Shepard Hall with a slow fade to black

Executive Committee

Professor Justin Williams


Justin Williams is an associate professor of history at the City College of New York who specializes in the politics of modern Africa and its diasporas. He is author of the book Pan-Africanism in Ghana: African Socialism, Neoliberalism, and Globalization​, part of Toyin Falola’s Africa in The World Series on the Carolina Academic Press (2016). Williams has also published articles in African StudiesJournal of Pan African Studies, and the two-volume encyclopedia 50 Events That Shaped African American History.  In his spare time, he is an avid fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, Royals, Sporting Kansas City, University of Missouri Tigers and New Jersey Devils. 



Pan-Africanism Ghana: African Socialism, Neoliberalism and Globalization (Carolina Academic Press, 2015)


Reviewed by Zerihun Berhane Weldegebriel, Addis Ababa University, in African Studies Quarterly, Volume 16, Issue 3/4, 2016


With Bobby R. Holt, “Atlanta Compromise, 1895” in 50 Events That Shaped African American History (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Greenwood, 2019)

“The “Rawlings Revolution” and rediscovery of the African Diaspora in Ghana (1983-2015),” African Studies, Vol.74 (3) – December 2015

“New Africa in the World Coming to Harlem: A retrospective comparison of Jerry Rawlings & Thomas Sankara,” Journal of Pan African Studies, Vol.7 (7)- December 2014

Professor Laurie Woodard



Laurie Woodard began her professional life as a dancer with the Dance Theater of Harlem. She completed her BA in History at Columbia University and her Ph.D in History and African American Studies at Yale University. Her research focuses upon the intersection between the cultural and political realms and employs interdisciplinary methodologies, drawing from performance studies, critical race theory, and women and gender studies. She was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Schomburg Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship and the Sylvia Arden Boone Prize. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and American Quarterly. She is the recipient of a 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Award and is currently completing a manuscript on the life and work of performing artist and civil rights activist Fredi Washington. 

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Intersection Between the Cultural and Political Realms
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Women and Gender Studies




Professor A. Samad-Matias


Phone: 212-650-8657


Office: NAC 7/112

B.A., Hunter College, M.A.; M.A., New York Univ.

Professor Boukary Sawadogo

Dr. Boukary Sawadogo head-shot is looking into the Camera.


As an African cinemas scholar and media professional, Dr Boukary Sawadogo’s multifaceted work seeks to give voice and presence work to film/media productions that developed outside of hegemonic paradigms of Hollywood cinema model. Dr. Sawadogo has published extensively on African cinema, including film reviews, articles, book chapters, and books. His three single-authored books on African cinema are required readings in several courses on African cinema that are taught at American universities. These books are: • “West African Screen Media: Comedy, TV Series, and Transnationalization” (Michigan State University Press, 2019) • “African Film Studies: An Introduction” (Routledge, 2018) • “Les cinémas francophones ouest africains, 1990-2005" (Harmattan, 2013) Dr. Boukary Sawadogo has regularly appeared in the media to speak about cinema and media in Africa, Harlem, and African immigrants in the United States. He has experience serving as jury member in film festivals in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. Dr. Sawadogo is also a regular guest speaker at universities, and research and cultural organizations. Beyond film and media industries, Dr. Boukary Sawadogo's work is widening in scope and depth to interrogate the place and trajectory of Africa today in the world through the diasporas. In this respect, he has authored “Africans in Harlem: An Untold New York Story" (2022) with Fordham University Press.

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • African Cinemas
  • African Diaspora
  • Harlem
  • African Immigration in New York
  • African Film and Media Industry

Professor Asale Angel-Ajani



Asale Angel-Ajani is a writer, scholar and activist with expertise on Global Mass Incarceration, the African Diaspora, and the rights of women. She is the author of two books, Strange Trade: The Story of Two Women Who Risked Everything in the International Drug Trade and the forthcoming, Parasitic States and Penal Colonies: Gender, Migration and the Carceral World Order and co-editor, with Victoria Sanford, of Engaged Observer: Activism, Advocacy and Anthropology. Over the last two decades, Angel-Ajani has worked with incarcerated women and men all over the world and has worked with refugees and displaced people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, and Greece. She has been a research fellow at the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Institute and was the first American researcher to gain entry into Italy's Rebibbia Prison, where she wrote about African immigrants detained there. A graduate of Stanford University, Angel-Ajani has her doctorate in Anthropology. She also holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She teaches a variety of courses but her favorite offerings explore the rise of the carceral state in a global context, creative writing, and Women of Color Feminist Theory.

