Orfalea Center Thematic Research Cluster
Resistance, Autonomy, Liberation
Professor Chikowero teaches and researches African cultural, social and economic histories with a specialization on Southern Africa. His work particularly centers African perspectives, methodologies, epistemologies and forms of selfcraft that have long been marginalized by Northern epistemologies that reify the colonial written archive as the site of knowledge and subject production. In an age of entrenched hegemonies and pathological systems of power, his teaching and writing constitute intellectual Chimurenga–African epistemic insurgency. Chimurenga scholarship means forcing the hegemonic archive to confess its mission, to reveal what it seeks to silence and, ultimately, to transcend its logics of meaning-making.
Ricardo Jacobs earned his PhD in Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on the global political economy of urbanization, ecology and agrarian change, with a focus on post-colonial Africa. His work examines how global colonial-racial capitalism and class struggle from below shapes race, ethnicity, gender and class at the local and global level. His recent article—“An Urban Proletariat with Peasant Characteristics: Land Occupations and Livestock Raising in South Africa”—won the 2017-2018 Krishna Bharadwaji and Eric Wolf Prize from the Journal of Peasant Studies and the Terence K. Hopkins award from the Political Economy of the World System section of the American Sociological Association. He serves as Book Review Section co–editor of the Journal of Peasant Studies. Prior to entering the PhD program, he worked for more than 15 years in the area of land and agrarian reform, food sovereignty, agro-ecology and agrarian social movement building in South Africa.
Claudia Ankrah is a PhD student in the History department at UCSB. Her dissertation project research is a deconstructive study of museums and national parks in Africa and spaces where African people and material cultures have been taken as sites of public history. This transnational study will engage with Public History spaces across the African continent and examine the foundational exhibitionary logics of Public History institutions.
By interrogating Public History spaces, her research aims to position the calls for material repatriation as part of a longer historical project of anti-colonial movements and acts of resistance.
Steven Mberi is a Research Fellow with the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (SMAIAS). His research interests lie in the field of climate change,land,natural resources management,environmental policy and planning. His current research work has been focused on the contribution of capital towards combating climate change, with specific reference to smallholder tobacco farmers in Zimbabwe. Steve holds a Master of Science (MSc) Degree in Development Studies with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and a BSc (Hons) Degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the Midlands State University.
The Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (SMAIAS) is an independent policy research institution committed to the development of agrarian systems that enhance equitable land rights and sustainable land uses throughout Africa. SMAIAS is a regional organization that seeks to influence land and agrarian reform policies through multidisciplinary social science research, policy dialogues, training and information dissemination. The main focus of the SMAIAS is to mediate in the policy making processes so as to enhance rural livelihoods through an improved policy framework. In its work, the institute interacts with and provides policy advice and capacity support to various stakeholders who include, governments, regional bodies, universities, NGOs researchers, students and the donor community. The SMAIAS is driven by a desire to contribute towards improved rural livelihoods which should lead to greater capacities for the rural poor to determine their own destinies and contribute towards national development. The SMAIAS approach entails encouraging continuous policy debates and refinement of policy. This is achieved through generation and provision of research based information, platforms for dialogue, creating and nurturing a policy community in Africa. The ambition of the SMAIAS is to provide leadership in land and agrarian policy processes, to become a Centre of Excellence and remain an independent and credible institute with some level of financial independence.