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Meet the Center for African Studies
Graduate Affiliates!

Please note that the following affiliates include only those graduate students
who have forwarded their pictures and bios.

| Robin Chapdelaine | History |

| Christina Doonan | Political Science |

| Omotayo Jolaosho | Anthropology |

Lincoln Addison
Lincoln Addison has successfully defended his dissertation in the Department of Anthropology entitled, “Labor, Sex and Spirituality on a South African Border Farm." His research focuses on Zimbabwean plantation workers in northern South Africa. Specifically, he is interested in forms of self-organization among these workers through such practices as worship, leisure and recreation. His work brings together social history and political economy to understand how Zimbabwean migrant workers form a differentiated community inflected with power relations at multiple scales. Lincoln has helped organize two academic conferences as a CAS graduate affiliate and has twice received the CAS Graduate Enhancement Award.
E-mail: laddison@eden.rutgers.edu
Jodie Mae Barker
Jodie Mae Barker has successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of French entitled, "Vers Mouvements en mineur: Embodied Ethics and Visceral Epistemologies in French-language Poetry and Theater," which studies movement in late 20th century French-language poetry and theatre from across the globe, focusing on the poetry of Anne-Marie Albiach (France), Abdellatif Laâbi (Morocco) and Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal). Jodie is interested in ethics, movement, continental philosophy, and active and creative pedagogy. After completing her dissertation, she hopes to begin two projects: one centering on French-language pedagogy, and another exploring desire and movement in Hindu Tantrism.
E-mail: jodiemae@eden.rutgers.edu
Moyagaye Bedward
Moyagaye Bedward is a third year Ph.D. Candidate in History. Her research interests are race, identity formation, and articulations of citizenship. In her dissertation, she hopes to examine the decline of slavery in 20th century Morocco. In particular, she is interested in how ideas and discourses about slaves’ racial, cultural, religious, and ethnic differences from "Arabs" and "Berbers" shaped and defined the national Moroccan identity during the independence through the early post-independence periods. Moyagaye is pictured at right in the photo above.
E-mail: mylifeintune1@gmail.com
Clovis Bergère
Clovis Bergère is a Ph.D. Candidate in Childhood Studies at Rutgers University–Camden. His dissertation focuses on emerging digital cultures amongst urban youth in Guinea. He is particularly interested in the intersecting geographies of urban and virtual associations and the changing contours of youth in urban Guinea. This project is also concerned with inventive methods of social research, particularly cyber-ethnography and visual methodologies. His current work and research builds on his previous experience working as a teacher in Guinea, as well as over seven years as a local government manager in Children Services in London, UK, where he worked in sports development, children's play, and education.
Email: clovis.bergere@rutgers.edu
Kate Burlingham
Kate Burlingham is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History in the final year of her degree program at Rutgers University. Her dissertation, for which she conducted fieldwork in Angola, South Africa, Portugal, and the United States, is about the history of Congregational missionaries in Angola from 1880 - 1975. Kate is also a Subject Specialist for the JSTOR/Aluka project entitled, "Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa," which is digitizing archival holdings from around the world related to the anti-colonial battles fought throughout southern Africa from 1950-1991. She is highly proficient in Portuguese and Spanish and can read and communicate French. Kate was an Africanist Doctoral fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and has received numerous other grants and fellowships in support of her research and writing from foundations and organizations in the United States and Portugal.
E-mail: kburling@eden.rutgers.edu
David Byrnes
David Byrnes is a Ph.D. student in the Plant Biology and Pathology department of Rutgers University mentored by Dr. James Simon as part of the New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products (NUANPP) lab. A Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security, Byrnes's principal interest is in using traditional breeding methods to develop three of the most commonly eaten leafy green vegetables in the rapidly urbanizing region of East Africa, which are spiderplant (Cleome gynandra), nightshade (Solanum spp.), and amaranth (Amaranthus spp.). Byrnes intends on introducing varieties of these crops which reduce labor yet meet regional preferences to optimize these crop's ability to deliver much needed nutrition as well as economic opportunities for regional smallholder farms.
Email: david.byrnes@rutgers.edu
Jill Campaiola
Jill Campaiola is a Ph.D. Candidate in Media Studies in the School of Communication & Information. Her dissertation investigates the extent to which Moroccan TV dramas are shaped by local, national and global cultural flows such as wider influences from the Arab world, the old colonial power – France – and from American popular culture. The purpose of her research is to understand how television drama can be used as a form of mental emigration in the era of globalization. She is a 2009 Dissertation Proposal Development Fellow through the Social Science Research Council.
