Institute of African Studies - Columbia University




Mamadou Diouf earned his doctorate from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. His research interests include urban, political, social and intellectual history in colonial and postcolonial Africa. His recent publications include: Tolerance, Democracy, and Sufis in Senegal [2013]; Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World. Rituals and Remembrances (with Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo) [2010]; New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, and Power (with Mara A. Leichtman) [2009], Histoires et Identités dans la Caraïbe. Trajectoires Plurielles (with Ulbe Bosma) [2004], La Construction de l’Etat au Sénégal (with M. C. Diop & D. Cruise O’Brien) [2002], Histoire du Sénégal: Le Modèle Islamo-Wolof et ses Périphéries [2001], Les Jeunes, Hantise de l’espace public dans les sociétés du sud? (with R. Collignon) [2001]. 


Associate Director

Jinny Prais earned her doctorate in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. She has taught courses in African and world history and women’s studies at the University of Michigan, West Virginia University, and Columbia University. Her areas of teaching and research include citizenship and social movements; African cities and urban cultures; African diaspora and imperial networks; and colonial and gender identity formation in twentieth-century West Africa. Her publications include: “‘Casting the Badge of Inferiority Beneath Black Peoples’ Feet’: Archiving and Reading the African Past, Present and Future in World History” (with Mamadou Diouf), in Global Intellectual History, Andrew Sartori and Samuel Moyn, Eds. (Columbia University Press, 2013); "Representing an African City and Urban Elite: The Nightclubs, Dance Halls, and Red Light District of Interwar Accra," in The Arts of Citizenship in Africa Cities, Rosiland Fredericks and Mamadou Diouf, Eds. (Palgrave, Forthcoming). She is currently revising an article manuscript, "The Ambiguous Geography of Imperial Citizenship: Opportunities and Constraints of African Membership in the British Empire in the 1930s," and working on her book manuscript entitled Between Empire and the World: West Africans and the Politics of Race and Culture in Interwar London and Accra. This term she is teaching "Citizenship & Social Movements in Africa," at the School of International and Public Affairs.


African Language Coordinator

Mariame Sy is the Coordinator of the African Language Programand a Lecturer in Wolof and Pulaar. She came to Columbia University in Fall 2005 from the Department of Linguistics at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where she is finishing a Ph.D. in Linguistics. Her research interests include the morpho-phonology and syntax of West-Atlantic languages such as Wolof and Pulaar, and first and second language acquisition.



Yuusuf S. Caruso is the African Studies Librarian at Columbia (since 1993). He earned his doctorate in History (specialization in East Africa) from Columbia University. He is in charge of everything from and about Africa in the Librariesand offers reference consultations and class instruction. For further information on the collection or to arrange an appointment, please contact Dr. Caruso at


Administrative Assistant

Sara Weschler recently earned her MA from Columbia's Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, where her thesis research focused on the colonial-era roots of two contemporary land conflicts in Uganda's Acholi region. She holds a BA in Linguistics from Brown University, where she focused on child language acquisition in Bantu languages. In the period between earning her degrees, Sara spent two years working for a local conflict-recovery NGO in Gulu, Uganda and and another two teaching writing to freshman at NYU-Abu Dhabi. Sara is the co-translator of He's Far Too Much, the English-language edition of Tanzanian playwright Said Ahmed Mohamed's absurdist Swahili tragicomedy Amezidi, and has published articles on Ugandan politics. She is currently at work on Song of the Long Road Home, a nonfiction narrative account of one man's eight years as a child soldier and later mid-level commander in the Lord's Resistance Army (being written at the subject's own request).



Marie-Cassandre Wavre is pursuing a Master in Public Administration (MPA) at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) of Columbia University. She is concentrating in Economic and Political Development and specializing in Gender and Public Policy. Marie earned a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Human Rights from Fordham University and a Graduate Degree in International Law from University Paris-Assas. Before joining the Institute of African Studies, she researched transgender rights in New Delhi, India at O.P. Jindal Global University and worked in corporate governance with Sustainalytics in Bucharest, Romania.

Thomas R.
Lind III


Thomas R. Lind III, a New Yorker, got a first-class BA (Hons) from St Peters College, Oxford before spending seven years based in London as a consultant to clients in Africa and Europe. During this time he assisted NGOs, national governments and latterly multinational energy firms, with a focus in West and North Africa. He is currently in the second year of the Dual Degree MIA program between Columbia SIPA and the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po, specializing in security policy.



Esther Owens is a first year master's student at Columbia University's School of Public and International Affairs. She is studying international security policy and has spent the past six years working in the the Middle East. Her research interests primarily lie in foreign policy in the Arabian Gulf and Turkey; she is specifically interested in the emergence and proliferation of interstate terrorism and post-conflict gender-based violence.