Alumni Updates

Teferi Abate (PhD, Anthropology, 2000) has been named chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Addis Ababa University.

Peter Alegi (PhD, History, 2000) has been an assistant professor of history at Michigan State University since 2005. He works on South African social and cultural history and teaches courses in South African and African history, as well as sport and African studies. He is the author of Laduma! Soccer, Politics, and Society in South Africa (University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2004).

Christopher M. Annear (PhD, Anthropology, 2010) is an environmental and symbolic anthropologist with an active program of field research in Africa. His doctoral research focuses on reciprocal relationships between an ethnically heterogeneous population and an ecologically dynamic fishery in South-Central Africa. He is particularly interested in questions pertaining to how human communities adapt to variable ecological environments, and the relative effectiveness of development, management, and legislation of these areas. He has also recently begun new fieldwork, studying changes in social and material funerary institutions in Zambia, including a consideration of funeral insurance networks as conduits for remote sensing-informed agricultural insurance for small-scale farmers.

Alexa Aulie Bantayehu (MA, International Education, 2010). Alexa’s research and interest focused on street children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She and her husband, Getinet, live in Washington, DC. However, they frequently go back to Ethiopia, and to Mexico. Alexa can be reached at

Ibrahim Bashir (PhD, History, 1983) is now director of studies at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Nigeria. He was in Boston recently to develop a linkage program with the BU School of Management.

Belete Bizuneh (PhD, History, 2008) has joined the Department of History at Addis Ababa University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Alfredo Burlando (PhD, Economics, 2010) successfully defended his dissertation, “The Work and Health in Africa,” and has joined the economics department at the University of Oregon. Alfredo and Melissa Graboyes, his wife, are the proud parents of recently born Silvia, who was born on August 22, at 8:10 p.m. She weighed 7.7 lbs, measured 20 inches, and is in excellent health.

Carrie Cafaro (MPH, International Health, 2008) is a health systems management and quality improvement specialist in Lesotho for Lesotho-Boston Health Alliance.

Jamie Clearfield (EdM, International Educational Development, 2009) is transitioning to a new position with Teach a Man to Fish in Uganda. You can keep up-to-date on her work on

Barbara Cooper (PhD, History, 1992) teaches at Rutgers University, is director of the African studies program, and author of Evangelical Christians in the Muslim Sahel. For this book, she received the 2006 Melville J. Herskovits Prize for the Best Book in African Studies from the African Studies Association.

Tim Docking (PhD, Political Science, 1999) is senior advisor to the chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Prior to joining MCC, Tim was a White House Fellow, and before that he worked for three years as an African affairs specialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Tanya DeWolfe (MA, International Education Development, 2008) works with secondary-level educational policies regarding orphans and other vulnerable children in the province of Manicaland in Zimbabwe, as well as with schools on youth empowerment programs.

Kevin Dunn (PhD, Political Science, 2000) is an associate professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. His monograph, Imagining the Congo, was published by Palgrave in 2003. He has also co-edited three books: Africa’s Challenge to International Relations Theory (with Timothy M. Shaw, 2001), Identity and Global Politics (with Patricia Goff, 2004), and African Guerrillas (with Morten Boas, 2007). He has two daughters who bring him much joy.

Anita Fabos (PhD, Anthropology, 1999) is teaching in the Department of Anthropology at the American University in Cairo. She has received funding for research on the cultural aspects of Egyptian nationalism and how these pertain to Egyptian immigration and refugee policy. Anita is also involved in a refugee studies program starting up at AUC.

Ama Baidu Forson (MA, Economics, 2007) is currently in Philadelphia working for an international company that focuses on economic and financial analysis in Africa.

Heidi Gengenbach attended BU and was active in the African Studies Center before completing her PhD dissertation at the University of Minnesota on history and memory among Mozambican women. The thesis won the Gutenberg-e prize of the American Historical Association and was published as an electronic book titled Binding Memories: Women as Makers and Tellers of History in Magude, Mozambique by Columbia University Press in 2005.

Erik Gilbert (PhD, History, 1997) is now a professor of history at Arkansas State. His dissertation was published as Dhows and the Colonial Economy of Zanzibar (2004). Erik also published, with co-author and ASC alum Jonathan Reynolds (’95), Africa in World History (2004) and Trading Tastes: Commodity and Cultural Exchange to 1750 (2006). A second edition of Africa in World History was released with a 2007 copyright. A Chinese translation of the first edition of Africa in World History was also released.

