2012 – 2013 Recipients

Professor Marc Bellamare (Sanford School of Public Policy)

2012 Meeting of the Midwest Group on African Political Economy (MGAPE)

MGAPE is a group of young economists and political scientists – assistant professors, for the most part – who get together once a year to present and discuss their recent work in depth. The group does not have a specific methodological focus: some members use quantitative methods, others use qualitative methods, and some members use both methodologies. As its name indicates, the group is organized around the common theme of African political economy, and past meetings have included presentations on ethnic competition, NGOs, religion, commodity prices, small businesses, vote buying and voting, etc. in countries as diverse as Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, and Uganda.


Professor William Chafe (Department of History)

The American Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle in Comparative Perspective

The Africa Initiative will bring together a dozen historians and social scientists from Duke and form the University of Witwatersrand to discuss the similarities and differences between the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the civil rights movement in America. Both institutions have pioneered in the use of oral history and community studies to highlight the grass roots origins of social protest in both countries. Different sets of scholars will focus on the role of religion, gender, labor unions, and students in fomenting social justice movements. Members of the Duke faculty community and the student body will be invited to join in these discussions, highlighting a whole new comparative approach to the process of social change.


Professor Mary Eubanks, (Nicholas School of the Environment) (Lead Faculty Member), Professor Ellen F. Davis (The Divinity School), Nyuol Tong, (Trinity ’14), and Professor Norman Wirzba, (Divinity School & Nicholas School of the Environment)

Food Security for South Sudan

This proposal requests funds to support a mini-conference at the Duke Divinity School in the 2013 spring semester that will address the issue of food security for small-holder farmers in Africa with focus on the Republic of South Sudan. In the 2013 spring semester we will hold a half-day mini-conference at the Duke Divinity School that will explore how the issue of food security for Africa stands at the intersection between the sciences and the humanities within the Duke community, and between culture, economics, and agriculture in the world at large. Professor Norman Wirzba, noted for his work in the American agrarian movement, will moderate the conference.


Professor Marc Jeuland (Sanford School of Public Policy)

Water & Climate Change in Africa: A Two-Day Workshop

This project supported a two-part workshop on water, health and climate change at Duke during the 2012-13 academic year. The aim of these full-day workshops was to bring together researchers and students from the Duke and broader academic community to engage in a discussion and series of workshop-related activities organized around issues of (1) water, sanitation and health and (2) food security and climate change in Africa. Given that the topics of water, health, food security, and climate change are pivotal to a breadth of interests that cross disciplinary boundaries, the workshops should be of relevance for many ongoing projects and initiatives at Duke, and should contribute to building networks at Duke among scholars broadly interested in Africa and development.

Professor Louise Meintjes (Departments of Music & Cultural Anthropology)

Ethnomusicology Working Group on African Music

At Duke we have a striking confluence this year: six African music scholars. With two more at UNC, we represent specializations in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Guinea, Ghana, Ethiopia, Congo, and Senegal. Our approaches range from an interest in compositional form and improvisation to concerns with the constitution of regimes, digital media practices, HIV/AIDS and histories of conflict, youth, gender, transnationalism, activism, and neoliberalism in relation the idea of tradition. We are variously located on the campus (and in the Triangle) and represent a range of training in disciplinary and subdisciplinary terms. Yet we all consider our work to be centered in sound, predominantly ethnographic, and concerned with complicating analysis of aesthetics. We all work at positioning the arts in relation to African culture, politics, and social justice.

Professor Neil Prose (School of Medicine)

Several Speaking Engagements Featuring Visiting Professor Clare Penn

Dr. Neil Prose has been awarded  an Africa Initiative project to support a visit to Duke by Professor Claire Penn in Spring 2013.  Prose and Penn have worked together on a number of projects related to communication between doctors and patients in South Africa’s multicultural society. Professor Penn will be interacting with the departments of linguistics and anthropology at Duke and with members of the Global Health Institute. She will be speaking at a lecture series sponsored by the Center for African and African American Research. Her topic will be “ Health Communication across Cultures: Some Perspectives from South Africa.


