New Course: IR500 Grassroots Finance in African and the Developing World

October 22nd, 2015 in Center News.

New in Spring 2016
Professor Rodima-Taylor
T/R 5:00-6:30 pm

Over two billion people live outside the formal financial sector. Every year, hundreds of billions of dollars are transferred in migrant remittances. This course investigates how finance actually works at the grassroots level in developing economies, often outside of formal banking systems. It offers a comparative and cross-cultural examination of how technology, regulation, and customs affect lending, borrowing, and transferring money. We explore informal financial institutions and their complex relationships with the formal sector, migrant remittances as reshaping identity and belonging, and novel mobile and digital currencies that offer financial access to the unbanked. New technologies and modes of cooperation create the promise of a more equitable and inclusive financial system that supports development and human security.

Spotlight on African Studies: Professor James McCann

October 18th, 2015 in Center News.

Spotlight on African Studies
A new feature of the Weekly Brief begins this week to celebrate the scholarly work and activities of members of our community. If you have suggestions for people or projects that should be highlighted, please email

The Spotlight series begins with James McCann, professor of History, former director and current associate director of the African Studies Center. Click here for more.

Get Involved: Global Health Ideas Repository

October 8th, 2015 in Center News.

Get involved and share your ideas! GHIR is a new forum that connects educators, innovators and students from a various disciplines interested in tackling global health challenges from an engineering perspective. Submit a challenge TODAY.

2015 University Lecture: Prof. James McCann “Sacred Waters: Historical Ecology, Power, and the Soul of the Blue Nile”

October 5th, 2015 in Center News.

Monday, November 2, 7 pm

Tsai Performance Center

Join us as Professor James McCann, professor of history and associate director of African Studies Center (past director), delivers the annual University Lecture at Tsai Performance Center. Admission is free and open to the public.

Fall Foreign Language Fair, Oct 28, 5-7 pm

October 2nd, 2015 in Center News.

Apply Today–Swahili & Spice: Study Abroad in Zanzibar

September 21st, 2015 in Center News.

Dressed in a caftan and loosely arranged headscarf as she strolls Zanzibar’s Forodhani gardens, Grace Condon is a world away from home. But she is happy and relaxed in this far-flung place, snacking on fresh-grilled corn, horsing around with her little “brother,” and calling “Jambo” (hello) to friends as the sun sinks into the Indian Ocean and fishermen drag their dhows along the beach below. These are the balmy late July days after the rainy season, leading up to the monthlong fast of Ramadan, on Zanzibar, the east African archipelago that has become synonymous with the exotic. More


To find out more about this program, please make an appointment with the program director, Peter Quella at

New Books from African Studies Faculty in Fall 2015

September 16th, 2015 in Center News.

McCann Malaria 2015

James McCann, professor of history and associate director of the African Studies Center at Boston University. He is winner of a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2014 Distinguished Scholar of the American Society of Environmental History. In his latest book he turns his gaze on malaria and its pernicious history. Malaria is an infectious disease like no other: it is a dynamic force of nature and Africa’s most deadly and debilitating malady. James C. McCann tells the story of malaria in human, narrative terms and explains the history and ecology of the disease through the science of landscape change. All malaria is local. Instead of examining the disease at global or continental scale, McCann investigates malaria’s adaptation and persistence in a single region, Ethiopia, over time and at several contrasting sites.



book coverMarc Sommers, a visiting researcher of the Pardee School of Global Studies’ African Studies Center, has a new book available December 1. The Outcast Majority invites policymakers, practitioners, academics, students, and others to think about three commanding contemporary issues—war, development, and youth—in new ways. The starting point is the following irony: while African youth are demographically dominant, many act as if they are members of an outcast minority. The irony directly informs young people’s lives in war-affected Africa, where differences separating the priorities of youth and those of international agencies are especially prominent. More

African Studies Reception with Pictures

September 9th, 2015 in Center News.

The African Studies Center, an affiliated regional center of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, hosted a reception for faculty, students and friends on Sept. 8.

“This is a fantastic turnout, and a wonderful chance for our new students and professors to get to know each other. We’re very pleased,” said Tim Longman, Director of the African Studies Center. “We have a lot to celebrate; we’re entering into the second year of our Title VI grant, and we have a number of exciting events coming up, including a large scholarly conference on African biography. Thanks to all who came out to visit.”

More, with pictures!

Visiting Researcher Dan Connell on América Otherwise, September 7, 2015

September 8th, 2015 in Center News.

Visiting Researcher Dan Connell was interviewed on Eritrean immigrants to Europe. From América Otherwise:

This week, we ask how Great Britain’s reactions to the crisis have been driven by unfounded fears. We speak to sociologist Hannah Jones about her findings in a recent study that links these fears to “tough on immigration” campaigns lead by the British government. Hannah Jones is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, and author of the recent piece, “Public opinion on the refugee crisis is changing fast – and for the better.” [2:10]

We also look into another sending country, Eritrea, a northern African nation where forced military conscription and state repression are causing Eritreans to flee in droves – but not just to Europe and the Middle East. We speak to expert Dan Connell about encountering these migrants in an unlikely place: the southern Mexican town of Tapachula. Dan Connell is a founder of the organization Grassroots International, a Visiting Scholar at Boston University’s African Studies Center. His piece “Eritrean Refugees’ Trek Through the Americas,” was published in this summer’s issue of the Middle East Report. [20:07]

And we bring the attention back to migrants arriving from even closer, revisiting the conditions in El Salvador that continue to cause families to send their children north, toward the United States, to escape escalating violence. We speak to the Guardian’s Jonathan Watts, who recently reported on how a brutal conflict between rival gangs and state security forces is driving El Salvador’s skyrocketing murder rate – and how that’s driving its children from home. [40:10]

Originally aired on WBAI on September 07, 2015. Listen to the full episode here

Print this Poster & Help Us Advertise Our Language Program

August 28th, 2015 in Center News.

ALP Poster Draft 10finalexpBU ALP Poster