College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Africa @ KU & Beyond

Spring 2020 Events:


Wednesday, February 5   

Naïve, Desperate, or Determined? Making Sense of High-Risk Migration
International Room, Kansas Union
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Dr. Stacey Vanderhurst in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at KU will discuss the morality of women's mobility and anti-trafficking programs in Nigeria at this talk co-sponsored by the Center for Migration Research.
Informal gathering to follow at the Oread Hotel.


Wednesday, February 12   

African V-Dem Trends: What Inferences from One of the World's Largest Datasets?
318 Bailey Hall
12:00 pm
Dr. Ryan Gibb, political scientist from Baker University will discuss research analyzing trends in post-colonial African democratic institutions using Varieties of Democracy data in this Ujamaa Food for Thought co-sponsored by the Center for Global and International Studies.
Free light lunch.


Saturday, February 15   

Multicultural Storytime
Lawrence Public Library
707 Vermont St
10:30 am
The featured book for young children about Senegal is On the Way to School, read by guest presenter Ousmane Lecoq Diop, a graduate student at KU studying Wolof.
Sing songs and eat snacks!


Thursday, March 19   

10th Annual Graduate Research Workshop
Spencer Museum of Art
12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
A showcase of junior scholars working on exciting themes related to Africa and its diaspora. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the GRW, so join students and faculty experts for free lunch and a drink.

Abstracts are due to by February 17.


Thursday, March 26 

5th Annual African Languages Festival
Forum C&D, Burge Union
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Experience the wonder of African languages at KU with entertaining performances in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof from our talented students. Fun activities include Henna body art, games, and a raffle draw.
Refreshments served.


Wednesday, April 1   

KUMC Research in Kenya: System-level interventions to Improve Maternal & Pediatric HIV Services
318 Bailey Hall
12:00 pm
Dr. Sarah Finocchario Kessler, Associate Professor at the KU Medical Center, will discuss her research in Kenya in this Ujamaa Food for Thought co-sponsored by the Center for Global and International Studies.
Free light lunch.


Wednesday, April 8   

African Studies Council - Spring Meeting
318 Bailey Hall
3:30 pm
The annual gathering of KASC faculty, staff, and students to discuss the state of African Studies at KU and elect members of the Center's Executive Committee.
Refreshments served.


Friday, April 10

Language, Politics, and Literature in Senegal
318 Bailey Hall

Dr. Tobias Warner, an Associate Professor in the Department of French & Italian Studies at UC Davis, will explore the language question and literary modernity in Senegal in this Ujamaa Food for Thought co-sponsored by the Center for Global and International Studies.
Free light lunch.



Fall 2019 Events:


Friday, September 13

MAAAS Keynote Address
Kansas Room, KU Memorial Union
3:30 pm
"Africa Rising or Repackaged Coloniality? Re-emerging Players and Enduring Risks" by Dr. Lina Benabdallah, Assistant Prof., Politics & nternational Affairs, Wake Forest University.
Dr. Benabdallah will deliver the keynote speech at this year's MAAAS (Mid-America Alliance for African Studies) Conference. Her research focuses on international relations theory, foreign policy, critical theories of power, and rising powers. 
This year's conference examines the theme "The Narrative of Africa Rising: Real or Fiction?"
Free and open to the public.


Saturday, September 21

Children's Book Author, Jen Cullerton Johnson
Kansas Children's Discovery center, Topeka 10:30 am and 1:30 pm

Award -winning author Jen Cullerton Johnson will present her book Seeds of Change about Wangari Mathaai, a Kenyan environmental activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner.


Tuesday, November 5

"Exhibiting Africa: Anthropology, Mesuems and the Persistent Western Imagination" Dr. Monique Scott, Bryn Mawr College 
Hall Center for the Humanities

This talk rethinks the represenation of race in museums and national monuments to combat anti- Black racism, reimagining new possibilities for people of the African Diaspora.


Thursday, November 7

2nd Annual AAAS Food & Film Festival
Forum C, Burge Union
4:00 - 7:00 pm

A delectable selection of East African Cuisine will be served at the screening of the Kenyan Film From a Whisper, based on real events surrounding the 1998 bomb attacks on the US Embassy in Nairobi. Discussion to follow. This event is organized by the Department of African and African- American Studies.


Friday, November 8

Religion 2nd Annual AAAS Foood & Film Festival
Forum AB, Burge Union| 4:00 – 7:00 pm

A Delicious Arab Cuisine will be provided during the screening of Black Honey: Asal Eswed. The film is about an Egyptian American who returns to Egypt with naive enthusiasm after twenty years abroad. Discussion to follow. This event is organized by the Department of African and African-American Studies.


September 13, 2019 - January 4, 2020

Kansas Children's Discovery Center, Topeka

In this new cultural exhibit, families can discover what life is like for children in Kenya today, a country both technologically advanced and filled with longtime traditions. As they travel through five immersive environments, children can compare the similarities and differences between their lives and those of children in East Africa. Check the KCDC website caledar for details.

The Grand Opening on friday, September 13 features a performance by KU's African Drum Ensemble (ADEKU) at 9:00 am. Check out to learn more!