Professor Anne Pusey (Evolutionary Anthropology)

Visualizing the Environment for Conservation

A working group of evolutionary anthropologists, conservation biologists, and filmmakers and outreach experts from the Center for Documentary Studies, will gather to design a new collaborative course, Visualizing the Environment.  Anne Pusey, professor and Chair of Evolutionary Anthropology, and Director of the Jane Goodall Institute Research Center (JGIRC), leads the working group. The course, to be offered in 2013/14, will use JGIRC’s video footage of chimpanzees shot at Gombe National Park, Tanzania, and the issue of chimpanzee conservation as a focal point to explore larger issues of African conservation and human-wildlife conflict, especially in the context of the documentary arts. Students will design films to educate children and adults living around Gombe National Park about chimpanzee conservation, as well as to reach audiences in Tanzanian public schools, American zoos and museums, and even on YouTube. To kick off the project, the working group will host a public lecture on chimpanzee photography in spring, 2013.


Professor David Toole (The Divinity School)

Population, Health, and Environment in Africa: Coordinating Strategies

The funds granted for this proposal helped a group of faculty and staff from DGHI, the Nicholas School, Arts and Sciences, and the Divinity School organize a week-long series of events at Duke in spring 2013 that will explore questions at the intersection of population, health, and environment (PHE). The spring events will focus on Uganda, the fourth fastest growing country in the world, which has been plagued by decades of violence, has been unable to reach even minimal standards for health, and which, along its western edge, contains one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots. The events will feature visiting scholars and practitioners from East Africa (as well as Brazil, in order to create South-South dialogue) and will explore questions concerning the relationship among, and root causes of, the alarming population growth, eroding biodiversity, incessant conflict, and poor health that plague so many countries in Africa. The goals of the week’s events include designing a pilot intervention and drafting an interdisciplinary PHE curriculum that could be fielded at Duke.

Professor Erika Weinthal (Nicholas School of the Environment & Borderwork(s)), Professor M. Giovanna Merli (Sanford School of Public Policy & Duke Global Health Institute), and Professor Claudia Koonz (Department of History & Borderwork(s))

Workshop on Migration between China and Africa  

We will be organizing a workshop (in conjunction with the Borderwork(s) Lab in the Franklin Humanities Institute) on migration between China and Africa. The objective of the workshop is to demystify the Chinese experience and business model in Africa, exemplified in current perceptions of China as the new colonial power, through providing a micro-level perspective of the experiences of Chinese and African migrants and communities. Topics that will be explored include: (1) recruitment patterns of Chinese workers and provisions for educating and employing Africans; (2) the human rights of different categories of sources of labor ranging from African citizens in their countries of origin to Chinese migrants; (3) impact of the Chinese migration experience on individual health outcomes and the impact of rapid infrastructural development on public health for both local residents and Chinese migrants; (4) effects of large amounts of foreign investment in the agricultural sector on both African and Chinese food security; and (5) impacts of migration and urbanization on the natural environment.


Professor Anne Yoder (Department of Biology & The Duke Lemur Center), Professor Charlie Welch (The Duke Lemur Center), and Margaret Brown (The Kenan Institute for Ethics)

Forests, Families, Lemurs & Guitars – Madagascar Symposium

Led by a partnership between the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Duke Lemur Center, we will hold a conference and concert addressing the topic of “Rights and Resources in Madagascar”, on December 3, 2012. The day-long conference will use the specific case of illegal harvesting of precious woods from Madagascar’s rain forests to launch a discussion about the ethical dimensions of biodiversity loss, economic development, environmental justice, and global regulation and trade. Panelists will include scholars and practitioners from Duke and from across the country. Malagasy musician and activist Razia Said will participate in the symposium and, along with her band, will close the program with an evening concert. Bringing together scholarship, activism, and entertainment, the conference and performance will draw public attention to the political, economic, social, and ecological crises in Madagascar; connect the particular crises in Madagascar to broader global challenges, especially in other poor regions of the globe; and educate members of the Duke and Durham community about opportunities for action to alleviate such crises and about ethical challenges that can potentially accompany those actions.

The Africa Initiative│John Hope Franklin Center│ (919) 681-2293 Email: deirdre.white@duke.edu

Duke University