E-mail: jillgc@scils.rutgers.edu
Stella Capoccia
Stella Capoccia has successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of Geography. Her research looks at the role that international wildlife priorities play on wildlife management and conservation in Kenya. In particular, her work explores how a focus on animals protection unfolds in the larger conservation strategy. She received support from the Waterman Graduate Travel Fellowship and the Department of Human Ecology for the initial stages of her work including topic and site selection. The Department of Geography and the Department of Human Ecology currently support her full research project.
E-mail: scapocci@rci.rutgers.edu
Robin Chapdelaine
Robin P. Chapdelaine has successfully defended her dissertation in African and Women's and Gender History entitled, “A History of Child Trafficking in Southeastern Nigeria, 1900s-1930s." Her research examines the porosity between the institutions of pawnship, slavery, child (girl) marriage, panyarring, serfdom, clientelism, and servanthood. The transformation of child pawning, a family strategy that used children’s labor as collateral for loans, is highlighted as an institution that allowed slippages from ‘pawn’ to ‘slave’ as the procurement and post-slavery exploitation of children became an important local system of attaining child labor during the colonial era.
E:mail: rchapdelaine@gmail.com
Mary Kay Diakite
Mary Kay Jou is a Ph.D. Candidate at Rutgers University School of Social Work, focusing on Social Policy with a specialty in immigration policy and anti-terror legislation. She teaches as an Adjunct Professor at both Rutgers and Monmouth Universities. For the last nine years, she has been working with refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers, survivors of torture and detainees. She has run school-based programs for refugee and immigrant children in three public school districts. After 9/11, she was recruited to work with Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities. She conducts psychological evaluations on survivors of torture who are seeking both defensive and affirmative asylum. A former Peace Corps Volunteer, she served in Mali, West Africa from 1996-1998. She has spent the last three summers conducting Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) cross border conflict resolution workshops in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Rwanda. In terms of research, she is currently supervising an independent study regarding the impact of U.S. Immigration Detention and Deportation on Liberians with an MSW student from Monmouth University. Most recently, she began working as a Family Social Worker for African immigrants living with HIV and AIDS in Harlem, NY. She is fluent in French and Bambara.
E-mail: mjou@eden.rutgers.edu
Christina Doonan
Christina Doonan is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science. With an emphasis in political theory and women and politics, her work focuses on US foreign policy as it relates to women who engage in sex work. Particularly, she is studying the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and its concomitant ‘anti-prostitution pledge,’ the strange alliances around this issue between feminists and the Christian Right, and what it has meant for organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa working with sex workers.
E-mail: cdoonan@rci.rutgers.edu
Amelia Duffy-Tumasz
Amelia Duffy-Tumasz is a Ph.D. Candidate and Excellence Fellow in the Department of Geography. Her research interests are gender, development, and environment (especially fisheries) in Senegal. She hopes to do her dissertation on the environmental and social effects of trade liberalization of the fisheries sector on fishing households in urban Senegal. She has worked there before on microfinance issues, and has some experience working as a consultant on fishing policy in Cote d'Ivoire as well.
E-mail: ameliadt@eden.rutgers.edu
David Ferring
David Ferring is a Ph.D. Candidate and Excellence Fellow in the Department of Geography. He is a recent graduate of the Master of Science program in Applied Geography at the University of North Texas, with a focus on medical geography and spatial epidemiology. His thesis research investigated how people’s daily patterns of movement influence their exposure to environmental risks for Buruli ulcer, an emerging infectious disease in Ghana, which he conducted as a member of the ReBUild Project. He plans to continue to pursue his research interests in human-environment interactions, ecologies of health, and governance surrounding small-scale gold mining in Ghana.
Email: david.ferring@rutgers.edu
David Hersh
David Hersh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. His research interests center around the relationships between education, governance and development, broadly defined, with Africa as the primary geographic focus. In exploring these relationships, Dave aims to synthesize analyses using tools from economics, econometrics and game theory with those using qualitative methods. Dave also founded and currently runs a not-for-profit that aims to support education in developing countries, with a current project focusing on rural southwestern Kenya.