Thurday 9/26, Wednesday 10/23, Tuesday 11/12

318 Bailey Hall

Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships provde tuition support and a stipend to fund your interest in African Studies. Find out more and ask questions at one of these information sessions. New Application deadline December 20, 2019!
More at 



KU will host its first ever Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar under the theme Chronic Conditions: Knowing, Seeing & Healing the Body in Global Africa. Chronic Conditions is a year-long seminar series investigating the historical, cultural, and structural processes that have given rise to chronic health conditions among Africans, African immigrants, and African-Americans. Through discussions, lectures, performances, and humanities-based labs, Chronic Conditions will set a new agenda for interdisclinary research in the medical humanities, while amplifying the voices of diverse senior and emerging scholars from across the globe.

Sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and led by the Hall Center for the Humanities, Spencer Museum of Art, and the Kansas African Studies Center at the University of Kansas.
Guest presenters include:
Yagazie Emezi, Lundy Braun, Paul Mkandawire, Moya Bailey, Ama de Graft Aikins, Deborah Willis, Charly Evon Simpson, Duana Fullwiley, Theri Pickens, and Rana Hogarth.

Sign up to receive further details via our weekly notice of KASC events at or visit;



Spring 2019 Events:


Thursday, January 31

FLAS Info Session
Receive tuition support and a stipend for African language study!
Applications for Summer 2019 and Academic Year 2019-20 fellowships are due February 8, 2019
Reference letters are due February 18, 2018.
Find out more and ask questions at this final info session.
English Room, Kansas Union
4:00-5:30 pm


Wednesday, February 13

Somali Open House
Ecumenical Campus Ministries, ECM, 1204 Oread Ave.

An afternoon of food, dance, and information about Somali culture and language
Refreshments served


Thursday, February 21

Migration in the Heartland
Conference Hall, Hall Center for the Humanities
3:00 - 5:00 pm

A film screening of Strangers in Town followed by a discussion with filmmaker Steve Lerner and Amy Longa of the International Refugee Commission. Longa is featured in this short documentary about how global migration transformed Garden City, Kansas. She will talk about her work with migrants in Kansas.


Friday, February 22

Bridging Health Divides in East Africa
Conference Hall, Hall Center for the Humanities
1:00 - 2:30 pm

An interdisciplinary panel featuring global medical humanities research from KU's first-ever Humanities Lab, ColLAB


Thursday, March 7

Religion and Power in Africa: A Conversation with Ebenezer Obadare
English Room- Kansas Union | 3:00 – 5:00 pm

A conversation with Ebenezer Obadare (Sociology) about his book Pentecostal Republic: Religion and the Struggle for State Power in NigeriaReception to follow


Monday, March 18

Visiting Artist Doreen Garner
Lecture, Marvin Hall Forum, 216 | 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Demonstration, Chalmers Hall, 315 | 5:300 – 7:00 pm

Doreen Garner creates corporeal sculptures to explore the frequently suppressed and traumatic medical histories of the Black body. Her sculptures are foten incorporated in performances and video works.

Thursday, April 4 and Friday April 5

Beyond Discourse: Critical and Empirical Approaches to Human Trafficking
Hall Center for the Humanities

This conference will feature panels and presentations by KU faculty and graduate students as well as human trafficking scholars from around the country.
Panelists will discuss critical research methods on human trafficking and related social problems.


Monday April 8

4th Annual KU African Language Festival
Ballroom, Kansas Union
4:00 - 6:00 pm

Celebrate African languages at KU with performances in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof from our entertaining students. Activities include Henna body art, a fashion booth, games, raffle draw, and Arabic calligraphy
Refreshments served


Friday, April 12

9th Annual Graduate Research Workshop
318 Bailey Hall
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

A showcase of junio scholars working on research about Africa and its diaspora with many examining themes of power, memory, and violence
Abstracts due to KASC by March 25, 2019
Lunch and snacks provided


Thursday, April 25

Attaya Session Open House
Bailey 318 
4:00 - 6:00 pm

Join our Wolof language table to learn how to make Senegalese tea called Attaya. Meet Dr. Omar Ka, a specialist in African language instruction.
No knowledge of Wolof required.
Tea and snacks provided.


Wednesday, May 8

Ujamaa Food for Thought: "From Ghandi and Mandela to Democracy in South Africa"
Bailey 318
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Visiting scholar Tony King will discuss the revitalization of a prison in Johannesburg that housed both Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. The complex is now a center of public discourse on human rights and South Africa's authoritarian past that houses the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country.
Free light lunch served.


Fall 2018 Events:


December 5, 2018


"Materiality of Care" 
Rethinking True Love from an
African Epistemic Foundation
Dr. Annabella Osei-Tutu

Bailey Hall 318 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

November 6, 2018


Kansas Room, KU Union | 7:00 pm

November 1-2, 2018


Nov 1: Food, Film & Discussion

Hall Center Conference Hall | 5:00 - 8:00 pm

Nov 2: Arabic Film Screening

Woodruff Auditorium | 4:00 - 7:00 pm

October 25, 2018


"Body Movements: Positioning Sundanese Women in an Age of Empire"

Dr. Marie Grace Brown

KU Department of History

Lied Center Pavillion | 7:30 pm

October 10, 2018


Study in Africa Series II

Dr. Teruna Siahaan

KU School of Pharmacy

Bailey Hall 318 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

September 26, 2018


Study in Africa Series I

Dr. Lisa Ottinger, Mark Best &

KU School of Business Students

Bailey Hall 318 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm

September 6, 2018


McLain's Market 1420 Crescent Rd | 4:00 - 5:30 pm



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