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African Studies

The Concordia African Studies Working Group (CASWG) brings together faculty and graduate students in the Departments of Anthropology, History, and Political Science. The working group addresses the intertwining of social, economic, and political processes in the ongoing transformation of the African continent. Specific topics are diverse, including state interventions in the name of development; the historical mobilization of transnational networks of liberation movements; cultural shifts associated with urbanization, migration, economic, and technological changes; the dynamics of electoral and party politics; and the politics of international criminal courts, among others. The group takes a broad understanding of politics and examines it at varied scales, ranging from small-scale social groups to transnational networks and regional institutions.


Jesse Arseneault, Department of English

Julie Archambault, Department of Anthropology

Nicole De Silva, Department of Political Science

Andrew Ivaska, Department of History

Amy Poteete, Department of Political Science

Leander Schneider, Department of Political Science

Antwi Boasiako, Department of Political Science

Hone Mandefro Belaye, Ph.D. Student,  Department of Sociology and Anthropology (Student Coordinator) 

Key Questions

1.  How can interdisciplinary approaches contribute to understanding social, economic, and political changes in Africa?

2.  How can we best operationalize and combine different research methods to study questions relating Africa?

3.  How are local, national, international, transnational, and global dynamics interacting to shape African societies?

4.  How are local, national, international, transnational, and global dynamics interacting to shape African societies?

5.  How are Africans generating, accommodating, and resisting sources of social, economic, and political change?

6.  What, if anything, is distinctive about Africa?

7.  What might African societies look like in the future?

Group Members

Jesse Arseneault, Department of English, South African literature and cultural studies, queer theory, animal studies, posthumanism, and postcolonial theory

Julie Archambault, Department of Anthropology, technology and culture, youth culture, Mozambique

Nicole De Silva, Department of Political Science, global and regional human rights institutions, with a focus on Africa

Andrew Ivaska, Department of History, urban cultural history, leftwing political movements, Africa in a 'global 1960s', Tanzania

Oceane Jasor, Department of Anthropology, women’s studies, African diasporas, South Africa

Amy Poteete, Department of Political Science, politics of natural resources, politics of resource-based economic growth, electoral and party politics, Botswana, Senegal

Leander Schneider, Department of Political Science, development projects and developmentalism, Chinese migrant communities, Tanzania


The working group meets regularly to workshop proposals, papers, and chapters written by Concordia graduate students and faculty. Graduate training and faculty collaboration and exchange across the disciplines are top on our agenda. At our meetings, the group will serve as a sounding board for participating students as they develop their proposals, prepare for field research, and write up their theses through cross-disciplinary conversations among students and faculty. We also organize public events, including public lectures, roundtables, workshops, and conferences.

Those interested in attending any of the below events can be in touch with

Fall Events

Michael Degani, Johns Hopkins University

The Flickering Torch: Blackouts and Phatic Communication in Tanzania

Friday, September 20, 2019
3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Room H-1120
Henri F. Hall Building
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.

Download the poster

Rethinking Africa’s Urban Future(s) Conference

Keynote speaker:
Anne-Maria Makhulu 
Duke University

See the event listing


South Africa After the Rainbow: Aspiration, Ambition, And Social Mobility

November 14, 2019
5 – 7 p.m. H-1220
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W

*Open to the Public*
Download the poster

Winter events TBA

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