E-mail: dhersh@eden.rutgers.edu
Omotayo Jolaosho
Omotayo Jolaosho has successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of Anthropology entitled, "'You Can't Go to War Without Song:' Performance and Community Mobilization in Post-Apartheid South Africa." Her dissertation investigates the role of embodied performance in community mobilizations for social change. Preliminary research in South Africa showed that citizens are adapting anti-apartheid freedom songs and political dances as well as creating new expressive forms in response to present conditions. She examines the continued salience of these performance protest forms and situate contemporary performance activism within a longer historical trajectory- a project that is relevant not just to South Africa but also for understanding protest performances as a global phenomenon.
E-mail: ojolao@eden.rutgers.edu
Chaunetta Jones
Chaunetta Jones has successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of Anthropology entitled, "Between State and Sickness: The Social Experience of HIV/AIDS Illness Management and Treatment in Grahamstown, South Africa." Her medical anthropological research investigates how economic inequalities and structural barriers impact responses to antiretroviral treatment (ART) among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) in Grahamstown, South Africa. Within a context of high unemployment, many PLWA rely on government disability subsidies as their only source of income. The terms of the disability grant, however, have created a particularly complex dilemma as patients are modifying their adherence to ART to maintain disability status in order to continue to receive the grant. This situation has significant public health implications and also informs our greater theoretical understandings about how people respond to health crises within resource-poor communities. Chaunetta's fourteen months of fieldwork in South Africa was supported by a Fulbright Program grant sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education.
E-mail: chajones@eden.rutgers.edu
David Kuranga
David Kuranga has successfully defended his dissertation in the Department of Political Science entitled, "International Organizations: Wielders of Power in the Emerging International Order." He currently teaches Politics, Economic Development, and International Relations. In addition to teaching he is the Managing Director of Kuranga and Associates Global Consultancy [www.kaglobal.net] that services public and private sector investments in emerging economies, particularly sub-Saharan Africa. Before furthering his academic pursuits David served on the Delegation of Nigeria to the United Nations. He is well-traveled and is presently actively engaged in his research on the impact of supranational organizations in sustaining peace and stability in West Africa. He has conducted field research in Nigeria.
E-mail: hhpdok@rci.rutgers.edu
Samuel Ledermann
Samuel “Saemi” Ledermann is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Geography. His research explores the socio-economic impacts surrounding the boom of certified organic cotton production in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, his doctoral research includes fieldwork on organic and conventional cotton farmers in Tanzania in order to investigate the relationship between organic cotton production and inequalities. His work pays explicit attention to the importance of space through the combination of spatial and mixed methods. Besides his dissertation work, his (previous) work includes research on the World Trade Organization (WTO), agricultural development, and impacts of international trade in the US and sub-Saharan Africa.
E-mail: samueltl@pegasus.rutgers.edu
Bernard Lombardi
Bernie Lombardi is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at Rutgers-Newark where he works at the intersections of American and African Studies. His research interests include contemporary African migration to the United States, language policy in African education systems, and African LGBT politics. Bernie received a B.A. in African and African American Studies and English from Fordham University and an M.A. in Liberal and Africana Studies from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He wrote a Master’s thesis on how contemporary black African immigrants negotiate American tropes of blackness and the role this plays in their identity formations; he hopes to expand on this in his dissertation. Although he takes an interdisciplinary approach with his research, his focus is literary. He is particularly interested in the novels of African writers living in and writing about the United States. Before starting his graduate education, Bernie lived and worked in Omungwelume, Namibia.
E-mail: bernie.lombardi@rutgers.edu
Yetunde Odugbesan
Yetunde A. Odugbesan, is a Ph.D. Candidate at Division of Global Affairs in Global Political Economy. She is a graduate of the United Nations Worldview Institute and Eagleton Institute of Politics. Yetunde's doctoral research focuses on political corruption and its effects on governmental performance and the deterioration of social services being delivered on the local level in Nigeria. West Africa. Yetunde is also the CEO and Founder of Yetunde Global Consulting (www.yetundeglobalconsulting.com), a management firm specializing in leadership development and training, organizational management and global business strategy.
