Kelly Askew

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
LSA: Social Sciences
Associate Professor, Anthropology and DAAS  
Short bio: 

Kelly M. Askew is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Afroamerican/African Studies and Director of the African Studies Center. She received her B.A. in Music and Anthropology from Yale University (1988) and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University (1997).  She joined the U-M faculty in 1999.

Research summary: 

In addition to my research in East Africa (Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya) on performance, nationalism, media, postsocialism, and the privatization of property rights, I have produced several ethnographic films. These include a four-part video documentary series, Rhythms from Africa (Tomas Film/Acacia Productions, 2004), which explores music in South Africa and in Zanzibar, and a full-length feature documentary film Poetry in Motion: 100 Years of Zanzibar’s Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Jahazi Media, 2012) on the history of Zanzibar’s oldest taarab orchestra. Most recently, I completed The Chairman and the Lions (2012), a film documenting the multiple challenges facing a Maasai village, an official selection of the 2012 Jean Rouch International Film Festival, 2012 ASPEKTY Festival of Visual Anthropology, and the 2012 Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Interactive Media Festival.

Recent publications: 

Publications include two edited volumes, African Postsocialisms (co-edited with M. Anne Pitcher, Edinburgh University Press, 2006) and The Anthropology of Media: A Reader (co-edited with Richard R. Wilk, Blackwell Publishers, 2002), articles on topics ranging from nationalism to gender relations to Hollywood film production, and the monograph Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Production in Tanzania (University of Chicago Press, 2002), a finalist for the 2003 African Studies Association Herskovits Award for best scholarly work on Africa.

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