June 25, 2015 | 4:45 p.m.
By Lauren Pareigat '08, Communications Specialist, College of Arts & Sciences
Professor of Sociology Samuel Zalanga was one of 17 scholars awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to provide leadership and instruction to African postgraduate institutions.
Zalanga will travel to Nigeria to work with one of his alma maters, the University of Jos, and Professors Ezekiel Olumodeji and Ezekiel Best on postgraduate student mentoring and training with a view to increase postgraduate student training in order to improve the quality of graduate education and training in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the university. Specifically, their focus on two areas; first, they will instruct both master’s and doctoral students on the dialectical relationship between theory and research methods as the students pursue their course work and write their dissertations. Second, they will instruct on how to integrate interdisciplinary analyses and perspectives in their research projects’ conceptualization, design, data collection, analysis and interpretation.
In addition to direct work with students, the collaborative project will include a film festival hosted by the Nigerian Film Institute, part of the University of Jos, on the topic of Africa’s location in the neoliberal global economy. A conference exploring the relevance of Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the 21st Century for Africa will also be held.
If successful, this project hopes to deepen the theoretical and methodological foundation of graduate education at the university, which has suffered due to a low faculty to student ratio. It is also hoped that the collaboration will strengthen interdisciplinary perspectives in training young African scholars, and promote the use of pedagogically-oriented films to empirically illustrate theoretical concepts and methods in the social sciences.
The University of Jos’ partnership is one of 17 projects pairing native African scholars with higher education institutions within Africa to collaborate on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training, and mentoring activities. The fellowships conduct a wide range of projects, including developing an MBA program, staging a musical based on South African themes, and Africa-sensitive research in cognitive psychology. This innovative program facilitates engagement between scholars born in Africa who are now based in the United States or Canada and scholars in Africa on mutually beneficial academic activities. The program is managed by the Institute of International Education in collaboration with Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, through Advisory Council Chair Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, and is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.