Associated Faculty and Affiliates

Browse an alphabetical listing of faculty members by name:

Chris Abani, Board of Trustees Professor of English, is an acclaimed novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. His wide-ranging interests include African poetics, world literature, African presences in medieval and renaissance cultural spaces, West African music, and Yoruba and Igbo philosophy and religion. His novel Graceland (2004) won many awards, including the Hemmingway Foundation/PEN Award. His latest novel is The Secret History of Las Vegas (2014). In addition, he has authored many volumes of poetry and numerous essays and articles.

Chad Achenbach, Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Achenbach’s primary research and clinical interest is in HIV treatment and outcomes.He is also working to improve medical education and research capacity in Africa. 

Karen Alter, Political Science and Law, studies the political influence of international courts around the world.  More recent work examines the creation and influence of international courts in latin America and Africa.

Lori Beaman, Economics, is a development economist whose research primarily focuses on how social networks affect the spread of information and ultimately decision-making in labor markets and in agriculture. She has ongoing field projects in Mali and Malawi.

Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, Block Museum, specializes in African art. Previously, she curated several innovative exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago, including Benin-Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria (2008), Masterpieces from Central Africa: Selections from the Belgian Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren (1999); and Baule: African Art/Western Eyes (1998). Her coedited book (with Christa Clark) Representing Africa in American Art Museums: A Century of Collecting and Display (2010) chronicles more than a century of building and presenting collections of African art in the United States. 

Caroline Bledsoe, Anthropology, combines empirical work in demography with cultural approaches to the study of marriage and the condition of children in West Africa. Her research examines relationships among ideologies of knowledge, power, and secrecy; philosophies of education; and the construction of authority.

César Braga-Pinto, Spanish and Portuguese, specializes in Brazilian and Luso-African literatures and cinemas. He published articles on Mozambican literature and co-edited with Fatima Mendonça a multi-volume collection of early 20th-century Mozambican journalism writings entitled João Albasini e as luzes de Nwandzenguele: literatura e política em Moçambique 1908-1922, forthcoming 2014. In 2005 he participated in the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Summer Institute on African Cinema in Dakar, Senegal.

Sherwin Bryant, African American history, History, specializes in colonial Latin American History with a particular emphasis upon slavery, race, and the early modern African Diaspora.

Kristin Darin, Feinberg School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Center for Global Health; specializes in HIV/AIDS with interests in antiretroviral pharmacology and HIV outcomes-based research; she provides clinical training and/or clinical support to various HIV treatment and care programs in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Margaret Thompson Drewal, Performance Studies, researches Yoruba and Afro-Brazilian ritual performance and has special interests in the poetics and politics of performance discourse.

Mark W. Hauser, Anthropology. His research examines the material culture of the African Diaspora and social inequality and identity in the Caribbean. His work pays special attention to understanding the everyday life and material world of enslaved laborers.

David Easterbrook, Emeritus. Former George and Mary LeCron Foster Curator of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies

Brian T. Edwards, English, teaches and writes about U.S. literature and culture in its international context.  His fields of interest include American studies, comparative literature, cultural and diaspora studies, colonial and postcolonial discourse, film, and globalization. A former Fulbright Fellow to Morocco, he also specializes in Maghrebi literature and culture, especially in its intersections with U.S. culture and politics.

Doug Foster, Medill, teaches feature writing, a regular contributor to major newspapers and magazines, including Smithsonian, the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times. In January, 2007 he began a one-year research leave in South Africa, where he is working on a book about democracy, globalization, and the challenges ahead for the governing African National Congress.

Dr. Shannon Galvin, Center for Global Health, Feinberg School of Medicine, is a faculty in the Infectious Diseases division at Feinberg School of Medicine and the Director of Clinical Programs & Training for the Center for Global Health.  She has over 10 years experience working as a clinician and HIV researcher in Malawi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Swaziland, Namibia and Nigeria.  Her research interests include include correlates of immunity to HIV, diagnosis  and management of acute HIV and the optimal delivery of care in resource limited settings.

Doris Garraway, French, focuses on early modern francophone cultural studies, comparative 20th century francophone literatures (including those of sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean) and travel exoticism in early modern French literature.

Thomas Geraghty, Associate Dean for Clincal Education, Professor of law, and Director of Bluhm Legal Clinic, is an expert on criminal and juvenile defense, death penalty appeals, child-centered projects dealing with the representation of children and juvenile court reform.

