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Bios of the Participants

Malian Participants

Mohammed Diagayété  (Senior Researcher, Institut des Hautes Etudeset de Recherches Islamiques Ahmed Baba-IHERIAB) is a scholar of the Malian Fulani contribution to Islamic civilization during the 18th and 19th centuries. He looks at issues of literacy and scholarship through unique and previously unused sources, such as ajami manuscripts (Fulfulde written in the Arabic script).

Hawoye Fassoukoye (M.A. English Bamako University, B.A. language and literature Haidara High School in Bamako in 1997) teaches English at Kankou Moussa High School in Bamako. She was born and grew up in Timbuktu and teaches English as a foreign language. She has also worked as a translator. She will be visiting NJ and NY schools to establish a digital exchange program.

Daouda Keita (Université des Sciences Sociales et Gestion de Bamako, Mali) is an archeologist who has directed many archeological excavations in Mali. His interests include research in prehistory and archeology, ethno-archeology, cultural heritage and tourism.  He has worked on the restoration of Timbuktu after the recent occupation.

Mahamane Mahamoudou (Popularly known as Cheick Hamou) is one of the leading Timbuktu-trained Islamic scholars. Formerly with IHERIAB, Cheick Hamou was an inspector of Arabic language education in the administrative district of Timbuktu. He is now involved with the preservation of the Timbuktu manuscripts.

South Africa Based Participant

Mohamed Shahid Mathee (University of Johannesburg) is a lecturer in the study of Religion and Islam. His research focuses on the use of Timbuktu fatwas to discuss social history, or more specifically micro history.

US Based Participants

Ousseina Alidou (Rutgers University) is a professor in Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures and the author of Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger (2005) a runner-up for Aidoo-Schneider Book Prize of  the Women's Caucus of the Association of African Studies.

Christopher Barton (University of Memphis) is trained in historical archaeology and specializes in the networks race, class, and gender. His earlier research focused on  Timbuctoo, New Jersey, and his latest book Historical Racialized Toys in the United States focuses on the socialization of  Victorian Era children in ideologies of race.

Carolyn Brown (Rutgers University) is a historian whose primary research interests are in West African labor and urban social history with current emphasis on masculinity, nationalism, African involvement in World War II and slavery in Southeastern Nigeria.  She is a co-editor of Africa and World War II (2015).

Alvin Corbett (Underground Railroad Museum of Burlington County, NJ) is a researcher and history buff in the areas of African-American and 20th-century African history. He has traced his family history to Jack Sherrod, a slave who served in the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War.

Amy Godine (Independent scholar) is the curator of Dreaming of Timbuctoo, and other exhibitions focusing on northern New York’s social history. Her most recent book project, The Black Woods, is a narrative history of the Adirondack Timbuctoo in its own time and in memory.

Bruce S. Hall (Duke University) a historian of Islamic West Africa, who has conducted research in Timbuktu.  He is the author of A History of Race in Muslim West Africa: 1600-1960 and His current research is focused on circum-Saharan commercial networks connecting 19th century Ghadames, (Libya) and Timbuktu .

Hadley Kruczek-Aaron (SUNY, Potsdam) is a historical archaeologist who has excavated historic-period sites throughout the US and the Caribbean. She specializes in the 19th century. Northeast United States and is Director, Timbuctoo, NY Excavation Project. 

Renée Larrier (Rutgers University) is the Chair of the Department of French. Her research interests are African and Caribbean literatures and literature by women. She has published on Francophone Caribbean and African literature.

Paul E. Lovejoy (Distinguished Research Professor, York University, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada) has more than 300 publications. His Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa is a seminal work for African history and is a highly honored professor of African history.  His most recent publication is Jihad in West Africa during the Age of Revolutions (2016).

Mauro Nobili (University of Illinois) is a historian of pre-colonial and early-colonial West Africa, with an interest in the area of the modern Republic of Mali and the town of Timbuktu. His current project is an original study of the Timbuktu chronicle, the Tārīkh al-fattāsh.

Martha Swan (Executive Director, John Brown Lives! JBL) is the producer of the “Dreaming of Timbuctoo” Exhibition.  She also teaches Spanish fulltime at a small public school and is involved in various social justice activities.

Guy Weston (Descendant of 1829 Timbuctoo Settler) has been engaged in genealogy research for 25 years, focusing primarily on his maternal ancestors in Timbuctoo, NJ, where his fourth great-grandfather bought his family's plot in 1829 for $30.  He is currently studying for the Professional Genealogist Certification exam.

Contact Us

contact us Center for African Studies
Lucy Stone Hall
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8045
Phone: 848.445.6638
Program Coordinator
Email: chika.okoye@rutgers.edu