Historian Jessica Marie Johnson (Johns Hopkins Univ.) digs into her award-winning new book, Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World. The conversation brings out how Black women in Senegambia, the Caribbean, and Louisiana devised ways to gain control over parts of their lives and defined freedom for themselves in the age of slavery and the slave trade. The interview closes with Dr. Johnson’s thoughts on LifexCode: Digital Humanities Against Enclosure, which she directs, and on the critical role of ethical collaborative scholarship in academic endeavors.
Dr. Alcinda Honwana on the struggles of young Africans, the condition of “waithood”—a state of limbo between childhood and adulthood—and their creative engagements with everyday life. She reflects on the art and ethics of oral interviewing in Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia, and concludes with a hopeful vision of young women and men as a force for positive change in Africa and beyond.
Part of a podcast series in collaboration with the U.S. African Studies Association.
Fallou Ngom (African Languages Director, Boston U.) on his new book Muslims Beyond the Arab World: the Odyssey of Ajami and the Muridiyya. Focusing on Senegambia and Ahmadu Bamba, Ngom discusses Ajami literary texts — African languages in Arabic scripts — as sources for history. He also reflects on creating online Ajami collections, teaching and learning African languages in the U.S., and contributing scholarly expertise to asylum cases.
Note: Part of a podcast series in collaboration with the U.S. African Studies Association.
Brett O’Bannon (Political Science, Director of Conflict Studies, De Pauw University) on the causes and consequences of civil war in Côte d’Ivoire; the “Responsibility to Protect” as applied to conflict in Africa ; and monitoring herder-farmer relations in Senegal to anticipate the onset of wider-scale warfare.
Penda Mbow (University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar), prominent historian and public intellectual of Senegal, on women and Islam, intellectual history in Muslim Africa, and civil society in Senegal. She also discusses the significant contribution and role of David Robinson in African and Senegalese historiography.
Anthropologist Mara Leichtman (MSU) on religion, migration, and politics. Leichtman unveils her new book New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal (co-edited with Mamadou Diouf). She then discusses transnational Shi’a Islam in Dakar among Lebanese migrants and Senegalese converts, and in London at the Al-Khoei Foundation. A fine example of why we cannot properly analyze “globalization” without including Africa.
Our first anniversary episode! Historian Martin Klein (Emeritus, U. of Toronto) reflects on African history and historiography and his life’s work on slavery in West Africa. Klein then sheds light on his ongoing research (in cooperation with leading Africanists) on African slaves. He concludes with observations about the state of historical research in Senegal, Mali, and Guinea.
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.”
The inaugural episode of Africa Past and Present introduces the podcast and features an interview with University of Pennsylvania Professor Cheikh Anta Babou (MSU PhD 2002).“Africa matters,” says co-host Peter Alegi in the first segment. “It matters to America since about one in seven Americans trace their origins to the African continent. Africa also has global implications: economic, political, and cultural ones. Finally, Africa deserves to be studied and debated in its own right, like any other continent.” For co-host Peter Limb, “Podcasting is an exciting and vibrant forum, especially for communication. It opens up a new horizon for interaction not just in this country, but also with scholars, activists, and others in Africa itself.”
In the second segment, MSU University Distinguished Professor David Robinson joined Alegi for an interview with Cheikh Babou, the Senegalese historian and author of a new book entitled Fighting the Greater Jihad: Amadu Bamba and the Founding of the Muridiyya of Senegal, 1853-1913 (Ohio University Press, 2007). Professor Babou hopes his book will encourage readers to “understand that Islam is diverse; not to see Islam as an essence, not to confuse it with Arab culture or Middle Eastern Culture.” Robinson stresses the importance of learning about religious diversity in a post-9/11 world and to appreciate that “what some people say is Islam is really a distortion of that main tradition.”