MemberThomas F. McDow

I am a historian of the western Indian Ocean with an interest in mobility and social history between Africa, Arabia, and India. My book Buying Time: Debt and Mobility in the Western Indian Ocean captures the dynamism of this far-reaching Indian Ocean world in the nineteenth century.  I was trained as an Africanist with a focus on the Swahiliphone world, and I continued to be drawn to the intersections of African histories and global histories, from ancient trade routes to the human immunodeficiency virus.

MemberRobert Heinze


CRG African History…

I am a researcher/lecturer in African History, currently at the University of Trier. I am working on a history of urban transport in Africa, using four case studies (Bamako, Kinshasa, Lusaka, Nairobi). Before embarking on this Post-Doc research, I completed a Ph.D. on the history of radio in Namibia and Zambia, with a focus on decolonisation periods, anticolonial resistance and post-colonial nation-building. I am interested in exploring infrastructures in (post-)colonial societies through a lens of historical materialism, analysing them both as material technologies and in their interactions with political economies and urban societies.

MemberCarolyn Vieira-Martinez

Carolyn Vieira-Martinez completed her PhD at UCLA and was the specialist in Central African History and African Languages at Chapman University until 2015. Her dissertation entitled “Building Kimbundu” combined historical linguistics methodology with GIS technology to study gender, power, and the construction of community through language in 16th century Angola. She has taught computer mediated instruction methods and qualitative data analysis at many universities including the University of San Diego and UT Houston. Her ASILI© African Scholarly Integrated Language Inquiry database system is used by scholars to facilitate the use of Bantu languages as evidence for social history. She speaks unapologetically from a personal Chicana history grounded in Detroit and Los Angeles, pushes the boundaries in developing new technological research methods, and is passionately analytical, theoretical, and collaborative.

MemberKalle Kananoja

Kalle Kananoja is an expert on the history of medicine in precolonial Atlantic Africa and the early modern African diaspora. He has published extensively on Angolan and Afro-Brazilian religious and medical history. Most recently, he has co-edited Healers and Empires in Global History: Healing as Hybrid and Contested Knowledge (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), and a special issue on “Namibia: History, Memory, Society” for the Nordic Journal of African Studies. Kalle Kananoja works as a Lecturer in African studies (fixed-term) at the University of Helsinki. Since completing his PhD at the Åbo Akademi University (2012), he has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the European University Institute (Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow 2012–2013), King’s College London (Visiting Research Associate 2013–2014), as an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher (2013–2016) and CORE Fellow at the Collegium of Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki (2016–2017). He has taught courses on culture and health in global history, slavery and the Atlantic slave trade, modernisation in Africa, and research methods in African history. He is currently PI in charge of a Finnish Cultural Foundation funded project (2018–2019), which explores early modern networks between the Netherlands and Sweden  in a global history framework. Kananoja’s book manuscript, Healing Knowledge in Atlantic Africa: Cross-cultural Medical Encounters 1500–1850, explores health, disease and medical knowledge in precolonial Atlantic Africa. It deals with African and European perceptions of health, disease, and healing in tropical Africa. The book highlights cross-cultural medical exchanges and argues that local African knowledge was central to shaping European responses to illness. Medical interaction between Africans, Europeans residing in Africa for extended periods, and Eurafricans, in turn, shaped natural history collections in European centers of learning, but the true value of medico-botanical knowledge lay in its applicability in day-to-day health concerns among those who lived and settled in Atlantic Africa.

MemberJoshua Agbo

Joshua Agbo is currently doing a Ph.D. research in Southern African literature at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom. His research focuses on Bessie Emery Amelia Head’s novels, approached from the angle(s) of exile, migration, trauma, and post-colonial studies. His research interests further stretch across African history, linguistic/literary stylistics of West African literature, and Afro-Caribbean studies. He is the author of How Africans Underdeveloped Africa: A Forgotten Truth in History (2010) and Dead Wood (2015), as well as the co-editor of the book entitled as, Linguistics: An Introductory Text. He is also a member of several academic bodies/associations, and some of which include: Modern Language Association (MLA), African Literature Association (ALA), Association of Child Development and Communication Disorders, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Great Northern Postcolonial Network, New Routes Old Roots Network, Refugees & Migration Ph.D. Network, and Postcolonial Studies Association. He has published both nationally and internationally. He was longlisted for ANA Literary Award (2013), shortlist for the Barbara Harlow Prize for Excellence (2017), and awarded by Anglia Ruskin University for the Graduate Conference presentation (2017).

MemberDevin Smart

…Assistant Professor of African History…
…PhD, African History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2017…
…Solidarity and Urban Traders in Late-Colonial Mombasa.” Journal of Eastern African Studies.11, no. 3 (2017): 425-441.

Book Reviews

“Environmental Politics in Contemporary Africa.” Review of The Green State in Africa, by Carl Death. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. Journal of African History. 59, no. 1 (2018): 122-124.

Review of Congotay! Congotay! A Global History of Caribbean Food, by Candice Goucher. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2014. Food and Foodways: Explorations in the History and Culture of HumanNourishment. 24, nos. 3-4 (2016): 257-259….

MemberWendy Laura Belcher

African language literature (especially that in Gəˁəz, Amharic, Hausa), Anglophone African literature, early African literature, African film, African women authors, history of the African book, African manuscript cultures, African female saints, and queer African studies; as well as race and gender in eighteenth-century English literature, comparative African and European studies, postcolonial literature, Chicana/o literature, African American literature, comparative hagiographies, gender and sexuality, memoir, indirection and censorship, travel literature, manuscript studies, prison literature, intellectual autobiography, and supernatural monsters.

MemberJohn Aerni-Flessner

…Homemakers, Communists, and Refugees: Smuggling Anti-Apartheid Refugees in Rural Lesotho in the 1960s and 1970s Wagadu: A Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies 13 (2015): 183-209

2014: Development, Politics, and the Centralization of State Power in Lesotho, 1960-75 Journal of African History 55:3 (2014): 401-421…

I teach in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH), an undergraduate-only college within Michigan State University (MSU). I am also a core member of the MSU African Studies Center. My research primarily focuses on the history of the southern African country of Lesotho. I write about the history of development, independence, nationalism, decolonization, and the history of the border between Lesotho and South Africa. My first book, entitled Dreams for Lesotho: Independence, Foreign Assistance, and Development came out in 2018 from the University of Notre Dame Press.