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ASA Presidential Fellows Program

The African Studies Association (ASA), is pleased to announce the ASA Presidential Fellows Program. Information on how to nominate a candidate for this program can be found below.

The ASA recognizes that it is futile to effectively study Africa and meaningfully engage important issues affecting the African continent, without also meaningfully engaging the scholars and practitioners on the ground who are working against considerable odds to bring about change. These actors generate much of the empirical data that goes into informing reports and studies which are published and circulated in the “global north,” however the vast majority of them are unable to access resources, networks and capacity-building opportunities beyond their borders. 

The ASA Presidential Fellows Program is responding to this gap by continuing its tradition of providing opportunities for scholars and practitioners with a scholarly interest in Africa to travel  to attend the ASA Annual Meeting, visit institutions of higher learning in the United States, engage with academics working on Africa-related issues, take courses and to explore opportunities for collaborative ventures.

This year the ASA will fund approximately five scholars from the following categories of ASA Presidential Fellows:

  • 3 Fellows will be sponsored under the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)/ASA Presidential Fellows Program.The selection process for this category will be managed by the African Humanities Program of the ACLS
    To see the ACLS/ASA Fellows please go to this page: 2014 ACLS/ASA Presidential Fellows
  • ASA member contribution sponsored Fellowship(s)
  • Hormuud Telecomunications sponsored Fellowship

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be based in a higher education institution or an organization on the African continent, and should be able to demonstrate a scholarly commitment to work on issues affecting Africa. 

  • All applicants must be nominated by a current ASA member. If you are an applicant interested in the Program, you may consult the ASA's Membership Directory, to find and contact an ASA member who can nominate you. Please note that the Membership Directory is only available to members of the African Studies Association. Please visit the ASA's Membership Page, to obtain information about becoming a member of the ASA.

  • The nominating member must be willing to host and mentor the Fellow during the conference.  Hosting and mentoring is understood as the following:
  1. Ensuring that the grant recipient attends as many conference-related as possible.
  2. Support the grant recipient with networking during the conference.
  3. Arrange for a visit by the scholar to one or more institutions, both for the purpose of presenting their research, and forming networks (travel will be arranged by the host institution, unless otherwise agreed).
  • For candidates in academia, preference will be given to junior scholars- which we understand as recent post-docs (within 5-10 years of completion).

  • For practitioner candidates, the nominating member must be able to demonstrate in their nomination letter how participating in the ASA Presidential Fellows Program will positively impact the candidates work/engagement.
  • While applicants may come from multidisciplinary backgrounds, preference will be given to applicants with demonstrable scholarly and/or activist contributions to development initiatives in Africa.

  • Eligible women applicants are encouraged to apply.


To Apply

The deadline to apply for the 2015 ASA Presidential Fellows Program is June 1, 2015. Successful candidates will be assigned to one of the four Fellowship categories outlined above, and notified accordingly. If you would like to nominate an individual for consideration for the 2015 Presidential Fellows Program, please complete this form.


 2014 Presidential Fellows

Grace Ahingula Musila teaches at the English Department, Stellenbosch University. She holds a Phd in African Literature; and her research interests include East and Southern African literatures, popular culture and gender studies. She has variously published journal articles and chapters on these areas. She has also co-edited [with James Ogude and Dina Ligaga] an essay collection titled Rethinking Eastern African Literary and Intellectual Landscapes (Africa World Press, 2012). She is currently working on a monograph on the 1988 murder of British tourist Julie Ward at the Maasai Game Reserve in Kenya. The book is a multidisciplinary portrait of the multiple strands of ideas and interests that were inscribed on the Julie Ward murder and what these reveal about cultural productions of truth, knowledge and social imaginaries in Kenya and Britain. At the core of the study is the question: why would the death of a British tourist in the famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve be the subject of such strong contestations of ideas and multiple truths? Building on existing scholarship on African history, narrative and postcolonial studies, the book reads the Julie Ward murder and its attendant discourses as offering insightful windows into the journeys of ideas, and how these traverse the porous spatio-temporal boundaries in the relationship between Kenya – Britain, and by extension, Africa and the Global North.

Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Ibadan. His thesis is on Political Clientelism and Rural Development in Selected Communities in Ibadan, Nigeria. He has interest in scholarly African issues related to the Sociological fields of Development, Cultural, Rural, Political, Medical and Urban studies. He has won the University of Ibadan Postgraduate School Award for scholarly publication, 2007, IFRA (French Institute for Research in Africa) Research Fellowship 2009 and American Council of Learned Societies-African Humanities Programme Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2010. He is currently a lecturer in Sociology at Nigeria’s Premier University; the University of Ibadan, Ibadan. Dr. Omobowale served on the Board of Editors of the International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest published in March 2009 by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. He has published articles in renowned journals such as Africa Spectrum, African Identities, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Revista de Economia-Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Modern African Studies, Africa, Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, International Journal of Sociology, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Current Sociology and the Canadian Journal of Sociology. Dr. Omobowale guest edited International Journal of Sociology’s edition titled African Social Science in the Global Academy (Vol. 43 No. 1 pp 3-90) and he is also the author of The Tokunbo Phenomenon and the Second-hand Economy in Nigeria (Oxford: Peter Lang Publishing; 2013).

Joanna Boampong is a Lecturer at the Department of Modern Languages, University of Ghana, Legon.  She holds a PhD in Spanish from the University of Southern California.  Her research interests include Hispanophone and Afrohispanic Studies, Postcolonial Theory and Literature, Feminist Theory and Literature, Cultural Studies.  She is editor of In and Out of Africa: Exploring Afro-Hispanic, Luso-Brazilian and Latin-American Connections. Her recent research seeks to introduce Hispanophone perspectives into critical debates on African Literatures and undertakes comparative analyses of works from Anglophone, Francophone and Hispanophone literary traditions.

Peace Medie is a Research Fellow at is a research fellow in the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) at the University of Ghana. Her research and teaching interests include international relations, gender and international security, and civilian protection.  Dr. Medie’s ongoing research project studies how international organizations and women’s movements influence states’ enforcement of gender-based violence laws. In 2010 and 2011, she conducted over 150 interviews in Liberia with a range of state and non-state actors for this study. Her published works include Fighting Gender-Based Violence: The Women’s Movement and the Enforcement of Rape Law in Liberia African Affairs, 112 (448):377-397 (July 2013). Combating Post-Conflict Gender-Based Violence: An Analysis of the Liberian and Sierra Leonean Governments’ Efforts to Address the Problem. In Germain, T. & Dewey, S. (Eds.), Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: International Law, Local Responses. Sterling, VA: Kumarian (July 2012).  

Prisca Odero holds a PhD in African Studies from the University of the Free State, South Africa, with specialization in Agricultural Economics. She has wide work experience in agricultural, natural resources management, rural development and humanitarian emergency fields where she designed, monitored and evaluated projects, conducted baseline surveys and conducted research in various aspects of rural development in Southern and Eastern Africa. At present she is Field Programme Support and Monitoring Officer for the Southern Africa Region at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations where she operationally oversees and monitors FAO field operations and programmes in 16 countries (namely Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Eritrea, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). This entails tracking progress in formulation, implementation and closure of projects and offering advice on FAO standards and procedures.  Given her backgrounds and expertise in academic research, policy and field-based practice Dr. Odero’s work contributes to the development and implementation of livelihood strategies, and also deals with food security-related issues in vulnerable contexts which, if not addressed could lead to conflict.  Her work is important not only for its focus on the micro-macro linkages to livelihood strategies in agricultural households across many African countries, but is also cutting-edge in the ways she is beginning to make the connections between these strategies, peace and development on the continent.

Walelign Tadesse Robele is an Ethiopian Anthropologist. He holds PhD in Social Anthropology from Andhra University, India. Dr. Walelign co-founded anthropology department at Hawssa University. He has an extensive experience in directing collaborative research and coordinating academic programs.  Walelign also has broad ethnographic fieldwork experience and conducted researches on ethnicity, identity and conflict issues in Southern Ethiopia. He is an expert in qualitative studies, participatory development, community conversations, gender and governance. Walelign authored a book “Change and Continuity in Traditional System of Local Governance”. He also published ethnographic materials and contributed book chapters in collaborative researches with regional government and international organizations like UNICEF and UNDP.  He is a member of ALTER (Alternative Carbon Investments in Ecosystems for Poverty Alleviation), a three year international research initiative with researchers from UK, Ethiopia and Uganda. He presented several papers in national and international workshops and conferences. Currently, he is a post-doctoral fellow at Washington State University, working on displacement, resettlement and land grabbing issues.

