African Studies Association Annual Teachers Workshop 2022
Program Details

Opening Session: Plenary Room

Opening Remarks from Ousseina D. Alidou

 

 

Ousseina D. Alidou

Rutgers University

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Ousseina D. Alidou is Full Professor in the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is the incoming Director of Rutgers Center for Women’s Global Leadership. She is Rutgers University Academic Director of the Mandela Washington Young Fellowship/YALI-Civic Leadership (2016-present); Professor Alidou is a theoretical linguist and cultural critic whose research focuses on women’s agency in African Muslim societies in the Sahel and East Africa (Kenya); gendered discourses of citizenship and rights; gender, education, politics and leadership. She is the author of Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005, a runner-up Aidoo-Schneider Book Prize of Women’s Caucus of the Association of African Studies) and Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya: Leadership, Representation, Political and Social Change (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013); Alidou co-edited Writing through the Visual and Virtual: Inscribing Language, Literature, and Culture in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean with Renée Larrier (Kentucky: (After the Empire: The Francophone World and Postcolonial France) Lexington Book, 2015); Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Africa with Ahmed Sikainga ( (Trenton: Africa World Press, 2006) and A Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities, Co-edited with Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2000);. In addition, she has published over 50 book chapters and articles which appear in Research in African Literatures, Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika (SUGIA); Comparative Literature; and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East; and Africa Today...(learn more)

 

Keynote Speaker | Dawit Benti

How to Engage with African Cities? Thinking Through the Lens of Multiplicity and Sustainability

Dawit Benti will discuss cities from across the different geographic parts of Africa. Their genesis, along with their growth patterns will  constitute a sizeable portion of the discussion. He will also speak on  issues of size,  planning, and resilience of the cities. Africa is poised to be the center of the world’s urban futures and he concludes the presentation with examples of practices that potentially make the world’s future largest cities livable and sustainable.  

 

Dawit Benti

Addis Ababa University

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Dawit Benti did his bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Urban planning in 1995 from Addis Ababa University and his MArch degree from Indian Institute of Technology , Roorkee, India in 2002. He is teaching theory and contemporary architecture at the  Masters program at EiABC, Addis Ababa University. He is interested in contemporary Ethiopian and African architecture. Together with David Rifkind and Juergen Strohmayer he curated an exhibition entitled “Post Millennial Architecture in Ethiopia” at the Goethe Institute Addis Ababa, the AIA Miami Chapter, Miami and the University of Florida, Gainesville. He is a practicing architect and a manager at Prospace Design Build Plc, Addis Ababa. His works include the design of media complexes, apartments, health care facilities, residences and hotels.  He regularly writes and speaks about Ethiopian architecture and heritage buildings in Ethiopia.  He is also an admin at social media groups that focus on Ethiopian and African architecture and urbanism.

Curriculum Facilitation Introduction |  With Educators Lesina Martin and Leana McClain

 

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Lesina Martin

Traditional Expressions

Lesina Martin is a native of Detroit, MI. She graduated from Howard University in 2003 with a B.A. in African Studies. For ten years, she taught outreach throughout the Washington, DC area with Traditional Expressions, a program designed to teach African folkloric studies (dance, music, song) as youth arts enrichment. She entered the classroom full-time teaching Social Studies in 2014, and is now a Teaching Artist. Over the years, Lesina has travelled to West Africa on several occasions to study traditional folklore. She endeavors to continue the mission of working with educators to increase awareness of African cultural heritage.

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Leana McClain

Indiana University

Leana Brunson McClain, M.S. Ed. is a Senior Clinical Lecturer Emeritus in the department of Curriculum and Instruction and the department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education at the Indiana University School of Education teaching social studies and literacy methods courses. Her teaching career spans more than 40 years teaching elementary school in the United States and Saudi Arabia. She has provided professional development literacy support to schools in international settings including the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, and China. In 2016, she created the Global Literacy Invitation project to encourage Indiana classroom teachers to think and teach globally through the use of quality children’s literature.

Message from activist Evelyn Acham: "The Future of African Cities"

 

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Evelyn Acham

Climate Justice Activist

Evelyn Acham is a climate justice activist from Kampala, Uganda. She is the national coordinator and secretary for the Rise Up Movement, an Arctic Angel with global choices and a member of Fridays for Future. She heads the plus one tree project which is targeting to plant and distribute 9million fruit trees and more in Uganda. She is also involved with climate education in schools and campaigning for its inclusion in the school curriculum. She collaborates with vash green schools projects which is headed by Vanessa Nakate and involves installation of ecofriendly cook stoves and solar panels in schools to promote renewable energy. As well collaborates with Girl on The Move Initiative headed by Isaac Ssentumbwe which involves empowering young women and girls through training them with skills that can keep them empowered amidst crises like the climate crisis.

