Asale Angel-Ajani

Assistant Professor

Main Affiliation


Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs

Black Studies Program

International Studies

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


North Academic Center



Asale Angel-Ajani

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.




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