A podcast featuring conversations and stories by students of African Studies. We center Africa and embrace the pluralism of perspectives, approaches, and projects within African Studies. Join us as we dig into the big, important questions, the unrivaled history, and the leading thinkers of Africa.
This week’s episode honors the late historian of Mande people and culture, Djibril Tamsir Niane, whose 1960 publication The Epic of Sundiata introduced the West to the legend of 13th-century Mali’s heroic king, Sundiata Keita. AFROFILES' Charlotte Bednarski interviews Dr. David Conrad, Emeritus Professor of History at State University of New York at Oswego and an expert in Mande oral tradition and history. They discuss episodes from the epic, as well as its historical and social significance.
Music is this episode from Sillaba and Maher Cissoko, Bassidi and Khalifa Koné, and Mory Kanté. Our theme is from RYYZN.
Follow us on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM @afrophiles for more content from the AFROFILES team!
In this episode, we explore human prehistory and the legacy of colonialism in archeological anthropology. Ed sat down with Dr. Veronica Waweru, a lecturer in Swahili and African Studies here at Yale’s MacMillan Center. She is an archeological anthropologist committed to engaging local communities in Kenya where she conducts fieldwork, in order to correct what she calls “the cradle paradox.”
Music by: RYYZN Michael Rothery, Nihoni, and Magnus Ringblom
American Universities have some of the largest collections of African books and archival materials. The histories of their acquisition and preservation are fascinating--connecting Christian missionaries, government agencies, and today’s librarians to a global network. As researchers in African Studies, we rely on the crucial resources that universities possess, and our work is shaped by the history and nature of these collections.
For this episode, Leslie and Gerardo interview two experts on the history of Yale University Library’s own African Collections: Roberta Doherty, current African Studies and Middle East Studies Librarian; and her predecessor, Dorothy Woodson, who has written on Yale’s collection history.
Music from RYYZN and Cody High
Morocco is a chokepoint along migrant trails connecting Africa to Europe. According to the Migration Policy Institute, some 700,000 sub-Saharan migrants currently reside in Morocco, stalled on their journey into the EU. What is life like for these migrants, and what histories inform Morocco’s migration policies? On this week’s episode of AFROFILES, we sit down with Dr. Leslie Gross-Wyrtzen, a postdoctoral associate with the Council on African Studies and a faculty fellow in the Center for Race Indigeneity and Transnational Migration at Yale. She has published numerous articles on borders, race, and migration in the Eur-African borderlands, and is currently working on her first book project entitled Bordering Blackness: The Production of Race in the Morocco-EU Immigration Regime.
Music from RYYZN, Andrés Cantú, and José Barrios.
In this episode, we illustrate the importance of a global and connected approach to African Studies by digging into a key moment in both African and American history: the Italian Occupation of Ethiopia. In October 1935, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini launched an invasion of Ethiopia that would last until 1941. Although this action violated international law and global opinion, Western powers, including the US, refused to become directly involved in the conflict. We approach this tumultuous period from a unique vantage point by asking ourselves: What were the connections between black Americans and Ethiopians in the 1930s?
To answer this question, Charlotte sat down with Ms. Amy Alemu, a Ph.D. Candidate in African and African American Studies at Harvard. Ms. Alemu earned her master’s in History from Harvard University and her BA honors degree in History and Economics from Harvard College. Her research focuses are Black transnationalism, history of political thought, integrative approaches to African and African American studies, and digital and multimedia scholarship.
In this episode, we discuss the racial politics in African Studies. What are the ramifications of a western dominated field of African Studies, specifically one that is skewed towards the white scholar, and an organizational stronghold, the African Studies Association or the ASA, that reflects and often times shepherds this racially disparate phenomenon?
Akua speaks with Dr. William Martin and Dr. Michael West, co-editors of the 1999 volume Out of One, Many Africas: Reconstructing the Study and Meaning of Africa, a book that critically “assesses the rising tide of discontent that has destabilized the conceptions, institutions, and communities dedicated to African studies.”