Session One: 1:45-2:35PM ET 

 

Bridging the Class Divide in Accra: The Novels of Ghanaian authors Mamle Wolo and Elizabeth-Irene Baitie

Presenters: Elizabeth-Irene Baite and Mamle Wolo

Description: A discussion between two writers whose novels draw on their personal and professional experience to highlight socio-economic disparities and their impact on children in their home city of Accra
Level: Appropriate for All Levels

Presenter Bios:

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Elizabeth-Irene Baitie

Author

Elizabeth-Irene Baitie  directs a medical laboratory by day,  and writes for children and young adults at night. Working in a lab is about running tests and making discoveries,” she says.  “That's what the characters in my books find out: In life,  you don’t discovery what you’re made of until you’re tested.”  

Eluzabeth-Irene's stories simultaneously tug at, and thrill the heart.  Her first children’s book, A Saint in Brown Sandals, won the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa in 2006. Subsequent YA novels  - The Twelfth Heart, The Dorm Challenge, Rattling in the Closet and The Lion’s Whisper were awarded the Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature. Her seventh book – middle-grade novel Crossing the Stream – published in 2021, has received excellent reviews, including the Kirkus star. 

Elizabeth-Irene loves cream cakes and green peas (but not together), and long phone conversations with friends and family. She lives in vibrant Accra with her husband. They are parents to three grown-up children.  Check her out on www.elizabethirenebaitie.com.

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Mamle Wolo

Writers Project of Ghana

Mamle Wolo is a Ghanaian/German writer, born in Ghana. She is the author of The Kaya Girl, published by Little, Brown in June 2022. Her next children’s novel, Flying through Water, will be published by Little, Brown in 2024. Mamle holds an MA in Modern Languages from the University of Cambridge, and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster, UK. She is an honorary fellow in writing of the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa. Mamle lives in Accra, Ghana, and is a director of the Writers Project of Ghana (WPG).

 

African Cosmopolitanism: Fashion, Photography, and Identity
Presenters: Dr. Tavy Aherne
Description: The African continent has the fastest rate of urbanization in the world and is developing faster than China did over the past 30 years. Yet, images of dynamic cities are often not the first thing that comes to mind for Americans when they reference Africa due to inaccurate – indeed racist – Western colonial narratives that still perpetuate today. In fact, urbanism has a deep history on the continent of Africa. African cities have been connected with global networks of exchange for more than a millennium, and have been vibrant centers of cultural, intellectual, technological, and personal creativity throughout history. This presentation will counter some of the most common stereotypes of Africa through the lens of photography by Africans, of Africans, for Africans, to reveal how African urbanites have reflected, refracted, and fashioned complex cosmopolitan identities and lives.

Level: Appropriate for All Levels
Presenter Bio:  

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Dr. Tavy Aherne

Indiana University

Tavy Aherne is the Associate Director for the Indiana University African Studies Program (a National Resource Center) and directs K-16 Africa-content outreach and professional development opportunities for in-service and pre-service teachers at Indiana University in collaboration with the School of Education. She also serves as an editor on the journal Africa Today. An Art Historian focused on arts and cultures of Africa, Dr. Aherne has taught for almost twenty years and collaborated on exhibitions with national and international museums (including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of African Art, and the Musée Dapper in Paris). Dr. Aherne also served as an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation academic curator at the Eskenazi Museum of Art and was a Posse Foundation faculty mentor. Dr. Aherne’s teaching includes diverse courses in African visual culture, museum studies, and interdisciplinary research methodologies. Her research and writing has focused on West African aesthetic systems, African textiles and trade, and teaching pedagogies -including the use of object-based (OBL) and experiential learning in K-16 curriculum. She has conducted research with Fulbhe and Bamana artists and colleagues in Guinea and Mali, as well as archival and field research in Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tonga (Polynesia), and Europe.

