College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Africa @ KU & Beyond

Spring 2021 Events:

Thursday, February 18

Black N Black Film Screening and Q&A

This award-winning film examines how profound social and historical issues present challenges to the solidarity of African Americans and African immigrants to the United States. Although both communities originated from the African continent, their view of each other is often fueled by stereotypes and misconceptions. Filmed in the US, Ghana, and Ivory Coast, the documentary presents compelling facts and thoughtful opinions intended to spark discussion as a means of building strong and authentic relationships. Following the screening (approx. 90 mins), the director will take questions and describe his efforts to elevate communication between the two communities.

6:00 pm CST 

Friday, February 19

Graduate Research Workshop 

The Kansas African Studies Center (KASC) would like to invite faculty and graduate students to the 10th Annual KASC Graduate Research Workshop which will take place Friday, February 19, 2021 from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm. This event will showcase 15 junior scholars working on research about Africa and its diaspora in areas such as Literature, Art & Architecture, Gender, Youth, Migration, and Space/Place.

Tuesday, March 16

"Covering Sarah: An Artist's Perspective on Recovering Herstory"

South African visual artist Senzeni Marasela will talk about experiences of Black South African women in this public event. Marasela's work is preoccupied with covering images of the naked Sarah Baartman in historical archives. Baartman, a Khoekhoe woman transported to Europe from southern Africa in the 1810s, was renamed the “Hottentot Venus" and put on display for British and French audiences. Clothing her nude form allows us to have a different perspective into herstory.

Wednesday, March 17

Muslim Identity in France

Join Dr. Camille Harrison for a discussion of issues surrounding Muslim identity in France.The recent comments about Islam by the French president and the reactions from Muslim citizens and leaders highlighted, once again, the complex relationship between secular France and its Muslims. Dr. Harrison, a French Muslim, will provide insight into this relationship and how it is conditioned by the colonial history of France. The discussion will also explore "national identity" versus Islamic identity, Islamic gender-related issues, including the veil and burka laws, and the reasons behind France experiencing more difficulties with Muslims of Algeria than those of Morocco or Tunisia.

Thursday, March 25

Diversity: Its History & Purpose Speaker Series with Barbara Ransby

The Departments of African & African-American Studies, American Studies, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at KU will host Dr. Barbara Ransby, Professor of History, Gender & Women Studies, and African American Studies at the University of Illinois ChicagoDr. Ransby will share her thoughts on the history and purpose of the idea of "diversity."

Monday, March 29

Ujamaa Food for ThoughtInnovations in Maternal and Pediatric HIV Services in Kenya

Dr. Sarah Finocchario-Kessler, an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center's Department of Family Medicine & Community Health, will talk about her work on leveraging available technology to develop user-informed solutions that overcome barriers to high quality care in lower resource settings. She will discuss innovations related to maternal and pediatric HIV services in Kenya and draw on her broader knowledge of working with multidisciplinary teams in East Africa.   

12:30 pm CST

Wednesday, April 7

Storytelling and Epistemic Justice in South Sudan.

The Humanities Program will host a panel discussion about Storytelling & Epistemic Justice in South Sudan with members of Likikiri Collective, a multimedia arts and education organization located in Juba, South Sudan, that uses the arts and humanities, cultural heritage, and creativity to work with communities on social issues. The featured panelists are Elfatih Atem, Executive Director of Likikiri Collective; Rebecca Lorins, Co-founder of Likikiri Collective and Assitant Professor of Media at the University of Juba; and Aluel Manyok Barach, Feminist Activist and Gender Advisor at Likikiri's ReStorying South Sudan project.12:00 pm CST


From Refugee to Game Developer: Peacemaking through the Art of Gaming.

Lual Mayen is the founder of Junub Games. For 22 of his 24 years of life, Mayen lived in a refugee camp in northern Uganda. As a child born in a violent war, Mayen thought about how to create a game that could inspire peace. He taught himself to make games and formed his own company, Junub Games. Based on the realization that games can be helpful for peace and conflict resolution, he began developing a video game for his people that might divert their minds from destructive activities. His first game, Salaam (an Arabic word that means 'peace'), is about protecting communities from being destroyed.  Last year, Mayen appeared at The Game Awards, where he was named a Global Gaming Citizen in conjunction with an award sponsored by Facebook. (27 million people watched that show.) Mayen is currently working with Facebook to publish Salaam as an Instant Game.This event is co-sponsored by the KU Center for Migration Research, and media-sponsored by Kansas Public Radio. 

5:30 pm via Crowdcast

Saturday, April 10

World Languages Fair

This free, online event will provide an opportunity for high-school students to explore a wide range of world languages and cultures. Sessions will include mini-lessons in a variety of different languages, presentations on culture, and discussions of how intercultural competence can enhance different fields of study. For detailed information regarding the event schedule and presentations, please visit the World Languages Fair webpage at Attendance at the event is limited, so early registration is strongly encouraged

Monday, April 19

Coming to the Heartland - Migration stories

A KU research team including Elizabeth MacGonagle (Associate Professor of History and of African and African American Studies and Director of the Kansas African Studies Center), Marta Caminero-Santangelo (Professor of English and Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies), Abel Chikanda (Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies and of Geography and Atmospheric Science), Meg Jamieson (Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies), Brian Rosenblum (Librarian for Digital Scholarship, KU Libraries, and Co-Director of Institute for Digital research in the Humanities), Hannah Britton (Professor of Political Science and of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), and Sylvia Fernandez (Post-doctoral Researcher at Hall Center for the Humanities) will give a presentation about their work on the intergenerational stories of Latin American and African migration to the Heartland

