African Studies Center

University of Pennsylvania

(1) Visiting Scholars

Visiting Scholars are in residence at the African Studies Center for a semester or academic year. They are expected to fully participate in Center events; engage in a scholarly research project; give at least one formal lecture as a part of the African Studies Center Lecture Series; and informally work with and advise undergraduate and graduate African Studies students.

Recent Scholars:

Dr. Kamari Clarke [2014-2015]

Professor Clarke’s research explores issues related to religious nationalism, legal institutions, human rights and international law, the interface between culture, power and globalization, and its relationship to race and modernity. Clarke's research interests have taken her to intentional Yoruba communities in the American South, traditionalist religious and legal domains in Southwestern Nigeria, international criminal tribunals, and international law training sessions in Ireland, London, Geneva, Banjul, The United Nations and beyond.  She serves on several scholarly and advisory boards and is the founding director of the Center for Transnational Cultural Analysis at Yale. Over the years she has lectured throughout various regions of the United States, Canada, West and South Africa, England, and the Caribbean and taught courses on Globalization, Transnationalism, and Modernity, Rethinking Human Rights, Contemporary Social Theory, Religious Nationalism, Race and Empire, and the Anthropology of Religion. 


Dr. Anika Wilson [2014-2015]

Dr. Anika Wilson is Associate Professor of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.Her research and teaching interests include: Rumor, Gossip, and Conspiracy Theory; African Vernacular Health Beliefs and Practices (Particularly AIDS Beliefs); African Marriage.


Past Scholars:

Dr. Joyce T. Mathangwane [2009-2010]

is Associate Professor of Language and Linguistics in the Department of English in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana. She teaches courses on the Phonology and Morphology of the English language in addition to doing research on the Bantu languages. In the recent years, her research interests have expanded to include social aspects of HIV/AIDS. During her stay here at Penn, she developed a course titled 'Discourses on HIV/AIDS in Africa', which she is currently teaching this Spring semester to a class of 33 students. In the Fall, she presented a paper titled 'People's perceptions of HIV/AIDS as portrayed by their labels of the disease: the case of Botswana'. She is also scheduled to give public presentations on her research findings at the Byrn Mawr College and the University of West Virginia in March and April, respectively.

Dr. Clara Momanyi [ Fall 2006]

is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Kiswahili and Other African Languages, in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. She is the chairperson of Kiswahili Curriculum Development. In addition to teaching courses on Kiswahili literature and gender, her research expertise include Kiswahili teaching methodologies and sociolinguistics. While based at Penn, Dr. Momanyi worked on a research titled "Enhancing Collaboration in the Teaching of Kiswahili through Second Language Classroom Research." She also gave public presentations at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Florida.

Dr. Paul N. Mbatia [Spring 2005]

is the Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Nairobi. His areas of research expertise include research methods and the sociology of development. While based at Penn, Dr. Mbatia conducted research on the development industry in Africa, and he gave public presentations at Illinois Wesleyan University, Louisiana State University, Bryn Mawr College and Arcadia University.

Dr. Peter Rogers [Spring 2005]

is an Assistant Professor in the Program on Environmental Studies at Bates College. In addition to teaching courses on the social and political dimensions of environmental issues, his areas of research expertise include the politics of wildlife conservation and protected area management in sub-Saharan Africa and the role of international governmental and non-governmental organizations in these processes. While based at Penn, Dr. Rogers worked on a comparative study of the Serengeti-Mara protected area complex in East Africa and the Great Limpopo protected area complex in Southern Africa. He also taught a seminar on "The Social Dimensions of African Wildlife Conservation."

Dr. Francis Matambirofa [2001-02] is currently a Lecturer and Chair of the Department of African Languages at the University of Zimbabwe. A trained linguist, his areas of research expertise include language standardization and policy, comparative Bantu linguistics, and lexicography. While based at Penn, he conducted research on the languages of Zimbabwe while teaching a Shona language tutorial and "Language and Culture of Zimbabwe."

(2) Research Associates

Research Associates are not in residence at the African Studies Center, but they do occasionally participate in Center events, informally work with and advise undergraduate and graduate African Studies students, and engage in scholarly research projects.

Current Research Associates:

Deirdre LaPin, Ph.D, MPH [2012 - present]

Deirdre LaPin is a scholar and international development specialist with longstanding experience across academia, government, multilateral agencies, and the private sector. During 2008-2009 she was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Smithsonian Institution, researching the social history of the Niger Delta. Dr. LaPin was previously a Research Associate and Lecturer at the University of Ife, Nigeria, and has taught at Emory University, the University of Pennsylvania, and as tenured Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas.
Subsequent to her academic career, Dr. LaPin joined UNICEF as a senior official in Benin Republic and Somalia, where she initiated new strategies for health, water supply, and strategic planning. She later became manager of a worldwide project for the USAID Office of Health and Population. From 1997 she served a major company in the oil industry as a social investment manager, based for five years in the Niger Delta and two years in Oman, leading the design, staffing, implementation, and evaluation of sustainable community development programs. She is currently an Associate in the African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a consultant for the private sector and international development agencies on best practice social policy and investment. She also serves on the Board of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of the Washington DC area.

Dr. Harvey Glickman [2011- Present]

is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where he has served as Acting Provost, Chair of the Political Science Department, Director of African Studies and Co-ordinator of Peace and Conflict Studies for Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges.  He has degrees from Princeton and Harvard; he has also studied at Oxford University and London School of Economics; and he has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Hebrew University-Jerusalem, Dar es Salaam University, University of Cape Town, University of Pennsylvania, University of California-Berkeley, and Lincoln University, Pennsylvania.  He has written numerous articles, essays, reviews and parts of books on African politics; he has consulted on elements of foreign policy for the RAND Corporation, the American Friends Service Committee, U.S. Department of State, USAID, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence College.

Dr. Clare Ignatowski [2003-Present]

is a Senior Technical Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development in Washington, DC., focusing on programs and policy related to youth and workforce development globally in USAID’s Office of Education. Dr. Ignatowski recently completed a book entitled Journey of Song: Public Life and Morality in Cameroon that was published by Indiana University Press’ African Expressive Cultures Series.

Dr. Cymone Fourshey [2005-Present]

is an Assistant Professor of History at Susquehana University. Her areas of research expertise include East African history before the 18th century, with a particular interest in the social and cultural history of East Africa, African gender systems, political and environmental history, and Indian Ocean cross-cultural intersections. She is currently working on a manuscript, entitled "Distant Narratives from Southwestern Tanzania: Ecology, Kinship, and Gender 500 BCE to 1900 CE."

Visiting Scholar/Research Associate Application Procedures

If you are interested in affiliating with the African Studies Center as a Research Associate or Visiting Scholar, please submit the following application materials no later than February 1st for consideration for the following Fall and/or Spring semester. Preference will be given to applicants who have already identified a faculty contact at Penn.

  • detailed description of proposed research project (no longer than five pages)
  • curriculum vitae
  • contact information for three references (one from a Penn faculty member)
  • at least two course proposals with sample syllabi and, if possible, course evaluations (if you are interested in teaching)
  • sources of financial support (if applying for a Visiting Scholar position)*

Please send all application materials to:

African Studies Center
University of Pennsylvania
647 Williams Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tel: 215-898-6971
Fax: 215-573-7379

*Please note that Visiting Scholars will need to provide evidence of financial support and authorization to work in the United States before the African Studies Center can review applications since the Center does not have funds available for this purpose. There are occasional opportunities to teach Africa-content courses through Penn’s College of General Studies.

For inquiries please contact:
Dr.Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D,
(215) 898-6610

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