Into Africa

Three Fulbright Scholars, three countries, three perspectives on a changing region

For many decades, Boston University’s African Studies Center (ASC) has produced top scholars in the field. Now part of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, the ASC trains students in multiple African languages and academic disciplines. In the last two years, eleven BU doctoral students have conducted field research in Africa through the ASC, with eight of them funded by Fulbright or Fulbright-Hays grants. This report introduces three of these student researchers who traveled to three southern African countries in 2015.

Art historian and curator Lynne Cooney settled in Johannesburg to study post-apartheid art at a major urban museum. In tiny Lesotho, environmental historian Christopher Conz probed the history of the exchange of information on land use. And cultural historian Lilly Havstad lived in the Mozambican capital Maputo to research foodways and the colonial legacy. Their combined inquiries shed light on patterns of growth and change in parts of a vast and complex continent that remains often misrepresented and misunderstood.

The writer’s travel for these stories was supported in large part by the BU African Studies Center, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s International and Foreign Language Education Programs.



  1. I am truly inspired by all your efforts. I realize that there are unfairness cannot be exterminated , like difference between contries and difference between status even in the same society. Neverthless, I truly believe that is what we should work for. :)

  2. It is fascinating to see these succeful people and doing a great job which they like. Thanks Lara for sharing this promising article that eventually will bring equality between countries.

  3. Like the others, I applaud the efforts of these research students and congratulate them for their efforts in opening up Africa to BU and beyond. Obviously, these reports cover just a tiny part of the population and ongoing life and activities of this great continent and would like to recommend reading beyond cultural programs and activities into ongoing socio-economic and technological developments across the Fifty-four (54) independent countries with emphasis on the sub-Sahara region. This will help provide a bit of a balanced projection whenever the continent comes under the radar view of the reading public and particularly, students and their professors.
    Once again, kudos to the young researchers for writing.

    Helpful links-

  4. While there is no question that we need to reach out to africa and welcome them into the world’s science and economy, I am skeptical of these “research” programs. I think they only serve the researchers (I mean, that’s why they are doing this: to get tenure, get more grants, etc.) and have little to no impact on the people they are studying. In that sense, it’s just another way for everyone else to exploit the people of africa as has been the case for centuries.

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