E-mail: yetunde.ao@gmail.com
Helen Elizabeth Olsen
Helen Elizabeth Olsen is a Ph.D. Candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Geography. With a background in public health and african studies, her research focuses global health prioritization practices in East Africa. Her doctoral work examines questions of poverty, uneven development and gendered experiences of ill-health by studying the ways in which healthcare systems are slowly responding to the needs of chronic illness through an examination of cervical cancer screenings in the Lake Zone of Tanzania. Her work focuses on the integration of HIV/AIDS care and cervical cancer screening, as well as the availability of services for rural Tanzanian women.
E-mail: heo6@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
Wendy O. Osefo
Wendy O. Osefo is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Public Policy and Administration. Her proposed dissertation research will focus on the relationship between ethnic rivalry, corrupt government regimes, and the amalgamation of Nigeria. Nigeria’s unsuccessful transfer from a British protectorate to a democratic republic has managed to have both injurious governmental and social effects on the relatively new independent country. Her work will pay explicit attention to community building within Nigeria and the roles of ethnic rivalry and corruption in the community building process.
E-mail: wozuzu@camden.rutgers.edu
Mahriana Rofheart
Mahriana Rofheart has successfully defended her dissertation in the Program in Comparative Literature entitled, "Don't Abandon 'Our Boat': Shifting Perceptions of Emigration in Contemporary Senegalese Literature and Song." Her research examines the way that emigration and return are addressed in novels in French and hip-hop music in Wolof. Her work demonstrates that these contemporary works devise local and global networks to address the dislocations caused by emigration; the possibilities these texts imagine are entirely different from the often tragic outcomes to migration that earlier Senegalese texts portray. Mahriana is the recepient a Dissertation Fellowship from the School of Arts and Sciences' Mellon Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities 2009 competition; the fellowship provided funding while she completed her dissertation during 2009-2010.
E-mail: mahriana@eden.rutgers.edu
Lauren Saville
Lauren Saville is currently interested in studying mothering style in primates. She will be looking at differences in mothering style in baboons in Kenya and if cortisol levels contribute to these differences. She previously did field work in Tanzania with a troop of vervet monkeys looking at grooming and aggression. She has also done lab work looking at squirrel monkeys and their ability to recognize pictures.
E-mail: lsaville@eden.rutgers.edu
Debby Scott
Debby Scott successfully defended her dissertation entitled, "Co-producing soft law and uncertain knowledge: Biofuels and synthetic biology at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity" in the Geography Department in May 2015. Her dissertation is on international environmental decision-making processes, particularly at the Convention on Biological Diversity around biofuels and synthetic biology. She worked in Nairobi, Kenya from 2006 through 2008 with ACORD, a pan-African NGO addressing agriculture and trade policy. She worked in coalition with farmer groups and civil society groups to analyze and advocate around national agricultural policies and trade agreement negotiations. During her studies at Rutgers, she worked for the Nanotechnology IGERT, helping that project make connections with universities and research institutes in Eastern and Southern Africa. She has just started a post-doc research position with Duke University and Rutgers on the implementation of US marine policy.
E-mail: debby@eden.rutgers.edu
Kaia Niambi Shivers
Kaia Niambi Shivers has successfully defended her dissertation in the School of Communication and Information's Journalism and Media Studies Department. Her dissertation is entitled, "Interrogating Diasporic Identity and Media: Distribution Flows, Reception Practices, and Video Film Interpretations of Nollywood Audiences in Newark, New Jersey." A former journalist who wrote extensively about African Diasporic cultures around the world, her research focuses on the third largest film industry, Nollywood, and how it is distributed, consumed, and interpreted by African Diaspora communities of the United States.
E-mail: kshivers@eden.rutgers.edu
Jordan Steiner
Jordan Steiner holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in International Peace and Conflict Studies and a MA degree from Columbia University, Teachers College in International Educational Development with a Certificate in African Education. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate (as well as MSW) in the School of Social Work. Her research aims to focus on school-related gender based violence in schools, particularly teacher perpetrated, and she has a specific interest in West Africa. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, and has also worked in Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Uganda, as well as with the Francophone West African community in Harlem and the Bronx. She is fluent in French.
E-mail: jsteiner@ssw.rutgers.edu
Sonam Tashi
Sonam Tashi is a Ph.D. student at the Division of Global Affairs. His research focuses on the African Union and investigates theoretical and practical characteristics of democracies and their applicability to the broader African context and specific countries taking into account individual dynamics. His research incorporates both quantitative, specifically multilevel regression modeling, and qualitative research methods. He previously worked as a sovereign risk analyst at a consultancy firm specializing in the emerging markets interacting with government officials, academics and international organizations to gauge economic and political risks. He is well traveled having lived in and visited several countries in Central and Southern Africa.