Session Two: 2:40 -3:25pm

 

Pan African Cosmopolitanism in Popular Cultural Expressions
Presenter: Dr. Isaac Kalumbu and Adeyinka Alasade
Description: Since the late Nineteenth Century,  African Americans and African descendants from the Caribbean came into contact with Africans on the continent at heightened levels. The return to Liberia and to Sierra Leon by the formerly enslaved from the United States and the Caribbean, respectively, along with the ground-breaking and consequential visit to South Africa by Orpheus McAdoo in 1891, each represent watershed moments for the beginning of urban expressive forms that communicated a political, cultural and aesthetic affinity and awareness. Indeed there is evidence of this pan African idea in the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1909), the African National Congress (1912) and The Universal Negro Improvement Association (1914), three of the most powerful black political organizations at the beginning of the last Century. In popular culture, international mass media were the vehicle through which US and Caribbean cultural expressions were conveyed to Africa, and where they found audience among African city dwellers across the continent. Many African urbanites infused diasporic cultural and political ideas with local ones to forge new black urban identities in colonial city contexts that sought to deny their right to a dignified existence. In this session, we discuss the manner in which, throughout the Twentieth Century, Africans used music, sport, film, fashion and dance as platforms for the performance of a pan African consciousness and identity that defied the colonial establishment and created a mediated camaraderie between African descendant populations on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. These cultural expressions, with their political underpinnings, persist in today’s black expressive forms.

Level: Appropriate for All Levels
Presenter Bio:

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Dr. Isaac Kalumbu

Michigan State University

Isaac Gabriel Kalumbu is Assistant Director for Outreach in the African Studies Center at Michigan State University. He was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and earned a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology with a minor in African American Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. He taught courses on African American, Caribbean and African popular musics for twelve years in the College of Music at Michigan State University, and led several Study Abroad programs to Jamaica and South Africa. In 2011, he joined the university’s International Studies and Programs, first as Assistant to the Director of the African Studies Center, and later as Program Manager for the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. Prior to rejoining the African Studies Center in August 2019, Isaac served as Student Advocate and Outreach Coordinator for the Office for International Students and Scholars at MSU. In addition to his academic and administrative work, Isaac is a GRAMMY Nominated singer/songwriter and recording artist.

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Adeyinka Alasade

University of Illinois

Adeyinka Alasade is the outreach coordinator for the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She designs literary, cultural and intellectual programs to facilitate provocative conversations, community engagement, and creative investigations in historical and contemporary African and African Diaspora issues, experiences, and lifeways from global African perspectives.  Alasade is a poet whose rousing social critiques and Africana aesthetics played a significant role in popularizing the “Chicago Scene.” As the undefeated Uptown Poetry Slam Champion, she won the (nine rounds) title, six consecutive times before retiring. Her record has yet to be broken. Her performances have been reviewed in several journals and newspapers including the Wall Street Journal.  The Chicago Tribune called her “Chicago’s High Priestess of Dub Poetry.” Alasade served as Poet-In-Residence in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Urban Studies Program for seven years where she conducted a successful poetry workshop. She holds an MA in African Studies and an MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign.

 

The Timbuktu Manuscripts
Presenters: Dr. Abdel Kader Haidara
Description: Discover the Digitized Treasures of Timbuktu from Mali-based Timbuktu Librarian Dr. Haidara
Session Material: https://artsandculture.google.com/experiment/the-timbuktu-manuscripts/BQE6pL2U3Qsu2A?hl=en

Level: Appropriate for All Levels
Presenter Bios:

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Dr. Abdel Kader Haidara

Librarian

Dr. Haidara is a world renowed librarian of Timbuktu, President of the Mamma Hiadara Foundation (FOMAH) & Director General of the Mamma Haïdara Library in Timbuktu as well as the Executive President of the NGO SAVAMA-DCI, an organization dedicated to safeguarding and valorizing of manuscripts for the defense of Islamic culture. He has held various important documentation roles at the Institute of Ahmed Baba in Timbuktu, Mali, UNESCO, and is the author of several articles and catalogues on the manuscripts of Timbuktu. He has led the exhibition of various Timbuktu manuscripts across the world, in Africa and Europe, all the way to the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute in the United States. He received a Doctor Honoris Causa from New York University in 2019, UNESCO’s Memory of the World Prize in 2018, among many other notable distinctions. Dr. Haidara is a savior of world heritage: he led coordinated and the safeguarding of the Timbuktu manuscripts when Timbuktu was under attack in 2012.

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Daouda Camara

Educator

Originally from Senegal, Mr. Camara has taught in various settings for over thirty years, including 10 years with the Peace Corps across West Africa, and 20 years in the United States. He has held teaching positions in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, IL, and now in Rochester, NY.

Session Three: 3:35-4:45pm

 

Benin as a Window into the Complexity of West Africa
Presenter: Madison Aubey
Description: With the Woman King's recent release, Benin has entered into popular conversation. How can further investigations into its history, archaeology, and present day culture help us develop a more nuanced view of this historical Western African center of political, cultural, and economic power? This presentation works to simultaneously highlight the richness of Dahomey culture as well as address the traumas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Level: Middle/High School
Presenter Bios:

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Madison Aubey

PhD Candidate, UCLA

Madison Aubey is a second year PhD student at UCLA studying the archaeology and anthropology of Africatown, Alabama under the supervision of her advisor Dr. Justin Dunnavant. Through comparative studies and community-led work, she works to connect the founders of this free Black town in the Deep South to their ancestors in West Africa and honor the wishes of their descendants in the present day. She is a graduate of Columbia University, a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, and an awardee of the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program. 