Melissa Graboyes (PhD, History, 2010) successfully defended her dissertation titled “Surveying the ‘Pathological Museum’: A History of Medical Research and Ethics in East Africa, 1940–1965.” Melissa has relocated to Eugene, Oregon, where she has been appointed a faculty fellow at the University of Oregon. Beginning in 2011, she has been teaching courses in the Department of History and the African Studies Program related to the history of medicine, public health, medical ethics, and African history. Melissa and her husband, Alfredo Burlando, are the proud parents of Silvia, born on August 22 at 8:10 p.m. She weighed 7.7 lb, measured 20 inches, and both mother and daughter are in excellent health.

Nancy J. Hafkin (PhD, History, 1974) has retired from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and settled in the greater Boston area. The Association for Progressive Communication (APC) has announced the Hafkin Prize to honor her work as a pioneer in the area of networking, development information, and electronic communications in Africa over the course of her 23-year career.

Gwyn Hainsworth, (EdM, International Educational Development, 1995) currently works as a senior advisor for Pathfinder International, where she provides technical and strategic direction for their global youth portfolio. Gwyn spends roughly 50 percent of her time overseas, usually in sub-Saharan African countries, providing technical assistance to Pathfinder programs. Currently, she works in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Mozambique.

Simon Heck (PhD, Anthropology, 1997) and his wife, Beth Anne Pratt (PhD, Anthropology, 2003) recently moved to Kampala, Uganda, with their three children. Simon has taken the position of Deputy Manager of the International Potato Center’s (CIP) Sweet Potato for Profit and Health initiative, a 10-year, multi-stakeholder program targeting malnutrition, food security and market access across 17 African countries. CIP is part of the CGIAR Consortium. Beth is a consultant and partner with Global Health Insights, a specialist research and consulting cooperative with an emphasis on access to health services and technologies in developing countries.

Tom Herlehy (PhD, History, 1985) reports with pleasure that he has joined the CARANA Corporation is now based in Accra, Ghana, with a regional office in Dakar, Senegal. This move results from CARANA’s winning of a $40 million contract with the USAID Ghana Mission for phase 2 of the West African Trade Hub. Tom looks forward to leading this export promotion project spanning most of West Africa. He can be contacted through the CARANA Corporation offices in Arlington, Virginia. He welcomes hearing from fellow BU ASC alumni who pass through the area and can be reached at (

Heather Hoag (PhD, History, 2003) is an assistant professor of African history at the University of San Francisco. She is also the director of African studies and is involved in developing USF’s international studies and environmental studies programs. She specializes in environmental history with an emphasis in water and economic development. Her work on hydropower development has been published in a number of journals and in African Water Histories: Transdisciplinary Discourses (North-West University, 2005).

Stacy E. Holden (PhD, History, 2005) is an assistant professor of Islamic Civilization in the history department at Purdue University. While a grad student at Boston University, she had the opportunity to work and study in Mali, Mauritania, Tunisia, and Egypt. Her research interests, however, led her to Morocco, where she traced foodways in Fez in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is now working on a manuscript titled The Environment of Power: Famine and Authority in Modern Morocco. Professor Holden has published articles and commentaries on not only the history of Morocco, but also the present-day political situations in Mauritania, Iran, and Iraq.

Whitney Huss (EdM, International Educational Development, 2008) is working in Los Angeles for Boston University. Her area of academic specialization was French-speaking Africa and development communication. Whitney would be happy to have students contact her for information regarding research, internships, and conferences, or to share her many contacts in Burkina Faso and Niger.

Israel Katoke (PhD, History, 1969) visited the African Studies Center for the first time in many years recently and shared the news that he is vice chancellor of the new University of Bukoba in Tanzania, which he is helping to develop.

Emmanuel Konde (PhD, History, 1991) is chair of the department of history at Knoxville College in Tennessee.

Christopher LaMonica (MA, International Relations, 1993; PhD, Political Science, 2001) currently teaches comparative politics, African politics, and international relations at the United States Coast Guard Academy.

Ron Lamothe (PhD, History, 2010) is currently a visiting assistant professor at Boston College, teaching courses in African history. His dissertation, “Slaves of Fortune: Sudanese Soldiers and the River War,” is a social history of Sudanese soldiers in the Egyptian Army, a study that uses the 1896–1898 Nile Campaign to explore questions of slave/soldier identity and social condition; daily life and conditions of service; as well as the roles, both military and otherwise, that Sudanese soldiers and their wives occupied during the campaign. He is also a documentary filmmaker, having most recently produced The Political Dr. Seuss (2004) and The Call of the Wild (2007), both of which have been broadcast nationwide on PBS.

