Stanford Biz School Seed Transformation Program is seeking applicants from East Africa

Do you run an SME? Are you interested in training and mentorship? Then apply for Stanford’s STP.

The Stanford Seed Transformation Program addresses the needs of founders/senior leaders in developing economies who lead growing, small to medium sized enterprises.

The STP curriculum is customized to address the needs of founders and senior leaders of small and medium sized companies who are committed to growing their businesses.

Over a period of six months, you will attend four highly interactive sessions—each lasting one week. Sessions cover tools and methodologies that you will use to grow and transform your business.

For example, you will learn about Design Thinking—an innovative problem-solving approach refined by Stanford faculty and its alumni—that is invaluable for identifying new products and services for your customers.

STP topics include leadership training, strategy, organizational design, business model development, operations, accounting, marketing, finance/investing, value chain innovations, governance, business ethics, and product and service innovations. 

You can apply here.

Stanford Africa Forum 2012 (Feb 25th)

Please register here.

SFAS 2011 Conference Program

“The Black Atlantic: Colonial and Contemporary Exchanges”
October 28-29, 2011
Stanford Humanities Center

Friday, Oct. 28

Registration 2:00-2:30pm

Opening Keynote (Bruce Hall, Duke University) 2:30-3:45pm

Panel I 4:00-5:30pm
Trading Race: Colonial and Contemporary perceptions of Race

1. Dana Linda (UCLA) White Noise, Black Masks: Recapturing Race in Hispanic Caribbean Prison Narratives

2. Michael Ugorji (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Germany) Being Black in a Post-slavery, Post-Darwinian World: The Persistence of Victimage

3. Sarah Quesada (Stanford University) García Márquez, and the Daughters of the Diaspora in a Selected Corpus.

4. Fatoumata Seck (Stanford University)  Bouqui and Malice, a Caribbean counter-poetics

Panel II 5:45-7:15pm
The Diaspora in Circulation: The Aesthetic Politics of Cultural Production

1. Krishna Barua (Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati)  Inventing the Truth: Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’

2. I. Augustus Durham (Princeton Theological Seminary)  The (In)Visibility of a Frenzied Reality: W. E. B. Du Bois’ as Conjure Man in ‘The Souls of Black Folk’

3. Joy White (University of Greenwich)   From Rhythm and Blues to Grime: Black Atlantic Exchanges and the Performance of Identity

4. Robert Hanserd (Northern Illinois University) Obayifo to Obeah: Priestly Power and other elements of  Afro-Atlantic Akan Identity
Appetizers, wine, mingling and music 7:30-8:30pm

*        *        *

Saturday, Oct. 29
Breakfast 7:45-8:15am

Panel III 8:15-9:45am Crossing the Space in Between: representations and belonging in Ghana, Haiti, Senegal and Somalia

1. Michael Ralph (New York University) Forensics of Debt: Militarism and Modern Credit Debt in the French Atlantic Empire

2. Scott Stabler (Grand Valley State University) and Mary Owusu University of Cape Coast, Ghana) Global Slavery: Lost in Trans-lation

3. Marwa H. Ghazali (University of Kansas) Is My Baby Too Black: slavery, silence and self-imagination among Somali Bantu refugees in Kansas City

4. Christine Mobley (Duke University) Central Africans in the Haitian Revolution

Panel IV 10:00–11:30am  Colonial Constructions of Race

1. Nicholas Jones (New York University) Let’s Play a Game of Chess! Situating the Presence of Race, Slavery, and the Horizontal Migratory Movement of a Mulata Slave in Lope de Vega’s Servir a señor discreto.

2. Myriam Chancy (University of Cincinnati)  Return to My Native Land ?: Investigating the Discursive Landscape of African Pilgrimages in Contemporary Postcolonial Travel Narratives  

3. Elizabeth Spragins (Stanford University) Grey Shades of Blackness in Zurara’s Cronica da Guine

4. Marzia Milazzo (University of California, Santa Barbara)Capturing the Black Experience in Latin America’?: Diasporic Identity and Anti-Racist Discourse in the Works of the Afro-Panamanian Writer Cubena

Faculty Roundtable 11:45-1pm
1. Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi (Stanford University, French and Comparative Literature)
2. Lisa Surwillo (Stanford University, Iberian and Latin American Cultures)
3. Richard Roberts (Stanford University, History)

Keynote lunch by Pius Adesanmi 1-2pm


Center for African Studies, The Humanities Center, The Division for Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, The Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of History, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Department of English, and the Department of Sociology.