Areas of Expertise/Research

  • Immigration and Refugees in Europe, Africa, and Asia
  • Global Trends in the Incarceration and Imprisonment of Women and Girls
  • Human Rights in Africa, Latin America, and Asia
  • Drug Trafficking and Women
  • Immigration Detention



Strange Trade: The Story of Two Women Who Risked Everything in the International Drug Trade

Deaeuses de Droque, Paris: Original Books [translated from the English original Strange Trade]

Engaged Observer:Anthropology, Advocacy and Activism


Forthcoming Books:

Parasitic States and Penal Colonies: Gender, Migration, and the Carceral World Order 

A Country You Can Leave (Novel)


Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed Scholarly Journal Articles 

Angel-Ajani, Asale. "Peace in the Reign of Chaos: Afro-Colombian Peace Communities and Realities of War," in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society: Special Issue: TransAfrica Forum: Justice for the African World, Volume 6, Number 2 Spring 2004, pp.10-18. 

Angel-Ajani, Asale. "Managing Subjects: Race, Gender and Criminalization," in Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict and World Order, Special Issue: The Intersections of Ideologies of Violence. Vol. 30, No. 3, 2003, pp. 48-62. 

Angel-Ajani, Asale. "A Question of Dangerous Races?" In Punishment and Society: The International Journal of Penology, Symposium Issue on Migration, Punishment and Social Control in Europe. 5(4) pp. 433-448, October 2003. London: Sage Publications. 

Angel-Ajani, Asale. "Diasporic Conditions: Mapping the Discourses of Race and Criminality in Italy," in Transforming Anthropology: Journal of the Association of Black Anthropologists, a Special Issue on the African Diaspora in Europe 11 (1) pp. 36-46, 2002. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association. 

Angel-Ajani, Asale. “Italy's Racial Cauldron: Unification, Immigration, and the Cultural Politics of Race," in Cultural Dynamics Special Edition "Dilemmas at the Border" 12(3) pp. 231-252, November 2000. London: Sage Publications. 

Chapters in Edited Volumes 

“Creative Writing Craft and the Production of Ethnography” in Thinking Through Feminist Ethnography: Methodologies, Challenges, and Possibilities, edited by Dana-Ain Davis and Christa Craven. New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2016. 

"Peace in the Reign of Chaos: Afro-Colombian Peace Communities and Realities of War," [Reprint] In Press, Race, Globalization and Empire, edited by Manning Marable. New York: Palgrave/Macmillian, 2007. 

“Expert Witness: Revisiting the Politics of Listening." Engaged Observer: Advocacy, Activism and Anthropology edited by Victoria Sanford and Asale
Angel-Ajani. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2006. 

“Displacing Diaspora: Trafficking African Women and Transnational Practice.” In New Perspectives in African Diaspora Studies, edited by Michael Gomez. New York:
New York University Press, 2005. 

“Global Governance and the Role of African Women” In Global Lockdown: Race, Gender and the Prison Industrial Complex, edited by Julia Sudbury. New York: Routledge Press. 2005. 

Editorial, Long Form Essay 

“We Travel Like Other People,” in 1966: Journal of Creative Nonfiction 3(1): 16-28. 2015 

“Colombia.” Women’s World International, June 2003. Digital. 

“The Laboratory of the Forgotten: Colombia,” in Humanus: Journal of Human Rights 4 (1): 25-30. 2003. 

“We Are More than Survivors,” in World Pulse Magazine, June 2004.

“The Quality of Light,” in Brownstone Magazine November 4, 2003. 

"Peace Communities in Urabá-Chocó, Colombia: Carving Out Peaceful Tomorrows," in Knowledge Exchange," Anthropological Newsletter, 21. 2002 

Last Updated: 04/01/2024 11:11