From Katrina Thompson
A Roundtable discussion that took place during the 2020 African Studies Association’s Annual Conference, hosted via Zoom by the University of Wisconsin–Madison
African Studies Program
Podcasting is a popular aural genre that brings into sharp relief multiple ways in which digital technology is transforming the study of Africa. This interdisciplinary roundtable intends to examine the evolving relationship between academic podcasting and scholarly communication, professional development, circulation of knowledge, and student learning. The roundtable is to feature three Africa podcast hosts and one expert on African/diasporic digital cultures. Each participant shared experiences and discussed the implications of podcasts for their research, teaching, and public engagement.
Some of the questions for the discussion include the following:
- What is the “art of podcasting”?
- How do we identify and reach an audience?
- What are the professional benefits and drawbacks of podcasting?
- How are podcasts being integrated into African Studies teaching?
- Are podcasts a new frontier for Western digital imperialism?
Peter Alegi is Professor of History at Michigan State University, and Research Associate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. His books include Laduma! Soccer, Politics & Society in South Africa (UKZN Press, 2004; 2010); African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World’s Game (Ohio Univ. Press, 2010); and Africa’s World Cup (2013, co-edited with Chris Bolsmann). Alegi hosts the Africa Past and Present podcast, which he founded with Peter Limb in 2008 and has listeners in over 130 countries. He also convenes the Football Scholars Forum, an online soccer think tank now in its 12th season. Alegi is Series Editor of MSU Press’s “African History and Culture” book series, an Editor of African Studies Review, and a member of the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of African Historical Studies and African Studies. Find him on Twitter @futbolprof.
Dr. Msia Kibona Clark is an Associate Professor of African cultural & feminist studies in the Department of African Studies at Howard University. Her work focuses on representations of Pan Africanism, African feminism, and African/Diaspora identities in popular culture. Her scholarship includes numerous articles and book chapters on hip hop culture in Africa, including the book Hip-Hop in Africa: Prophets of the City & Dustyfoot Philosophers (Ohio University Press, 2018). She currently teaches Hip Hop and Social Change in Africa, a joint course between George Washington University and Howard University. She is the creator and producer of the Hip Hop African Blog & Podcast.
Kim Yi Dionne is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California Riverside and a contributing editor for The Monkey Cage, a blog on politics and political science at The Washington Post. She is the author of Doomed Interventions: The Failure of Global Responses to AIDS in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2018), which drew on research she conducted while a Fulbright Scholar in Malawi. She is the founder and co-host of Ufahamu Africa, a weekly podcast about life and politics on the continent. Ufahamu Africa is now in its fifth season and to date has featured conversations with nearly 100 guests, many of whom are scholars of African Studies. Find her on Twitter at @dadakim.
Reginold Royston is an Assistant Professor of African Cultural Studies and New Media at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His work examines technoculture in Ghana and the role of the diaspora in the African mediascape, including podcasting, viral dance-music, and tech entrepreneurship. He teaches courses on oral culture and digital media, and the Internet in Africa in the Department of African Cultural Studies, and at UW The Information School, where he works on AI4Afrika project. Dr. Royston is currently writing a book manuscript about the impact of digital media on Ghana’s transnational identity. Find him on Twitter @raroyston, and at raroyston.com.