This is an interdisciplinary conference,  and all are welcome to attend!

For more information please contact Melina Platas at mplatas [at] stanford [dot] edu.

Is Peer Review in Decline?

One more reason for academics to keep blogging….

Glenn Ellison in this paper notes the general decline in the need for academics from top institutions to publish in top journals because they can get citations [hopefully confirming that they were right] by other means – through sites like SSRN [and perhaps even by sharing their works in the blogosphere]

Over the past decade, there has been a decline in the fraction of papers in top economics journals written by economists from the highest-ranked economics departments. This paper documents this fact and uses additional data on publications and citations to assess various potential explanations. Several observations are consistent with the hypothesis that the Internet improves the ability of high-profile authors to disseminate their research without going through the traditional peer-review process.

The author further notes that:

I started this paper by pointing out two trends: economists in several highly regarded departments are publishing fewer papers in the top field journals; and Harvard’s economics department is also publishing fewer papers in the top general interest journals.

Several pieces of evidence bolster the view that one factor contributing to these trends is that the role of journals in disseminating research has been reduced. One is that the citation benefit to publishing in a top general interest journal now appears to be fairly small for top-department authors. Another is that Harvard authors appear to be quite successful in garnering citations to papers that are not published in top journals. The fact that the publication declines appear to be a top-department phenomenon (as opposed to a prolific-author phenomenon) suggests that a top-department affiliation may be an important determinant of an author’s ability to sidestep the traditional journal system.

Call for papers

The Black Atlantic: Colonial and Contemporary Exchanges
2011 Annual Meeting of the Stanford Forum for African Studies
Stanford University, California
October 28-29, 2011

The Stanford Forum for African Studies (SFAS) invites proposals for papers by graduate students, scholars, and faculty on the topics of slavery, migration and the African Diaspora, and how each of these affect social, economic, and political development in Africa in the past and present. Interested participants should submit abstracts by email to Please also include your name, affiliation and contact details. DEADLINE: June 10, 2011 (extended from June 1st)

This interdisciplinary conference aims to examine the vestiges of the slave trade, along with the resulting economic and cultural exchanges, both within and from Africa. Scholars and activists have traditionally addressed matters relating to economic inequality, hierarchical racial segregation and ideology, and the transfer of cultural realities presented in art, music, and rituals, to mention a few major topics. Consistent with the theme of exploring the triangular interaction (involving Europe, Africa and the Americas) of the Black Atlantic, the symposium seeks to shed light on the effect of forced and voluntary migration on identity and culture, on social, economic, and political development in Africa and in the African Diaspora. We are soliciting proposals that combine insights, methods, and research from both the social sciences and the humanities, including the fields of anthropology, art history, economics, history, literature, political science, and psychology among others.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
· Identity formation in the Diaspora
· The spread and influence of African culture, art, and music
· The role of technology in connecting migrants to their home countries
· Regional integration and the economic effects of migration within Africa
· Brain drain out of Africa
· Migration and its relation to political and economic development in Africa
· Europe and its acknowledgment of the slave trade
· The role of remittances in modern day Africa
· The slave trade present in literature and/or music

Here is our website.

health and governance conference at Stanford

This weekend the Stanford Student Forum for African Studies is hosting a conference on health and governance in sub-Saharan Africa. If you are in the bay area feel free to show up for any of the panel discussions.

More information here.

democracy, development and the rule of law

This is the title of a class that I am a TA  (the joys of graduate school…) in this term. I am excited to be a part of the class. It is jointly taught by, in the words of Stoner-Weiss, the dean of democracy: Larry Diamond, and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss herself. Guest lectures will include presentations by Francis Fukuyama of the end of history fame among other high profile academics (It is at times like these that I get reminded that choosing academia was the right choice).

Larry  and Kathryn are big on democracy and its evolution in the last two decades, especially in the developing world, so expect some posts reflecting on this subject. The Spirit of Democracy Lives on!