E-mail: sonam.tashi@gmail.com
Natalie Tevethia
Natalie Tevethia is a first-year student in the anthropology graduate program studying under Professor Angelique Haugerud. Her proposed dissertation research will focus on the construction of gender and identity in the corporate social responsibility efforts of international chocolate and cocoa manufacturers following widespread allegations of exploited child labor in West Africa’s cocoa farms. Within this context, women farmers are becoming the site of struggle over who bears responsibility for child labor practices in the volatile economic cycles of the global cocoa market. Cocoa is Ghana’s second largest export; however, unpredictable cocoa prices on the international market coupled with restrictions on agricultural extension services mandated by structural adjustment have repeatedly threatened the livelihoods of Ghana’s smallholder cocoa farmers. Her research explores how definitions of the productive and reproductive responsibilities of women cocoa farmers are being used to frame the boundaries of moral and economic debates surrounding issues of child labor in the supply chain of the global chocolate industry. She examines gender ideologies present in the goals, methodologies and content of training programs targeted towards Ghanaian women farmers. In addition, she explores how women farmers and their families make sense of these sometimes conflicting messages about rural women’s—and their children’s—responsibilities, identities, and needs.
E-mail: ntevethi@eden.rutgers.edu
Laura Ann Twagira
Laura Ann Twagira has successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of History entitled, “Women and Gender at the Office du Niger (Mali): Technology, Environment, and Food ca. 1900-1985.” She received her B.A. in French from Wellesley College and her M.A. in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College. Her project explores rural women's labor and food production in relation to modest technologies and the environment. Her other areas of interest include global women's and gender history, labor history, and science and technology. Laura Ann was previously a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali and worked primarily with local women's associations, nutrition education, and infant and maternal health projects. As a member of the CAS Graduate Affiliates, she helped to organize two Graduate conferences at Rutgers: "Resonances of Resistance," which was held in December 2008 and "Rethinking the African State," which was held in April 2009.
E-mail: ltwagira@history.rutgers.edu
Johanna Rossi Wagner
Johanna Rossi Wagner is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Italian. Her research looks at Postcolonial Literature in Italian written by women authors from the Horn of Africa, specifically from the former Italian colonies of Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia. The Italian colonial campaign involved East Africa for more than sixty years (1880-1941), but it has been relegated to the margins of Italian historiography due to closed archives and one-sided fascist rhetoric surrounding its happening. Her project looks at the recently emerging work of these authors as both more accurate narratives of the colonized experience and forms of resistance to the perpetuated myth of Italy's "good colonialism." The works under investigation also map out strategies for community building and cultural celebration amidst the difficult realities of the African diaspora.
E-mail: jrwagner@eden.rutgers.edu
Adryan Wallace

Adryan R. Wallace has successfully defended her dissertation in the Department of Political Science entitled, "Transforming Production Roles into Political Inclusion: A Comparative Study of Hausa Women’s Agency through Civil Society Organizations in Kano, Nigeria and Tamale, Ghana." Her research focuses on the relationships between income generating activities and constructs of gender among the Hausa in Nigeria and Ghana. In the summer of 2008 she conducted pre-dissertation research in Kano, Nigeria and Tamale, Ghana to ascertain how Hausa women are constructing political space. The ways in which interpretations of Islam impact nationalism and state institutions are also explored in her work.
E-mail: adwallac@eden.rutgers.edu

Samantha Winter
Samantha Winter holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Colorado State University in Civil Engineering and a master’s of science degree from Stanford University in Environmental Engineering. She is currently Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Social Work. Her research lies at the intersection between infrastructure, public health and social justice—focusing, more specifically, on the social outcomes and unintended consequences of development. Her dissertation research involves a two-phase, cross-sectional, mixed-method study looking at the relationship between access to sanitation and violence against women in slums in Kampala, Uganda. Since coming to Rutgers University she has also been involved in a research project looking at the factors contributing to women’s retention in engineering and agriculture programs at two universities in Liberia.
E-mail: swinter@ssw.rutgers.edu


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