Adam Ashforth (Univ. of Michigan) on “witchcraft” in rural Central and urban Southern Africa. Discusses connections with colonial and postcolonial power and authority; gender; spiritual insecurity and religious enthusiasm; law, culture, and HIV/AIDS in Malawi; “anti-anti-witchcraft,” and the “serious laughter” of photographer Santu Mofokeng.
Sifiso Ndlovu (CEO, South African Democracy Education Trust) on the Soweto 1976 rising; personal and professional perspectives on challenges and contributions of African historians; writing and editing SADET’s The Road to Democracy in South Africa series; and the importance of orality and African languages in Zulu history and in rewriting South Africa’s past.
Prof. Nwando Achebe (MSU History) on her recent book The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe. Achebe describes key aspects of King (or Eze) Ahebi’s life; reflects on the value of oral history and multidisciplinary methods; and discusses Igbo gender, culture, and power during British colonial rule.
Diana Jeater on Zimbabwe’s colonial history. Focus is on gender and on how culture and access to material resources shaped African lives, and on the role of African languages — and their translation by white settlers — in constructing discourses about morality. Jeater also discusses current work on private archives of Rhodesian expats in the UK, and oral histories of former members of the Rhodesian forces and the British South Africa Police.
Social historian Ibrahima Thioub (Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar) reflects on “history from below,” French colonial prisons, African resistance, and ongoing digitization projects at UCAD. Guest co-host is Ibra Sene, a former student of Thioub’s, who is finishing a dissertation at MSU on “Crime, Punishment, and Colonization: A History of the Prison of Saint-Louis and the Development of the Penitentiary System in Senegal, ca.1860-ca.1940.”