, Tanzania, South Africa, and New Zealand, and at many sites in the USA, in connection with his research. His work on the evolution of giant fossil sharks has led to involvement in several documentary films, including segments on the Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week' programming, and most recently as part of the 'Prehistoric Predators' series on National Geographic Television.

Michael Marcellus Green Department: MATRIX
Countries/Research: Senegal
Email: greenmi8(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Michael Green is Director of MATRIX Digital Media Lab and has been with Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at Michigan State University since 2010. He holds a Master of Science in Negotiation & Conflict Resolution from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. His B.A. from Michigan State University is in Media Arts & Technology, where he specialized in Documentary Studies. Michael has worked on several Africa related projects while at Matrix, serving as a project manager, media producer, and Principal investigator. Some of these projects include: Africa Past and Present podcast (known commonly as Afripod), Exploring Africa website, Goree Island Archaeological Digital Repository with University of Dakar, Mën Na Nekk multimedia project with ImagiNation Afrika, developing the African Studies Association’s annual conference podcast (known as ASAPOD). His extensive work in Senegal has included technological workshops and trainings to empower partners and foster mutually beneficial collaborations.

Salah Hassan Department: English
Countries/Research: Morocco; Mali
Email: hassans3(at)msu.edu

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Biography: In addition to his position in English, Salah Hassan is core faculty in the Muslim Studies Program and in Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities at MSU. His areas of research and teaching include postcolonial literature and theory, mid-20th century anticolonial intellectual movements, literatures of empire, and Arab and Muslim North American studies. His research projects have recently been oriented around the representation of Arabs and Muslims in the media and also projects of Arab and Muslim self-representation. He is the founder of the Muslim Subjects website and blog (muslimsubjects.org), and coordinator of the following projects on that site: "Migrations of Islam," "American Halal," and "Journal/Islam." Muslim Subjects was established with grant that he received from the Social Science Research Council in 2011. He co-curated RASHID & ROSETTA, an international online art exhibit on the theme of the Rosetta Stone, and is co-editor of a special issue of MELUS (Winter 2006) on Arab American literature. He co-produced the short documentary film, "Death of an Imam" and is currently producing a series of documentary films on Muslims in the US.

Walter Hawthorne III Department: History
Countries/Research: Guinea-Bissau
Email: walterh(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Walter Hawthorne III is a Professor of African History and Chair of the History Department. His areas of research specialization are Upper Guinea, the Atlantic, and Brazil. He is particularly interested in the history of slavery and the slave trade. Much of his research has focused on African agricultural practices, religious beliefs, and family structures in the Old and New Worlds. His first book, Planting Rice and Harvesting Slaves: Transformations along the Guinea-Bissau Coast, 1400–1900 (Heinemann: 2003), explores the impact of interactions with the Atlantic, and particularly slave trading, on small-scale, decentralized societies. His most recent book, From Africa to Brazil: Culture, Identity, and an Atlantic Slave Trade 1600-1830 (Cambridge: 2010), examines the slave trade from Upper Guinea to Amazonia Brazil.  He has published in a range of scholarly journals such as Journal of African History, Luso-Brazilian Review, Slavery and Abolition, Africa, Journal of Global History, and American Historical Review.

Marcy Hessling- O'Neil Department: Anthropological Social Science
Countries/Research: Benin
Email: hesslin2(at)msu.edu

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Biography: Dr. Marcy Hessling O’Neil is assistant professor of anthropology and advisor for the Peace and Justice Studies program at Michigan State University. O’Neil has taught several of the core courses in Peace and Justice, including ANP 236 “Slacktivists, Activists, and Social Entrepreneurs.” She has conducted ethnographic research among students and their families in Benin, West Africa for nine years. Her research focuses on the social impact of higher education on the extended family, and on the role of international development on the educational system. O’Neil is a Fulbright alumna, McNair Scholar, and former President of the National Association of Student Anthropologists. She has served on various committees with the American Anthropological Association, including the Mentorship Task Force. Most recently, O’Neil was a reader for the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. O’Neil earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from Michigan State University.