Julie Livingston (MA, History, 1993) is an asociate professor of  history and also teaches in the Institute of Health at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her office is across the hall from that of Barbara Cooper (’92).

Jane Jackson Martin (PhD, History, 1968, and former outreach coordinator) has purchased her first home in a small town in Pennsylvania. Although Jane is retired from the African-American Institute, she is still busy working with the African art collection at Scranton’s Everhart Museum, tutoring English, playing Bach on her grand piano, and traveling with friends.

Akin Ogundiran (PhD, Archaeology, 2000) is an associate professor of history and director of African-new world studies at Florida International University. He is an archaeologist and a cultural historian who has conducted research in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the United States. He is currently researching Oyo imperialism in the Bight of Benin and Yoruba culture in the Atlantic world. His research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Science Foundation-supported programs, among others. Author of several publications, his latest book (co-edited with Toyin Falola) is Archaeology of Atlantic Africa and the African Diaspora (Indiana University Press, 2007). He is the recipient of 2006 University of Texas Africanist Award for Research Excellence.

William Oweke Ojwang (PhD, Biology, 2006) is a senior research officer with the Kenja Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) based at Kisumu City, Kenya. He coordinates research activities in Lake Turkana, conducts research (fish biology and ecology) in Lake Victoria, and leads an environmental awareness program in the Kenyan portion of Lake Victoria.

Jeanne Penvenne (PhD, History, 1982) is associate professor of history and core faculty in international relations, women’s studies, and Africa in the new world studies at Tufts University. Her book African Workers and Colonial Racism was a finalist for the 1994 Herskovits Award. Her field is urban and labor history of Mozambique and the former Portuguese African colonies. Her current research, “Seeking Gendered Perspectives—Urbanization, Labor Migration and the Cashew-Shellers of Mozambique, 1945–1975,” centers men’s and women’s experiences equally in Southern African urban migration analyses.

Beth Anne Pratt (PhD, Anthropology, 2003) and her husband Simon Heck (PhD, Anthropology, 1997) recently moved to Kampala, Uganda, with their three children. Beth is a consultant and partner with Global Health Insights, a specialist research and consulting cooperative with an emphasis on access to health services and technologies in developing countries. Simon has taken the position of Deputy Manager of the International Potato Center’s (CIP) Sweet Potato for Profit and Health initiative, a 10-year, multi-stakeholder program targeting malnutrition, food security and market access across 17 African countries.

Jonathan Reynolds (PhD, History, 1995) teaches African history at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights and has an active musical career on the side. Jonathan wrote many of the songs and played guitar, bass, or sang on most of the tracks on the 1996 CD Original Sins by Defenders of the Faith.

Sterling Roop (MA, International Relations, 2009; Graduate Certificate in African Studies, 2009) has been working in Zanzibar as an advisor for the International Law and Policy Institute ( Sterling has been conducting election observation and political analysis in Zanzibar, which is disseminated to the Norwegian Embassy and wider diplomatic community in Dar es Salaam. This work provides the diplomatic and donor community with a firsthand account of ongoing election preparations such as voter registration, as well as the local discourse and debate on the current political reconciliation process. The ongoing reconciliation between the two main political parties, CCM and CUF, began last November and is the fourth attempt at reconciliation since multiparty politics returned to Tanzania and Zanzibar in 1992. The elections of 1995, 2000, and 2005 were all plagued by violence, as was the voter registration last fall, before the reconciliation process began. A referendum will be held this summer to decide on the formation of a Government of National Unity, followed by the general elections in October. Sterling and ILPI will continue to follow the reconciliation process, including the implementation of the Unity government after the elections.

Katsuki Sakai (MPH, International Health, 2009) is the Associate Director of Development Operations at the Asian University for Women Support Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Cambridge, MA. She specializes in women’s health and education in South Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. She is also interested in water privatization and the environment of South Africa. She has received the Graduate Certificate from BU African Studies Center (ASC) in 2009 and the Undergraduate Certificate from University of San Francisco African Area Studies in 2006. She was one of the first students to enroll in the BU ASC Language Program in isiZulu when its started in 2007. During her two years with the ASC, she created the isiZulu language website with two other classmates ( She worked as an intern at UNICEF South Africa in 2008 and researched the targeted HIV/AIDS Preventions and Interventions among adolescent girls. She is fluent in English and Japanese and intermediate in isiZulu.

