The ASA secretariat is excited to welcome the 2014 Presidential Fellows and Hormuud Scholar, to the Annual Meeting.

The Presidential Fellowship Program was instituted in 2010, with the objective of inviting outstanding Africa-based scholars to participate in the ASA Annual Meeting and spend time at African Studies centers and programs in the United States. For the past four years, the ASA has worked with the African Humanities Program of the American Council of Learned Societies to identify scholars from among its fellows and to fund their visits to the ASA meeting. We thank institutions that have co-hosted these visits, some of which include Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Indiana University- Bloomington, and the University of Georgia.

This year, we are especially pleased to announce that the ASA has expanded its Presidential Fellowship program to include Fellows funded by sponsor organizations and member contributions. Thanks to the generous support of our members, and sponsorship from Cambridge University Press, the African Studies Association is welcoming three additional Presidential Fellows to the meeting. These Fellows have been nominated by members of the ASA. We thank all of our members who submitted nominations this year, and encourage ASA Presidential Fellowship nominations from our other members in the future.

In addition to participating at the Annual Meeting, our 2014 Fellows under this new initiative, Peace Medie, Prisca Odero, and Walelign Tadesse Robele will visit the institutions of the ASA members they were nominated by. These institutions are, University of Delaware, the Social Science Research Council and Smith College. The ASA thanks the institutions, as well as the nominators, Gretchen Bauer, Cyril Obi, and Elliot Fratkin for their support, as we expand our Presidential Fellowship Program.

 The 2014 Presidential Fellows are:

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. She will present her paper, Sex, Gender, and the ‘Criminal State’ in the Julie Ward murder in Kenya in panel II-N-1 at the conference.

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 the 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). He will present his paper, The Context of Imported Second-Hand Economy in Southwestern Nigeria on panel X-S-1 at the conference. 

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. She will present her paper, Rethinking Gender Violence in the Hispanophone Novel: The Curious Case of Ada, the Militia Woman in panel VI-L-2 at the conference.




Peace Medie is a Research Fellow at 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). She will present her paper, From Global to Local: International Organizations and the Enforcement of Gender-Based Violence Laws on panel X-E-1 at the conference.


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. She will present her paper, Sources and Role of Social Capital in Smallholder Agriculture Production: The Value of Membership of Community Groups to Zimbabwe Rural Livelihoods on panel IX-Q-1 at the conference.

Walelign Tadesse Robele
is an Ethiopian Anthropologist. He holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from Andhra University, India. Dr. Walelign co-founded the anthropology department at Hawssa University. He has extensive experience in directing collaborative research and coordinating academic programs.  Walelign also has broad ethnographic fieldwork experience and has conducted research on ethnicity, identity and conflict issues in Southern Ethiopia. He is an expert in qualitative studies, participatory development, community conversations, gender and governance. Walelign is the author of a book which is entitled, Change and Continuity in Traditional System of Local Governance. He has also published ethnographic material and contributed book chapters in collaborative research projects 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 has 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. He will present his paper Discourses in Displacement and Resettlement in Ethiopia: Gambela Villegization on panel V-H-1 at the conference.


Last but not least, the ASA secretariat is excited to introduce the association’s first ever Hormuud Scholar. The Hormuud scholarship and lecture series are being inaugurated in 2014, with a generous grant from Hormuud Telecom Somalia. The scholarship grant supports 1 fellow each year, providing them with the opportunity to spend time at a US institution for the purpose of presenting their research and forming networks. This visit culminates at the Annual Meeting of the ASA.

The 2014 Hormuud Scholar is Dr. Sharif Osman.

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.