Meet the Professors:
Wolof Language Instructor, Samba Camara
As a scholar of Africa, I strive towards an interdisciplinary approach for investigating the rich and complex facets of African cultures, arts and literatures. In paying heed to the various interconnections between the disciplines of African art, literature, and performance, I seek not to deemphasize a certain African aesthetics where the visual, the performed, and the spoken are broadly linked. My current doctoral dissertation is entitled, “At the Crossroads of the Sacred and the Profane: Islamic Poetry, Popular Music, and the Negotiation of a Tolerant Muslim Culture in Senegal;” and it employs an interdisciplinary approach aimed for a study of Senegal’s cultural matrices where Sufi-Islamic literature, music, and performance intersect, while blurring the social boundaries between the ‘sacred’ and the ‘profane.’ In most of my ongoing research on modern African arts as well, I emphasize this interdisciplinarity as a means for grasping that which a discipline-specific method might lose sight of.
In my study of contemporary African arts, I approach local creativity in relation to influences from non-African geographies. I perceive these ‘new spaces of artistic creativity’ as crucial for understanding the discourse of modernity in African arts and aesthetics. My academic fields of research interest include African Arts and Aesthetics, Post-colonial Studies and Theory, African Orature and Performance, Arts in Muslim Africa, Intersections between African and African Diaspora Arts and Literatures, Gender and Identity in African Arts, and African Language Teaching. As a former Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA), I served as the first Wolof language instructor at Bluefield State College (WV) and presented at several Fulbright orientations and conferences in 2010. Since then, I have been teaching Wolof in the United States for nearly five years now. As an instructor of Wolof language and culture, I have also a great love for poetry, and I write some in both Wolof and Pulaar/Fula. To view a video of Samba's Wolof class at Ohio University, please click here.
Professor Camara will also be teaching AFS 4210 African Arts and Modernity (African Visual Arts) in the fall of 2015. For more detailed information about this course, please click here.
• 2013- in progress Ph.D., African Arts and Literature, and Performance Studies School of Interdisciplinary Arts, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. • 2011-2013 MA, International Affairs, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio • 2009-2010 D.E.A (Pre-doctoral Degree), African-American Literature, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal. Graduated with Distinction (Mention Très Bien) • 2008-2010 CAEM (Second Cycle English Teaching Certificate) FASTEF Teacher-Training School, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal • 2008-2009 Maîtrise d’Anglais (MA), English (African-American Literature), Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal. Graduated with Distinction (Mention Très Bien). • 2005-2008 Licence d’Anglais (BA), English, Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal
• 2014 “Political Islam and the Negotiation of Political Roles among Sufi Peripheral Leaders in Senegal.” International Journal of Political Science and Development 2(6): 105-116. Swahili Language Instructor, Zablon Mgonja
Zablon is a Tanzanian and a native speaker of Swahili. He holds a Master of Arts in African languages and literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Zablon was a Fulbright Scholar in Nashville Tennessee where he started a Swahili Department at Fisk University in 2006. In 2007, when he moved to Wisconsin, he taught first semester Swahili and always his students would be fluent after 9 weeks of instruction. Zablon participated in National Council for Less Commonly Taught Language and he was selected as the best instructor for Swahili. They recorded a video of his class and can be accessed online by clicking here.
Zablon attended several workshops in African Language teaching and was awarded certificates. While in Tanzania, Zablon has received and hosted many study abroad students in Tanzania and many of them have enjoyed their experience in Africa. Zablon looks forward to a great experience with his new students at FIU.