Jonathon Glassman, history, studies comparative race and slavery, focusing on nineteenth and twentieth century East Africa. He won the Melville J. Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association for his first book, Feasts and Riot: Revelry, Rebellion and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856-1888.

Wendy Griswold, sociology, investigates the social context of literary production and reception in anglophone West Africa. Her book, Bearing Witness: Readers, Writers, and the Nigerian Novel, received the 2002 Best Book award in cultural sociology the American Sociological Association.

Karen Tranberg Hansen, Anthropology (emerita), is interested in the division of labor in terms of gender, race, and class. Her recent work on urban Zambia concerns colonial culture, domesticity, and gender ideology. She has also researched housing, the informal sector, wage labor, and the international trade in used clothing. Her book, Salalaula: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia, won the 2001 Anthony Leeds Prize of the Society for Urban Anthropology.

Sean Hanretta, Associate Professor, History, specializes in West African intellectual history, with a focus on Islam and African religions in Francophone West Africa and Ghana. His book Islam and Social Change in French West Africa: History of an Emancipatory Community (Cambridge University Press, 2009) investigates the history and religious community of Muslim Sufi mystics from socially marginal backgrounds in colonial French West Africa. He is also the co-editor of Ghana Studies.

Brian Hanson, Director of Programs, Operations, & Research, Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies and lecturer in Political Science. Hanson's research and teaching interests are in fields of international relations and comparative political economy. He teaches courses on international political economy, globalization, and the changing role of the state in world politics.

Stephen Hill  Assistant Director, Office of Fellowships, focuses on the interface between Tanzanian music and nationalism, with special reference to the Wamatengo in southwestern Tanzania. His work shows how music reflects and aids the comprehension of new realities during periods of broad social upheaval. His other research interests include the role of gender in musical choices and how historical circumstances may stimulate musical action.

Katherine Hoffman, Anthropology

Uri Horesh, Middle East and North African Studies (language coordinator)

Brannon Ingram, Religious Studies

Richard Joseph, John Evans Professor of Political Science and BCICS faculty affiliate. He has devoted his scholarly career to the study of politics and governance in Africa with a special focus on democratic transitions, state building and state collapse, and conflict resolution. He directed the African Governance Program at the Carter Center (1988-1994) and coordinated elections missions in Zambia (1991), Ghana (1992), and peace initiatives in Liberia (1991-1994).

Esmeralda Kale, George and Mary LeCron Foster Curator of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies.

Fatima Khan, lecturer in Arabic, African and Asian Languages. She currently teaches Beginning and Intermediate Arabic at Northwestern.  She received the Hewlett Fund from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and traveled to Yemen to study the Gulf Dialect and Media Arabic.  Currently she is the coordinator for Intermediate Arabic and is working on a course book to help teach Media Arabic.

David Kelso, Biomedical Engineering (emeritus), specializes in medical instrumentation, biosensors, kinetics of antibody and DNA binding reactions in solution and on solid phases, pharmacokinetics, and optimization of drug administration.

Robert Launay, Anthropology, investigates Islamic identity in West African societies and the roles of clerics in shaping social discourse. He also examines the history of anthropological theory and pre-Enlightenment images of African and other cultures.

Richard Lepine, African and Asian Languages, researches Swahili popular history, including serial fiction from East African newspapers and magazines. He teaches Swahili and East African literature in translation.

Amanda Logan, Anthropology

Peter Locke, lecturer in Anthropology and Global Health Studies. Biography forthcoming.

D. Soyini Madison, Performance studies, African American Studies, Anthropology, studies human rights and contemporary social movements. Madison lived and worked in Ghana, West Africa as a Senior Fulbright Scholar conducting field research on the interconnections between traditional religion, political economy, and indigenous performance tactics.

Ragy H Ibrahim Mikhaeel, lecturer in Arabic, African and Asian Languages. Ragy is a native of Cairo,Egypt. He taught Arabic at Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Hobart and William Smith College before coming to NU. He is the author of Barron’s Learn Arabic: the Fast and Fun Way, which focused on the Egyptian spoken dialect, and has worked on several curriculum development projects, including the preparation of an Egyptian dialect version of Munther Younses's Living Arabic textbook. He is now preparing teaching materials to assist Islamic history and Arabic literature students in reading Arabic-language manuscripts. 