Jennifer Seif (MA, History) has taken up a new post with an NGO in Pretoria, South Africa. She is now working for the IUCN (World Conservation Union) office in Pretoria, managing an independent program called “Fair Trade in Tourism in South Africa.” She hopes to return some day to serious writing on her anthropology dissertation for the University of Chicago.

Michael Sheridan (PhD, Anthropology, 2001) is an assistant professor at Middlebury College in Vermont. He has published in American Anthropologist and the Journal of African History, and his co-edited volume on African sacred groves came out in early 2008. He and his wife Kristina have two children, Gaia and Kieran.

Caroline Smartt (BA, History, 2010) is working as a research analyst for Awhere, Inc., a global development and technology company based in Denver, Colorado.  After studying the history of vector-borne disease in East Africa as a UROP fellow working with Prof. McCann’s Rockefeller-funding research project, Caroline completed her Work for Distinction B.A. thesis on the topic of vector-borne disease (especially malaria) in Africa. Caroline is currently helping with the development of a national malaria risk map for Uganda. Caroline was a Phi Beta Kappa  and Summa Cum Laude graduate of the BU Department of History with a minor in African Studies.  Her advisor was Prof. James McCann.

Marc Sommers (PhD, Anthropology, 1994) is an associate research professor of humanitarian studies at the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a research fellow at Boston University’s African Studies Center. Dr. Sommers won a senior fellowship from the Jennings Randolph (JR) Program for International Peace at the United States Institute of Peace for 20092010. Beginning October 1, he will be based at USIP’s Washington, DC, office for 10 months to write a book currently titled Youth, Popular Culture and Terror Warfare: Insights from Sierra Leone.

Dr. Sommers’ 2005 field research in Sierra Leone revealed the leading role that hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, the movie character Rambo, and reggae musician Bob Marley played in Sierra Leone’s civil war. It also detailed the influence of Tupac Shakur and other popular cultural icons on youth adaptations to postwar life. Drawing on this field data and prior field research in Sierra Leone with Sierra Leonean refugees and with excombatant youth in other contexts, the book promises to shed new light on how Western popular culture icons contribute to the practice of war and how youth customize peaceful responses to it.

Newell M. Stultz (PhD, Political Science, 1965) is professor emeritus of political science at Brown University. A 1955 graduate of Dartmouth College, he received his PhD from Boston University in 1965. He was first appointed at Brown in 1965. He has held appointments at Northwestern University, Rhodes University (South Africa), and the University of South Africa.

His work has focused primarily on comparative politics, specializing in South Africa. His early research focused on different aspects of South African domestic politics and the apartheid issue at the United Nations. Stultz has been a bibliographer of scholarly writings about South Africa.

His teaching fields have included ethnopolitics and higher education, the last topic informed by Stultz’s many years of service in the central administration at Brown.

Stultz took emeritus status in 2003, although he continues to serve the Institute and University in various capacities.

Steven Thomson (PhD, Anthropology, 2006) is associate professor of anthropology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.

Theodore Trefon (PhD, PO, 1988) just published his latest book, “Congo Masquerade: The Political Culture of Aid Inefficiency and Reform Failure” (London & New York: Zed Books, 2011; 153 pp. – ISBN 978 1 84813 837 7 hb / ISBN 978 1 84813 836 0 pb). The book is about the mismanagement, hypocrisy and powerlessness in one of Africa’s most troublesome and volatile states. This scathing study of catastrophic aid inefficiency evaluates the imported templates of reforms, and demonstrates that they have largely been a failure due to the ingrained culture of corruption among the Congolese elite, abetted by the complicity and incompetence of international partners. The book offers a critical examination of why aid is not helping the Congo.

Based in Brussels, Trefon is the founding director of the Belgian Reference Center for Expertise in Central Africa, and currently heads the Contemporary History Section of Belgium’s Royal Museum for Central Africa.

Rick Watson (MA 1970, PhD 1974) taught history, some of which was African, at North Carolina Wesleyan College until retiring in 2007. Since then he has published, under the name R. L. Watson, “Slave Emancipation and Racial Attitudes in Nineteenth-Century South Africa” (Cambridge, 2012).

Doug Wheeler (PhD, History, 1963) is retired from a career in the history department at the University of New Hampshire (1965–2006), but continues teaching history part time at Granite State College in New Hampshire. His book, Angola (1971), is being published in a new Portuguese edition in Lisbon. He is the recipient of two decorations from the Government of Portugal. He has visited Angola twice in recent years, but continues to reside in Durham, NH.

E. Frances White (PhD, History) is dean of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University.