A Discussion on Idia of the Benin Kingdom
Presenter: Recorded Presentation with author Ekiuwa Aire & live discussion with Dr. Tavy Aherne
Description: Ekiuwa Aire's picture book, Idia of the Benin Kingdom, is a CABA award-winning story set in 16th Century Benin. The main character, Idia, is based on the historical figure of the first woman to hold the title of Queen Mother (Iyoba) in the Benin Kingdom. Benin was a center of inter-Africa and intra-Africa trade, being equal trading partners with the then-comparatively much smaller and less wealthy Portugal. Dr. Aherne will follow Aire's recorded author presentation to discuss the book, as well as Tamkara Olayinka Adun's children's book, Osasu and the Great Wall of the Benin Empire. They offer an entry for young children into the realities of early African cities, global trade with Europe since the 15th C, and even current events including the recent 2022 repatriation of Benin works of art from Europe and the U.S. back to Benin.

Level: Elementary and Middle School
Presenter Bio: 

 
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Ekiuwa Aire

Author

Ekiuwa Aire was born and raised in Benin City, Edo, Nigeria. She moved to England when she was nine and it was here, away from all she had grown up with, she discovered her passion for writing. Ekiuwa co-wrote her first book while finishing high school and continued developing her craft while earning a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Business Administration. She is passionate about African history and incorporates the richness of many cultures into her books. Now a mother living in Canada, Ekiuwa hopes that her books will help kids develop an appreciation for African history, and to value the wisdom and pride that will come from this knowledge.

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Dr. Tavy Aherne

Indiana University

Tavy Aherne is the Associate Director for the African Studies Program at Indiana University, a Title VI National Resource Center. Dr. Aherne holds a PhD in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas and in African Studies. She has taught for almost twenty years and collaborated on exhibitions with national and international museums (including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of African Art, and the Musée Dapper in Paris). She also serves as an editor on the journal Africa Today and is a former Board Member of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA).
Dr. Aherne’s teaching includes diverse courses in African arts and film, post-colonial theory, Museum Studies, and interdisciplinary research methodologies. Her research and writing has focused on West African aesthetic systems, African textiles and trade, and teaching pedagogies. She has conducted research with Fulbhe and Bamana artists and colleagues in Guinea and Mali, as well as archival and field research in Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tonga (Polynesia), and Europe.

Session Four: 4:30-5:00pm

Curriculum Session: Social Studies and History Focus
Presenter: Lesina Martin
Description: TBA

Level: TBA
Presenter Bio:

 
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Lesina Martin

Traditional Expressions

Lesina Martin is a native of Detroit, MI. She graduated from Howard University in 2003 with a B.A. in African Studies. For ten years, she taught outreach throughout the Washington, DC area with Traditional Expressions, a program designed to teach African folkloric studies (dance, music, song) as youth arts enrichment. She entered the classroom full-time teaching Social Studies in 2014, and is now a Teaching Artist. Over the years, Lesina has travelled to West Africa on several occasions to study traditional folklore. She endeavors to continue the mission of working with educators to increase awareness of African cultural heritage.

Curriculum Session: Literature Focus
Presenters: Leana McLean
Description: This session will introduce participants to strategies for using quality children’s literature on Africa in the classroom. It will provide an opportunity to examine how books -such as those highlighted in the workshop today- may be used to teach Africa-focused content, internationalizing one’s curriculum. Picture books from various parts of the world have the potential for making connections across the content areas while addressing the academic standards and learning about other parts of the world in age-appropriate ways. Leana will discuss strategies for using children’s books that help create meaningful learning experiences both for the students and for you, the teacher.

Level: Appropriate for All Levels with Emphasis on K-6
Presenter Bios:

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Leana McClain

Indiana University

Leana Brunson McClain, M.S. Ed. is a Senior Clinical Lecturer Emeritus in the department of Curriculum and Instruction and the department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education at the Indiana University School of Education teaching social studies and literacy methods courses. Her teaching career spans more than 40 years teaching elementary school in the United States and Saudi Arabia. She has provided professional development literacy support to schools in international settings including the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, and China. In 2016, she created the Global Literacy Invitation project to encourage Indiana classroom teachers to think and teach globally through the use of quality children’s literature.

Closing Session: 5pm ET
Reflections and Lessons Learned

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