:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.

Welcome Addresses:

Nwando Achebe, Editor-in-Chief, JWAH

President Lou Anna Simon (video)

Associate Provost Steven D. Hanson

Gabe Dotto, Director of MSU Press


9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
Title: “Thoughts on West African History and Herstory through the Lenses of West African Art”

Panel 1: Women, Gender, and Sexuality in West Africa
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Chair: Dr. Nwando Achebe, Department of History, Michigan State University

Dr. Andrew Apter, Departments of History and Anthropology, UCLA
Title: “Queer Crossings: Kinship, Gender and Sexuality in Igboland and Carriacou”

Dr. Rudolf P. Gaudio, Purchase College, State University of New York
Title: “Desperate Straights: Nigerian Heterosexuality in Crisis”

Dr. Judith A. Byfield, Department of History, Cornell University
Title: “Marriage in the New Millennium”

Dr. Emily Lynn Osborn, Department of History, University of Chicago
Title: “Gender, Sex and State-Craft in West African History”

12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Akwasi Opong-Fosu MP,  Minister of State at the Presidency, Republic of Ghana
Title: “Beyond Ebola: Leadership Matters in Shaping the Future”

Panel 2: History, Health, Security and Contemporary Media in West Africa

1: 45 p.m.-3:15 p.m.

Chair: Dr. Folu Ogundimu, School of Journalism, Michigan State University

Dr. Alhaji U. N’jai, University of Wisconsin-Madison & University of Sierra Leone
Title: “Ebola in West Africa: Historical Context on the Deadly Outbreak and Underlying Causative Factors in the Region”

Dr. Donna A. Patterson, Department of History, Delaware State University
Title: “West Africa and Global Health Security: Ebola and Pharmaceutical Trafficking”

Dr. Adesoji Adelaja, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University
Title: “The Socio-Economic Roots of Insecurity: Learning from the MENA Region in Developing a More Comprehensive Security Strategy for Nigeria”

Dr. Pita Agbese, Department of Political Science, University of Northern Iowa
Title: “The New Dimensions of Security Threats in West Africa

Panel 3: West African Oralities and Oral History

3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Chair: Dr. Pero Dagbovie, Department of History, Michigan State University

Dr. Gracia Clark, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University-Bloomington
Title: “Learning from and Teaching with Oral Narratives”

Dr. Joe Lunn, Department of Social Science, University of Michigan-Dearborn
Title: “Marching to a Distant Drummer: Oral Histories of First World War Senegalese Veterans’ Descendants”

Dr. Abena P. A. Busia, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
Title: “Orature and Feminist History-making: Lessons from ‘Women Writing Africa’”

Dr. Stephan Miescher, Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara
Title: “Ghana’s Electric Dreams: Oral Histories of the Volta River Project”


Material Effects Reception, Eli and Edyth Broad Museum, MSU
:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m

This special reception includes light refreshments and gallery tour of “Material Effects: Contemporary Art from West Africa and the Diaspora.” At 6:00pm, curatorial remarks and exhibition tour.



:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Welcome Addresses:

Nwando Achebe, Editor-in-Chief, JWAH

Pero Dagbovie, Associate Dean in the Graduate School

Jaime Monson, Director of African Studies


10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Nigerian Minister of Solid Minerals, former Nigerian Federal Minister of Education, former Vice President of World Bank’s Africa Division, and founder of the “Bring Back Our Girls” Campaign
Title: “Our Girls, Our Future”

Panel 4: West African and Diasporic Religions

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

Chair: Dr. Mara Leichtman, Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University

Dr. Robert Baum, African and African American Studies, Dartmouth College
Title: “Prophetism in West African History”

Dr. Edward Curtis, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Title: “West African Islam and the Black Muslim Diaspora”

Dr. Cheikh Babou, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania
Title: “Globalizing African Islam from Below: West African Sufi Masters in the US”

Dr. Shobana Shankar, Department of History, Stony Brook University
Title: “West Africa’s Impact on Global Missionary Movements”

Panel 5: West African Narratives of Slavery and the Slave Trades

2:15 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

Chair: Dr. Walter Hawthorne, Department of History, Michigan State University

Dr. Trevor Getz, Department of History, San Francisco State University
Title: “The Claims Wives Made: the entanglement of slavery and marriage in post-emancipation Gold Coast, 1874-Present”

Dr. Ugo Nwokeji, African American Studies & African Diaspora Studies, UC Berkeley
Title: “Advancing the Cultural Frontiers of Slavery and the Slave Trade in West African Historiography

Dr. Olatunji Ojo, Department of History, Brock University
Title:“Manuelita: A Slave Ship in Yoruba History”

Panel 6: Traditional Archives and New Media

4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Chair: Dr. Dean Rehberger, MATRIX & Department of History, Michigan State University

Dr. Deborah Mack, National African American Museum of History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
Title: “Collaborative Research and Public Value: Museums and Creating Sustainable Futures”

Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Title: “New Media to the Rescue in African Diaspora Community centered Research? Potential and Challenges”

Mr. Jeff Ajueshi, Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Abuja, Nigeria
Title: “Culture Heritage Archiving and Digitization”

Dr. Nii O. Quarcoopome, Detroit Institute of Arts
Title: “Artists ‘Ledger Books’: An Alternative Archive for Historians of African Art”

Performance by Michigan State University’s African Students Union
:45 p.m.-6:15 p.m

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