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Black Culture

The Podcast about African History, Culture, and Politics


United States


The Podcast about African History, Culture, and Politics




Michigan State University 409 Natural Sciences Building East Lansing, MI 48824-1120 Phone: +517.355.9300 – Fax: +517.355.8363


Episode 133:

Peter Mark (Emeritus, Art history, Wesleyan Univ.) on his personal and scholarly journeys through precolonial Mande worlds. He shares insights from decades of experience working with an eclectic range of primary sources and archives. He then discusses the history of a Portuguese Jewish diaspora in Senegal and Afro-European identities. The interview closes with Mark’s preview of his late[…]


Episode 132:

Marissa Moorman (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison, African Cultural Studies) on Angolan social history and media studies. We discuss the evolving trajectory of her scholarship, research in southern Africa and Portugal, and her latest book, Powerful Frequencies: Radio, State Power, and the Cold War in Angola, 1931–2002. The interview features a musical interlude (courtesy of Paulo Flores). It […]


Episode 131:

Historian Jessica Marie Johnson (Johns Hopkins Univ.) digs into her award-winning new book, Wicked Flesh: Black Women, Intimacy, and Freedom in the Atlantic World. The conversation brings out how Black women in Senegambia, the Caribbean, and Louisiana devised ways to gain control over parts of their lives and defined freedom for themselves in the age of slavery and the slave trade. The in[…]


Episode 130:

Dr. Gerard Akindes discusses his experience playing and coaching basketball in West Africa and Europe, and the new Basketball Africa League. He considers the role of “electronic colonialism” in the sport media landscape and then reflects on his work advancing African scholarship through research publications and through Sports Africa, a coordinate organization of the U.S. African Stud[…]


Episode 129:

Dr. Chambi Chachage (Princeton) discusses his intellectual journey from Dar es Salaam to Cape Town, Edinburgh, and Cambridge, Mass., his book manuscript on the history of Black entrepreneurs in Dar, and the changing role of digital humanities in the field of African studies. The interview concludes with Chachage’s insights on the controversial recent elections in Tanzania.[…]


Episode 128:

Cherif Keita (French and Francophone Studies, Carleton College) reflects on his life as a scholar from Mali and on his documentary films about John Langalibalele Dube and Nokutela Dube, founding figures of the African National Congress of South Africa. The interview closes with a discussion of musician Salif Keita’s journey from social outcast (as an albino) in Mande society to icon of […]


Episode 127:

Kim Yi Dionne (Political Science, UC Riverside) on her recent book, Doomed Interventions: The Failure of Global Responses to AIDS in Africa; the controversial May 2019 elections in Malawi, where she served as an observer; and hosting the Ufahamu Africa podcast and co-editing the Monkey Cage politics blog at the Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @dadakim.[…]


Episode 126:

Elizabeth Schmidt (History, Loyola Maryland) on her activist beginnings and professional trajectory as an historian, first of Shona women in colonial Zimbabwe and later of Guinea’s independence movement. The second part of the interview focuses on Schmidt’s recent books on foreign intervention in Africa since 1945—a complex story driven by multiple geopolitical and economic interest[…]


Episode 125:

Didier Gondola (IUPUI, History and Africana Studies) on his book, Tropical Cowboys: Westerns, Violence, and Masculinity in Kinshasa. He reflects on how Hollywood Westerns shaped a performative young urban masculinity expressed through nicknames and slang, cannabis consumption, gender violence, fashion, and sport. Gondola also offers insights on Jean Depara’s photography, the recent DRC […]


Episode 123:

Alex Thurston (Miami University) discusses his recent book, Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement. Taking local religious ideas and experiences seriously, Thurston sheds light on northeastern Nigeria and the main leaders of Boko Haram; relationships with the Islamic State; the conflict’s spread to Niger, Chad, and Cameroon; and US foreign policy in the region. The inte[…]


Episode 124:

Cal Biruk (Oberlin, Anthropology) on the politics of knowledge production in African fieldwork. We talk about her new book, Cooking Data: Culture and Politics in an African Research World, based on HIV and AIDS research in Malawi. The discussion explores the social and cultural cleaning (“cooking”) of survey data and its implications for demographers and the public. Biruk then draws a[…]


Episode 122:

Msia Kibona Clark (African Studies, Howard University) on her new book, Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City and Dustyfoot Philosophers. Clark describes how her personal passion became academic expertise. She highlights African women emcees and the role of local languages and Pan-African elements in the music. In the final part of the interview, Clark reflects on her Hip-Hop African po[…]


Episode 121:

Bonny Ibhawoh (McMaster Univ.) and Christian Williams (U. Free State) on historicizing refugees in Africa. Looking at children evacuated from the Biafran War to Gabon and Ivory Coast, Ibhawoh discusses the politics of “refugee” labeling. Williams’s biography of a woman born in a SWAPO camp in exile in Tanzania shows how displaced people are agents of history, not just faceless victi[…]


Episode 120:

David Coplan (Wits, Emeritus) takes us on a journey from New York to Soweto and into the making of his ethnographic studies of music and popular culture in West and South(ern) Africa. Coplan then turns to his recent book about The Bassline jazz club in Johannesburg. The interview concludes with insights from his new research on African borderlands and its contributions to global Border Th[…]


Episode 119:

Jean Allman (Washington U.) on rethinking African humanities. She discusses her research on Ghana, women, and gender, and highlights the transformative potential of collaborative work. Allman reflects on African Studies publishing networks and then previews her ASA Presidential Lecture delivered at MSU: “#HerskovitsMustFall? A Meditation on Whiteness, African Studies, and the Unfinished[…]


Episode 118:

Prof. Somadoda Fikeni (UNISA) and Nomzamo Ntombela (Stellenbosch) reflect on continuities and changes in South African social justice activism. Fikeni and Ntombela share their respective personal and political experiences, connecting the motives and lessons of 1980s anti-apartheid mass mobilization to the recent #FeesMustFall student movement. Click here to watch the “Campus Activis[…]


Episode 117:

Albie Sachs, former judge, freedom fighter, and professor, speaks (and sings!) about his anti-apartheid activism and lifelong commitment to equality and justice. He reflects on the enduring need for soft vengeance and draws on his 15-year term on South Africa's Constitutional Court to emphasize the importance of constitutionalism for democracy. The interview concludes with Sachs' thoughts[…]


Episode 116:

Prof. Norman Etherington (U. Western Australia) on empire in Africa, missions, and Southern African history. The interview focuses on themes of his distinguished career and influential works, such as The Great Treks, and his latest books Indigenous Evangelists & Questions of Authority in the British Empire 1750-1940 and Imperium of the Soul.[…]


Episode 115:

Dr. Alcinda Honwana on the struggles of young Africans, the condition of "waithood" a state of limbo between childhood and adulthood and their creative engagements with everyday life. She reflects on the art and ethics of oral interviewing in Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia, and concludes with a hopeful vision of young women and men as a force for positive change in Africa […]


Episode 114:

Youssouf Sakaly and Malick Sitou discuss the Archive of Malian Photography, a collaborative Malian-US project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the British Library, that provides free access to preserved and digitized collections of five important photographers in Mali. The interview considers ethical questions, family and community memory, conservation and dissemina[…]