Shariff Osman is the Deputy Director of the Department of the International Cooperation and Alumni Affairs and Assistant professor of Development Studies at Mogadishu University. He has been with Mogadishu University since 2000, has held several positions including the Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science and the Co-founder/Director of the Institute for Somali Studies. He has a Masters of Political Science from Poona University, Poona, India a Masters of Environmental Studies from York University, Toronto, Canada; and a PhD in Cultural Studies, Ohio University, Athens. Professor Osman’s areas of interest include; critical development studies, post conflict development and environment; post-colonial theory in politics and culture, African urban-youth culture, social/environmental youth migration, critical theory in social-political development, environmental & cultural literary studies, nature and environment in social and political thought. 

2013 Presidential Fellows

Komlan Agbedahin is a national of Togo (West Africa). He studied at the University of Lomé (Togo) where he earned an honors degree and a master’s degree in Sociology. He also has a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CEPACS) at the University of Ibadan (Nigeria) on a DAAD scholarship. At the beginning of his research toward a PhD in 2009, he spent four months at Jacobs University and Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (Germany) as a DAAD visiting fellow. He was awarded a PhD in sociology at Rhodes University (South Africa) in 2012 after completing a thesis which focused on the agency of Liberian young veterans (former child-soldiers). He is presently an AHP/ACLS postdoctoral research fellow at Rhodes University in the Department of Sociology. He also worked with UNHCR in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as protection and field officer in 2008. After the January 2010 Earthquake, he worked in Haiti under the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) with the Joint Operations and Tasking Centre (JOTC) as monitoring and reporting officer. 

Mathayo Bernard Ndomondo works as a Lecturer in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His research interests include the intersection between music, gender, religion, and state agencies in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Tanzania; music and politics; music and migration; music, sexuality and gender; music for empowerment of children and young people; and popular culture. His theoretical interests include music and the body; music, health and healing; music and gender; postcolonialism and nationalism, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism; postmodernism; music and migration; and popular culture. Mathayo received his PhD (in Ethnomusicology) from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010. 

Stella Nyanzi is a medical anthropologist working as a Research Fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), and a Researcher in the Law, Gender and Sexuality Research Project of the School of Law at Makerere University. Since 1997, she has explored the intersections between culture, health and sexuality in rural and urban Uganda. Other fieldwork sites include Tanzania and The Gambia. Her current research projects are located at the nexus between (homo)sexualities, religion, cultures and law in the Ugandan state. 

2012 Presidential Fellows

Gbemisola Adeoti holds a PhD in English from the University of Ibadan. He is a Professor in the English Department of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He is the author of Naked Soles (poems), Voices Offstage: Nigerian Dramatists on Drama and Politics, Aesthetics of Adaptation in Contemporary Nigerian Drama, Co-editor (with Bjorn Beckman) of Intellectuals and African Development: Pretension and Resistance in African Politics and Editor of Muse and Mimesis: Critical Perspectives on Ahmed Yerima’s Drama.

Jemima Asabea Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, University of Ghana, Legon. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Ghana. Her areas of research interest are politeness in African languages and African varieties of English, cross-cultural pragmatics, speech acts, the codification of English in Ghana and language and gender in Africa. She teaches courses in Phonetics and Phonology of English, Varieties and Functions of English, Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics and Sociolinguistics.

Amidou Jean-Baptiste Sourou, from Benin Republic, is Professor of Communications at Saint Augustine University of Tanzania in Mwanza. He also teaches Rituals and Communications at the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He holds a PHD in Social Communications and Social Sciences from the Gregorian University. He has published several books about African cultural, social and religious life, among them:  Africa: Ancient Rituals, New Celebrations, How Africans Celebrate their Rituals Today (Ed. Menaibuc, Paris, France).

2011 Presidential Fellows

Dr. Leketi Makalela, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Some of Dr. Makalela's most recent work considers the study of English and language development in South Africa, particularly among speakers with indigenous African language backgrounds, Black South African English (BSAE). His work will reveal fresh insights on the study of English and the development of language in Africa. Dr. Makalela received his PhD from Michigan State University.

Dr. Susan Nalugwa Kiguli of Makerere University, Uganda. Dr. Kiguli studies the practice of oral poetry and popular song as understood by  performers in post-apartheid South Africa and post-civil war Uganda. Her work suggests that popular song and oral poetry are reflections of social, cultural and political issues which influence the societies they are produced in. Dr. Kiguli received her PhD in English from the University of Leeds.

2010 Presidential Fellows

Dr. Dominic Dipio, senior lecturer in literature at Makerere University, Uganda. Dr. Dipio has degrees in education and African literature, with a PhD in cinema studies. Her research examines how issues related to gender and the position of women in African communities are represented by filmmakers, as part of the conscientization agenda, and what this reveals about gender relations in African communities.

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