The African Scholars program supports the research of individual scholars from Africa, awarding fellowships each year for a semester of study at one of the Five Colleges here in the Valley. In addition to supporting the research of the scholars the program aims to strengthen relationships between academic institutions and individuals in Africa and the United States. This year, we are pleased to welcome Afis Ayinde Oladosu, Peter Simatei and Imani Sanga to our program. On September 14, 2007, the Five Colleges African Studies Council met in the Mullins-Faber room at Amherst College, where the scholars presented brief synopses of their current research before faculty from the five campuses and others affiliated with Council activities. The presentations inspired a number of interesting and critical questions that we hope will form a dialogue between individuals and groups at the Five Colleges throughout the semester.
Dr. Afis Ayinde Oladosu has come to the English department at UMASS from his position in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. At the Council meeting last month, Afis described his current research as a critical examination of how African modernities, particularly the Sudanese extraction, have engaged the categories of race, gender and nationalism. Some of the important questions Afis addresses in his research relate to the extent to which African literature(s) can speak to the totality of Africa’s multicultural and postcolonial experience/reality and perhaps most importantly what critical method(s) should be employed in the analyses of such postmodernist texts as have emerged in Sudan in recent times.
Dr. Imani Sanga comes to Mount Holyoke College from the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Dar es Salaam, where he lectures as an ethnomusicologist and a University choral director. He is interested in the sociopolitical dynamics that led to the integration of church music into the realm of popular music. Dr. Sanga investigates the issue of how the styles of gospel music, the associated dance movements and the instruments used, once outside of the mainstream, have over the last twenty five years found a place in the popular culture. He also examines, on the one hand, how this music genre participates in the dynamic construction of gender, national and religious identities and, on the other hand, how these identities have shaped the music and people’s experiences of the music in the last 25 years.
Dr. Peter Simatei Tirop is an Associate Professor of Literature in the Department of Literature, Theatre & Film Studies at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. During his residency at Smith College, Peter is working on the literature of the East African Asian diaspora. These are writings by 3rd and 4th generation East African Asians (mostly of Indian origin) who are based mainly in Europe and North America but whose writings (in terms of settings and concerns) traverse four continents (Africa, Europe, North America and India). He is interested in how these writings problematize the idea of home and belonging, identity and citizenship and also the relationship between space and time, and how they function in relation to the construction of a diasporic imagination. Peter’s work involves locating new voices and orientations that enter into dialogue with the established identity politics of nation formation found in the national literatures.
We encourage students and faculty of the Five Colleges to contact us if you are interested in learning more about the scholars’ research projects, or about other activities related to the Program, including the upcoming faculty colloquiums on November 15 and the last week of November. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the link to our homepage is http://www.fivecolleges.edu/sites/asp/; reach us by telephone at 413-577-3778 .
Posted by: Alanna Lynch, Project Assistant, Five Colleges African Scholars Program
Categories : Editors notes