Robert Murphy, Feinberg School of Medicine, Director of the Center for Global Health. Dr. Murphy’s primary research and clinical interest is in viral infections. His research includes drug development of new antiretroviral drugs and vaccines for HIV and viral hepatitis and the scale-up of therapy for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

Evan Mwangi, English, is examining such authors as Francis Davis Imbuga, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and David Maillu, he also teaches and researches African fiction in the contexts of literary theory, TV news, sports, aesthetics, and East African hiphop music. Last fall Mwangi gave a PAS Monday Night Lecture, "Beyond Textual Play: Politics of Self-Reflexivity in the Contemporary African Novel."

Dylan Penningroth, History, is primarily interested in African American history, slavery, and emancipation, but he also has a strong interest in West African history. His subsidiary interests are family, marriage, and community linkages in southern Ghana during the nineteenth century.

Carl Petry, History, studies religious and judicial elites in medieval Egypt. His recent projects include studying Cairo's higher education system and the rise and fall of sultanic regimes in the Islamic Middle East.

Nasrin Qader, French & Italian. Specializes in modern Arabic literature, African literature in French and English, and literary theory and criticism.

Will Reno, Director of African Studies, Political Science, studies conflict in the context of state collapse, with a focus on the political strategies of armed groups and the politics of international intervention and counterinsurgency. His main area for recent research is Somalia and the greater Horn of Africa region.   Visit Reno's web site.

Jeff Rice, Director of Ungraduate Studies for African Studies. History lecturer, focuses on West African state development in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with special interest in the expansion of Asante. He is also the advisor for African Studies in the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences.

Sandra Richards, Theatre and African American Studies, is a scholar of performance practices and aethetics in African and African diaspora theater. She is especially interested in the implications of festival performance for written drama and the analysis of social movements. Currently, she serves as Professor in Residence and Director of the Liberal Arts program at Northwestern University in Qatar. 

Rachel Riedl, Political Science, current research explores why democratization in Africa has produced such a varied array of representative institutions and political structures by focusing on the causes of variation in party system institutionalization.

Galya Ruffer, International Studies and Political Science and the founding Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies specializes in refugee rights and protection. Her research combines socio-legal approaches, crowdsourced mapping and testimony work to study questions of citizenship, rule of law and justice and the particular problem of sexual violence in post-conflict and protracted situations with an emphasis on the Great Lakes region of Africa.

David Schoenbrun, History, is concerned with the gendered history of power in Uganda and the Great Lakes region from earliest times to the fifteenth century.

Rebecca Shereikis, ISITA, is a historian with interests in francophone West Africa (particularly Mali), African Muslim responses to colonialism, and Islamic law in African contexts.

Juliet Sorensen, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Law and Kellogg, focuses on health and human rights, international criminal law, and corruption. She is a director of the Northwestern Access to Health Project, an interdisciplinary global community health partnership.

Noelle Sullivan, Global health and Anthropology. Focusing on global and state health policy, donor-funded health interventions, and biomedical practice in Tanzania's health sector from the 1980s to present. Researches how state and donor priorities for health impact the possibilities and limitations of biomedical service provision within hospitals and clinics, and how they impact the way patients seek out and health sector personnel provide services. Interested in the interplays of governance, politics, and healing more broadly.

Helen Tilley, History, explores the interplay among environmental, medical, and human sciences in nineteenth and twentieth century Africa, with a particular focus on European imperialism and development studies. Her current research examines the history of African decolonization, global governance, and the ethnoscientific projects that accompanied post-colonial state building in the Cold War era.

Krista Thompson, Art History, is interested in postcolonial theory and visual culture, race and representation, the imaginative geography of the tropics, Caribbean art, African diaspora performance arts, and photography in Africa and the African diaspora.

Akbar M. Virmani, Political Science, researches the position of refugees in the Horn of Africa, the meanings of exile, and the problems of national identity for displaced persons.

Alexander Weheliye, African American Studies and English, specializes in African American and African Diasporic literatures and popular cultures, critical theory, and popular musical history.

Ivy Wilson, English, teaches courses on the comparative literatures of the black diaspora and U.S. literary studies with a particular emphasis on African American culture.

Ana Thomé-Williams, Spanish and Portuguese, specializes in Portuguese language and culture in the lusophone world, with a focus on linguistic and cultural exchanges between Brazil and the Lusophone Africa. Fluent in French as well, she also has an interest in the Francophone Africa.

Jessica Winegar, Anthropology