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Caroline Bledsoe,  Anthropology, combined empirical work in demography with cultural approaches to the study of marriage and the condition of children in West Africa. Her research examines relationships among ideologies of knowledge, power, and secrecy; philosophies of education; and the construction of authority. 

Margaret Thompson Drewal, Performance Studies, researched Yoruba and Afro-Brazilian ritual performance and has special interests in the poetics and politics of performance discourse.

David Easterbrook, George and Mary LeCron Foster Curator of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies.

Morris Goodman, Linguistics, researched Mauritian Creole French and other pidgin languages, Hausa, and Swahili. He is particularly interested in African national language debates.

Karen Tranberg HansenAnthropology, interested in the division of labor in terms of gender, race, and class; worked on urban Zambia colonial culture, domesticity, and gender ideology; researched housing, the informal sector, wage labor, and the international trade in used clothing, her book Salaula : The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia won the 2001 Anthony Leeds Prize of the Society for Urban Anthropology.

Richard Joseph, Political Science, specialized in the study of politics and governance in Africa with a special focus on democratic transitions, state building and state collapse, and conflict resolution.

David Kelso, Biomedical Engineering, specialized in medical instrumentation, biosensors, kinetics of antibody and DNA binding reactions in solution and on solid phases, pharmacokinetics, and optimization of drug administration.

D. Soyini Madison, Performance Studies, lived and worked in Ghana as a Senior Fulbright Scholar conducting field research on the interconnections between traditional religion, political economy, and indigenous performance tactics.

John Rowe, History, specialized in the history of East Africa, with special focus on sociopolitical transformations in the Buganda kingdom in Uganda during the nineteenth century.

In Memorium

John Hunwick, History and Religion, researched the history of Muslim societies in West Africa, an expert on Arabic sources, focused on the development of West African Islamic scholarship and the translation of primary texts and documents, his documentary Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Saidi's Ta'rikh al-Sudan Down to 1613 and Other Contemporary Documents won the 2001 African Studies Association Text Prize.

Hans E. Panofsky, Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, served as the foundation curator of Northwestern's Africana collection.

Ivor Wilks, History, an authority on the Asante state in Ghana and Wales in the 19th century, examined the nature of power and leadership and the forms of collaboration and resistance.

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