Institute of African Studies - Columbia University

Visiting Scholars


FWO Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Antwerp
CeMIS (Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies)

Hannah Höchner’s research seeks to shed light on the diversity and dynamism of Islamic schooling practices in contexts of ongoing social change. Her doctoral thesis, which she completed at the Oxford Department of International Development, offers an anthropological and participatory study with young Islamic school students. During more than 13 months of ethnographic and participatory research, she investigated the classical Qur’anic educational system in Kano State, northern Nigeria. Bringing together scholarship on the anthropology and sociology of education, youth studies and poverty research, her forthcoming book ('Qur’anic schools in northern Nigeria: everyday experiences of youth, faith, and poverty‘, CUP) highlights how current ‘development’ endeavours, including repeated attempts to universalise basic education, have given rise to new experiences of exclusion for those whom these efforts have left out. Together with nine Qur’anic students she produced a participatory film/docu-drama during her fieldwork, which presents the perspectives of Qur’anic students on their own education system (online here: Hannah's current work includes Muslim immigrant communities in the West and their relationships with their homelands. Connecting diaspora and transnationalism studies with the study of change within religious schooling practices in Muslim societies, she explores the involvement of the diaspora within Senegal’s religious education sector. More specifically, she traces how sojourns in the homeland undertaken for the purpose of religious education shape migrants’ children’s relationships with their homeland and with Islam, and how diaspora influences alter Muslim schooling practices in Senegal.


PhD Student
Panthéon-Sorbonne University Paris 1
Institut des mondes africains

Sara Panata’s doctoral research aims to understand gender roles and their historical constructions in both late colonial and postcolonial contexts (1940s-1990s) in South-West Nigeria through the study of the collective mobilizations of women. On the one hand, the research focuses on the genesis and development of women’s collective engagement by analyzing their agendas, their demands, their ways and means of calling the government’s attention to their needs. On the other hand, it considers Nigerian activists’ biographical trajectories in order to investigate the motivations for their engagement or disengagement. The role of religion is also examined. What influence did religion have on the causes women chose to rally around as well as on their modes of mobilization? Public archives, private papers of women activists, newspaper materials, oral interviews and audio-visual documents (radio and television programs, photography and political songs) are analyzed to discover the causes that led women to mobilize and the means they employed to fight for them. Studying women’s mobilizations under various political, social and economic conditions in Nigeria will also enable the researcher teasing apart the different modes of socio-political participation of women over time in order to get a sense of women’s role in the history of different regimes and transformations in Nigeria.


Jesse Weaver Shipley is a filmmaker, writer, and ethnographer. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from University of Chicago and is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Haverford College. He is concerned with urban life, labor, entrepreneurship, mobility, and new media technologies as they relate to life under changing economic regimes. His ethnographic research focuses on performance, popular culture, music, youth, and technology in Ghana and recent African Diasporas. He is the author of Living the Hiplife: Celebrity and Entrepreneurship in Ghanaian Popular Music (Duke University Press 2013). His articles appear in journals including Public Culture, American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, and So​cial Text. Recent films include the feature documentary Living the Hiplife: Musical Life in the Streets of Accra (2007), the multi-channel video installation Black Star (2012), and Is It Sweet? (2013). His new book Trickster Theatre: The Poetics of Duality in African Theatre is due out with Indiana University Press in 2014.


Jeremiah O.

Senior Lecturer in Political Science, University of Ibadan

Jeremiah O. Arowosegbe is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Ibadan. Ibadan. Nigeria. His areas of research interests and teaching specializations include African Development, African Intellectual History and African Studies as well as African Politics, African Political Thought, Political Theory and Political Thought respectively. He has held visiting academic appointments as A. C. Jordan Fellow of African Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (2013-2014); Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of the Humanities at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa (2010-2011); Guest Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden (2008); Visiting Fellow at the African Studies Centre, University of Leiden, the Netherlands (2008); and SEPHIS Fellow of the Humanities and the Social Sciences at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta, India (2006-2007). Between September and December 2015, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council at the West African Research Centre, Dakar, Senegal and the Institute of African Studies, Columbia University, New York, United States of America. His concluded research assignment, in that programme was titled, Ethnic Minorities and Land Conflicts in South-Western Nigeria.

Between September and December 2017, Dr. Arowosegbe is a Senior Fellow of the African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council at the Institute of African Studies, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. New York. United States of America. His current, book-length research is titled, Ethnic Minorities and Land Conflicts in Nigeria.


