Episode 113: East African Borderlands: Somalia, Kenya, and Belonging

Keren Weitzberg (Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London) on her new book We Do Not Have Borders: Greater Somalia and the Predicaments of Belonging in Kenya. She grapples with the long history of Somali migration across colonial/post-colonial borders, definitions of “Somaliness,” media coverage and representations of Somali people, and the “hidden history’” of women gleaned from poetry and […]

Episode 105: Popular Theater in Kenya—The Trial of Dedan Kimathi

Micere Githae Mugo (Syracuse, Emeritus) and Simon Gikandi (Princeton) discuss the making and aftermath of The Trial of Dedan Kimathi and, on the 40th anniversary of the play, reflect on the play’s historical and political significance in Kenya and beyond; its innovative elements; and researching, writing, and enacting the play with Ngugi wa Thiong’o and […]

Episode 98: City of Thorns—Inside the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

Author Ben Rawlence (Open Society Foundations Fellow) on his new book: City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp. He describes working in Dadaab, Kenya, and discusses Somali refugees’ daily struggles, their personal lives, social relationships, trade, and Islam. The interview closes with reflections on the international dimensions of the conflict in Somalia and prospects for peace.

Episode 85: Swahili Poetry with Abdilatif Abdalla

Abdilatif Abdalla is the best-known Swahili poet and independent Kenya’s first political prisoner. He discusses poetry as a political instrument and as an academic field; publication prospects for African poets; and how poetry enabled him to survive three years of solitary confinement, after which he spent 22 years in exile. The interview ends with Abdalla […]

Episode 70: The International Politics of Black Liberation

Historian Gerald Horne (U. of Houston) on how labor struggles in Hawaii and black self-assertion in Kenya influenced a young Barack Obama; the legacy of African-American involvement in African political struggles; the confluence of African-American Studies and African Studies; and W.E.B. DuBois as a template for unity among people of African descent. With guest co-host […]

Episode 55: African Archives, Past & Present

Derek Peterson (University of Michigan) on the politics and practice of archives in East Africa, the precarious state of some archives, and exciting possibilities of preservation and digitization at Mountains of the Moon University in Uganda; “homespun” historians in Recasting the African Past and Mau Mau prisons in Kenya; and his forthcoming book Pilgrims & […]

Episode 16: Democracy and Labor, South African Perspectives

Mac Maharaj (South African activist and intellectual) explains why the model of South Africa’s transition to democracy cannot be replicated in powersharing agreements in Kenya and Zimbabwe. In the second part of this episode, recorded at the NEWSA meeting in Burlington, VT, Alex Beresford (PhD candidate, University of Edinburgh) tells us about his research on […]

Episode 15: Capitalism, Democracy, and Development

Kiki Edozie (James Madison College at MSU) compares recent corruption scandals in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.  She argues that democratic crises are closely tied to economic crises. At the end, the implications of these processes for African politics are considered.