7:30 pm CST

Thursday, April 22

AAAS 50th Panel: Celebrating 50 Years of Africana Studies: Reckoning the Past, Present, and Diasporic Futures

Join the African and African American Studies department on April 22 & 23, to celebrate 50 years at KU. Join the Department of African & African-American Studies as they celebrate 50 years of Black Studies at the university, and in the state of Kansas. The events include panels of former AAAS chairs, former KU student activists, and current AAAS students, an exhibit on "Art and Activism", and language skits by students taking Arabic and Kiswahili! The keynote speaker, Dr. Charisse Burden-Stelly, is an assistant professor of Africana Studies and Political Science at Carleton College and will give a talk titled "Struggle and Black Studies from 'More Relevant Education' to Black Liberation."

Tuesday, April 26

Ujamaa Food for Thought

Angolan Stories, Angolan History: Author Conversation with Ondjaki

The Angolan author Ondjaki will talk about the incredible aspects of Angolan fiction and the weak border between Angolan reality and fiction. Ondjaki writes poetry, children's books, and novels, and also writes for theatre and cinema. His work has been translated into nine languages, and he has won major literary prizes in Angola, Brazil, Portugal, and France.

Monday, May 10

The Music of Forced Migration: Exploring the Impact of Collaborative Music-Making Between a Community Youth Orchestra and Musicians from Refugee Communities

The final Migration Seminar of the year, hosted by the Hall Center for the Humanities will feature Jacob Dakon, Associate Professor, School of Music and Elene Cloete, Director of Research and Advocacy for a faculty seminar about music-making and refugees. Open to faculty, staff, and graduate students. For registration details,email the Hall Center at,

3: 00 pm- 4: 30 pm CST

Fall 2020 Events:

Thursday, September 3

"My Black Boy": Masters, Servants and Domestic Intimacy in Sudan

Marie Brown features in the Hall Centers Fall 2020 Gender Seminar, which studies gender as a basic concept in humanistic scholarship and/or as a fundamental organizing principle in social life.

Friday, September 4

Portraits of a Global Pandemic

Five experts, including Dr. Katie Rhine, will discuss how COVID-19 has impacted various world regions.

Monday, September 14

"Digital Black Life and Culture: UnDisciplining the Digital"

A session on the Digital Black Literature and Composition network (DBLAC) featuring Khirsten L. Scott and Louis M. Maraj


Revisitng the Migration Development Nexus: Views from the South

A session with Abel Chikandada, discussing key components of his research work on migration and international developement in Africa.

Thursday, October 8 

African Digital Storytelling Symposium

This 2-day symposium on digital storytelling in Africa will center the ways in which digital media hardware and software expand the forums and techniques available to Africans to tell stories about different aspects of life on the continent.

Friday, October 9

Red Hot Remote Research: Rural/Urban

A session featuring Abel Chikanda, introducing audiences to studies of migration and food security in the Global South.

Wednesday, October 27

Beyonce's Black Is King

A group of scholars from KU, as well as Dr. Stephanie Shonekan from the University of Missouri, will discuss Black Is King, the musical film and visual album that Beyoncé wrote, directed, and executive produced. The film tells the story of a young African prince and serves as a visual companion to the 2019 album Lion King: The Gift curated by Beyoncé for a remake of The Lion King film.

Friday, November 6

#EndSARS Sòrò-sóke: The People Speak Up

This panel brings together scholars, civil society experts, and journalists from Nigeria and the University of Kansas to deliberate on the #EndSARS movement which developed as a response to the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.

Wednesday, November 11

Arabic Music Day featuring Ronnie Malley

Ronnie Malley is a multi-instrumentalist musician, actor, producer, and educator. He is a teaching artist with the Chicago Public Schools, a faculty member at Old Town School of Folk Music, and a guest lecturer at universities.

Saturday, November 14

African Studies Association 2020 Teacher Workshop

The ASA Outreach Council of the African Studies Association organizes an annual teacher workshop that provides educators with resources, lesson plans, and professional development on topics tailored to specific grade levels, subject areas, and curriculum frameworks.

Thursday, December 10

Digital Indabas: Mapping Detention Centers

This inaugural edition of the African DH Indabas features Kenyan digital archivist Chao Tatiana, who is joined by Sylvia Fernadez and Maira Alvarez to discuss their projects on the digital mapping of detention camps.

Monday December, 14

"The Negro Speaks of Rivers: African Americans' Interiority With Africa"

Inspired by the Langston Hughes poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” this program explores the symbolic presence and significance of Africa in the interiority of some African Americans. A panel of African American scholars who have spent time in various African countries share their critical perspectives about the interiorized epistemologies that shape what Africa means to them.

Monday January, 27

Groove Theory: The Blues Foundation of Funk

In Groove Theory: The Blues Foundation of Funk, Tony Bolden (Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of Kansas) presents an innovative history of funk music focused on the performers, regarding them as intellectuals who fashioned a new aesthetic.

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.



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