Core Faculty

Clemente Abrokwaa

  • Associate Teaching Professor of African Studies

Phone: (814) 865-5257


Area(s) of Specialization: Science and technology in Africa, Education in Africa, Globalization, African politics, Multiculturalism, Economic development in Africa, Peace and conflict studies

Gabeba Baderoon

  • Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and African Studies

Phone: (814) 865-2372


Area(s) of Specialization: Representations of Islam in Africa, African feminism, South African literature, Race and Sexuality, Slavery in South Africa, Food studies, Visual art in South Africa

Elizabeth Carlson

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science and African Studies

Phone: (814) 865-8425


Area(s) of Specialization: Models of political decision-making, Behavior of voters and local elites, Clientelism, Experiments and survey methodology

Abigail Celis

  • Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies and African Studies


Area(s) of Specialization: French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, Visual arts and cinema, Literary arts, Museums and repatriation, Diaspora studies

Neelima Jeychandran

  • Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate in African Studies and Asian Studies


Area(s) of Specialization: Afro-Asian Connections, Indian Ocean World Cultures, Oceanic Humanities, Africana Religions, Colonialism, Memory and Embodied Practices, African Material Cultures, Postcolonial Ethnographies, Multimodal Methodologies, Digital Humanities

Busi Makoni

  • Associate Teaching Professor

Phone: (814) 867-3553


Area(s) of Specialization: Language socialization, Language ideology, Language and law, Language policy and planning, Discourse analysis, Multimodal translanguaging

Sinfree Makoni

  • Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and African Studies

Phone: (814) 863-2431


Area(s) of Specialization: Language policy and planning, Security studies, Language and health, Southern epistemologies and ontologies

Richard Mbih

  • Assistant Teaching Professor of African Studies

Phone: (814) 865-9496


Area(s) of Specialization: Agro-pastoralism and food security, environmental change and society, natural resource conflicts, political ecology, sustainability, Sub-Saharan Africa, and international development

Kidane Mengisteab

  • Professor of African Studies and Political Science

Phone: (814) 863-5815


Area(s) of Specialization: Security in the Horn of Africa, Extractive industries and commercial farming in Africa

Abderrahim Ouarghidi

  • Assistant Teaching Professor of African Studies and Anthropology


Area(s) of Specialization: Development and Sustainability, Community-Based Natural Resources and Management, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Agricultural and Pastoral Systems, Participatory Methods

Bronwen Powell

  • Assistant Professor of Geography, African Studies, and Anthropology

Phone: (814) 865-1187


Area(s) of Specialization: Biodiversity and Nutrition, Wild and forest foods, Dietary patterns and dietary diversity, Traditional food systems, Applied research for improved policy and practice

Michelle Sikes

  • Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, African Studies, and History

Phone: (814) 865-8697


Area(s) of Specialization: African sport history, Anti-apartheid and anti-colonial transnational activism, Social and political histories of South Africa and Kenya

Olusegun Soetan

  • Assistant Teaching Professor of African Studies


Area(s) of Specialization: African screen media, African language pedagogy, Indigenous science and technology in Africa, Medical humanities, African Traditional Religion, African feminism, Visual arts and cinema, Literary arts, Diaspora studies

Kevin J.A. Thomas

  • Professor of Sociology, and Demography, and African Studies

Phone: (814) 863-2387


Area(s) of Specialization: Demography, Migration, Immigration, Race, Inequality, Families, Africa

Christopher Tounsel

  • Assistant Professor of History and African Studies

Phone: (814) 865-1367


Area(s) of Specialization: Sudan and South Sudan, Christianity, Race