Assistant Professor of African and American Literature
University of Letters and Human Sciences of Bamako
English Department

Fatoumata Keita's current research project seeks to investigate the contribution of three Africana women Nobel Prize winners, namely, Leymah Gbowee, Toni Morrison, and Wangari Maathai to the expurgation of women’s marginalisation, victimization, and misrepresentation conveyed in official narratives. Although coming from different geographical and cultural locations, Toni Morrison, (the 1993 Literature Nobel laureate from the United States of America), Wangari Maathai (the late 2004 Peace Nobel laureate from Kenya) and Leymah Roberta Gbowee (the 2011 Peace Nobel laureate from Liberia) follow the same trajectories of struggle against gender-based violence, gender inequality, poverty, insecurity, patriarchal oppression and environmental degradation. In addition, their commitment and long-standing political activism have ushered in a new era of dynamism and positive change in black women’s studies. They have written narratives of resistance embedded in women’s struggle for self-definition and voice in often-rigid patriarchal and racially dominated societies. The aim of this project is to critically analyze the works of selected Nobel Prize laureates from a comparative perspective in order to spotlight commonalities and differences between their texts and show how they can be used as inspirational and empowering narratives for black women who still undergo sundry forms of discrimination and marginalization in decision-making process.

Serunkuma (Past Scholar)

Makerere University, Institute of Social Research

Yusuf Serunkuma is a graduate Student at Makerere University Institute of Social Research (MISR). His PhD project, “Making Somaliland: Popular Culture, Identity and Recognition” sprung from an understanding that East Africa and the Horn of Africa are deeply bounded to each other, as the crises in Somalia/Somaliland have vividly demonstrated. Yusuf has a Bachelors degree in Literature and English Language and an MPhil in Social Studies [Cultural Studies] both from Makerere University. In his free time, Yusuf moonlights as a columnist in Uganda’s newspapers, and a playwright. In 2014, Fountain Publishers published his first play, The Snake Farmers.

Sidibé (Past Scholar)

Doudou Sidibé is a Professor-researcher at Novancia Business School. He Holds a doctorate in international relations at the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3. He teaches negotiation, geopolitics, political communication and "business diplomacy". He is involved in several higher education institutions such as the University of Paris-Est Marne-La Valley, ENA Rabat (Morocco), the National Assembly of Cameroon in collaboration with ENA in France, the Schiller International University Paris-Campus, the University of Roehampton in London, Ecole de Guerre de Paris in collaboration with ESSEC Business School. He is currently a visiting scholar at The Institute of African Studies Columbia University where he is researching on Negotiating Intractable conflicts in Casamance (Senegal) and power negotiation between Areva and Niger. He used to be a Visiting scholar at SAIS Johns Hopkins University (2015) and at CPASS Georgetown University (2006). He is the scientific coordinator of the International Biennial on negotiation. He is author of several books and articles. He is member of several academic associations such as IACM (International Association for Conflict Management), ICAM (International Conference for Advanced Management), IPSA International Political Science Association, PIN (Processes in International Negotiation). He is member of the scientific committee of Revue Négotiations.

Houeland (Past Scholar)

PhD Fellow, Department of Ecology International and Development Studies (Noragric), Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Camilla Houeland is PhD Fellow in the Department of Ecology International and Development Studies (Noragric) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Her research concerns trade union agency and oil politics in Nigeria. She explores the Nigerian trade unions and their opportunities and constraints in relation to state, capital and community in the Nigerian political economy of oil. It looks at both national level, emphasizing relation to state and civil society, and local level, focusing on oil workers’ unions’ relation to companies and communities in the Niger Delta. She received her M.Phil in political science from the University of Oslo (Thesis: A discourse analysis: Political mobilization of coloureds in Western Cape, South Africa), and she worked for five years as Africa adviser to the Norwegian Confederation of Trade unions. She also teaches and advises BA and MA students in development studies.

Obi (Past Scholar)

Program Director, SSRC

Cyril Obi is currently a Program Director at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and leads the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) program. He earned his doctorate in Political Science from the University of Lagos. His recent publications include, The Rise of China and India in Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Critical Interventions, London and Uppsala; Oil and Insurgency in the Niger Delta: Managing the Complex Politics of Petro-Violence, London: Zed Books, 2011.

Talton (Past Scholar)

Associate Professor of History, Temple University

Benjamin Talton is an Associate Professor of History at Temple University. He earned his doctorate in History from the University of Chicago.His research and teaching is focused on nineteenth and twentieth century Africa and the African diaspora. His most recent publications include Black Subjects in Africa and its Diasporas (Palgrave Macmillan) and Politics of Social Change in Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality (Palgrave Macmillan). Professor Talton’s current research examines hunger and humanitarianism in the politics of the closing years of the Cold War in the Horn of Africa, South Africa and the United States.