Five College African Studies Program

Spring 2015 Events

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wendy Laura Blecher: Same-Sex Intimacies in an Early Modern African Text about an Ethiopian Female Saint, Gädlä Wälättä P̣eṭros (1672)

February 19, 2015 7:30PM
Cassani Room: Shattuck HALL 102, Mount Holyoke College

The seventeenth-century Ethiopian book The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros (Gadla Walatta Petros) features a life-long partnership between two women and the depiction of same-sex sexuality among nuns. The earliest known book-length biography about the life of an African woman, written in 1672 in the Gaez language, Gadla Walatta petros is an extraordinary accound of earlly modern Afrina women's lives - full of vivid dialogue, heartbreak, and triumph.

WENDY LAURA BELCHER (Mount Holyoke College class of  1984) is associate professor of African literature in Princeton University’s Department of Comparative Literature and Center for African American Studies. She has been studying African literature for over two decades and is now working to bring attention to early African literature through her research and translation. She also studies how African thought has informed a global traffic of invention, recently publishing Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (Oxford, 2012) and is finalizing the translation of The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Translation of a Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an African Woman with Michael Kleiner, which has the earliest known depictions in African literature of women’s life-long partnerships and female same-sex desire.

February 26 & 27

The Politics of Migration: Gender, Sexuality, and Citizenship


Please join the Umass Amherst Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Department for its Spring 2015 conference. The keynote speakers will be Chandan Reddy, University of Washington Seattle, and Eithne Luibheid, University of Arizona. This event is free and open to the public.  Please register online by February 18th.  For questions or further details, please e-mail


November 13, 2014

Jennifer Cole - Giving Life: Managing Intimacy and Regulating Affective Circuits Among Malagasy Marriage Migrants in France

4:30pm, Neilson Browsing room, Smith college

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Jennifer Cole, Professor of Comparative Human Development and Anthropology and chair of the African Studies Council at the University of Chicago, draws on her research on the migration increasing numbers of Malagasy women from Madagascar who marry French men, and the transnational families formed in the process. In a context of tightening immigration laws and increased xenophobia, she investigates the complex ways that these marriage migrants participate in new patterns of belonging and new kinds of exclusion in rural areas of France, shedding light on the intersection between state regulatory policies and migrants' efforts to build affective circuits.

October 30, 2014

Performance by Angélique Kidjo

October 30, 2014 7:30 pm
Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, UMass Amherst Campus
Handicap access available
Regular ticket prices $35, $30, $20;
Five College, GCC and 17 & under $10.
Purchase tickets by calling 413-545-2511 or 800-999-UMAS, or at
Emily Everett
Beninese Afro-pop spitfire Angélique Kidjo is a Grammy award-winning recording artist deemed "Africa's premier diva" by Time Magazine. She’s collaborated with Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, Alicia Keys, Bono and many more. Known for her dynamic and uplifting music, she has translated her distinctive work in the arts to that of philanthropy and as a women’s rights activist, and travels the world to inspire and empower. Audience members are invited to a pre-performance talk by Bode Omojola, Five College Associate Professor of Music, Mount Holyoke College, 6:30 p.m. at the University Club.

October 29, 2014

Activism Through Music: Conversation with Angelique Kidjo

Moderated by Bode Omojola

Wedensday October 29, 6-7 pm
Bowker Auditorium, UMass Amherst

Angelique Kidjo's expansive career has been marked as much by extraordinary musical achievement as passionate advocacy and philanthropy for her homeland of Africa. Join us as Ms. Kidjo discusses the importance of her advocacy work and the role her music has played to advance social causes.

October 23, 2014

Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee:
"Women's Leadership: Ending Wars and Building Peace"

Thursday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m.
in Gamble Auditorium AT Mount holyoke college

Celebrate the tenth anniversary of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives at Mount Holyoke College on Thursday, October 23 and Friday, October 24, 2014.

Keynote address "Women's Leadership: Ending Wars and Building Peace"
by: Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and 2014 Carol Hoffmann Collins Global Scholar-in-Residence

Contact Jenny Medina at the McCulloch Center for more information.

October 21, 2014

Five College African Studies Annual Community Dinner:
Celebrating 25 Years of the Five College African Studies Certificate Program

Tuesday October 21, 2014 6:00 P.M.
At the Hampshire College Red Barn
(VIEW Directions)

This event will feature food, dancing, music, performance by the Five College African dance group, along with opportunities to learn more about the  Five College African Studies certificate program and curriculum, and meet students and faculty from across the campuses. 

October 16, 2014

Ebola in West Africa: Complexities of Crisis and Response

Lynn Pasquerella, President of Mount Holyoke College,
Lynn Morgan, Anthropology Mount Holyoke College,
Kim Yi Dionne, Five College Assistant Professor of Government
Thursday October 16, 2014 4:15-6:00 PM
Dwight Hall 101, Mount Holyoke College