Wendy Wilson-Fall, professor and chair of Africana Studies
Research area: Wilson-Fall’s research engages issues of identity, culture, local histories, and social space. Her published work on these themes includes both African diaspora and continent-based projects. Her research and writing concern themes of exclusivity, inclusion, marginalization, and difference. Wilson-Fall was director of the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal, from 1999 to 2004, and she is currently an ex-officio board member of its parent organization, the West African Research Association. She currently serves on the boards of the international organizations The Africa Network and ARED (Associates for Research and Education in Development), an organization that supports literacy in West African languages, with a focus on the Fulani (Pulaar; Fulfulde) language.
In addition to work published in academic journals and edited volumes, Wilson-Fall’s book Memories of Madagascar and Slavery in the Black Atlantic engaged questions of identity and orality in relation to oral traditions and the archival story. Current projects include looking at black ethnic identity locally and in the context of global conversations on Africanity. She is a fellow of the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence at Bayreuth University in Germany, and the Unit on Youth and Pastoral Mobility at University of Gaston Berger in Senegal. This academic year, Wilson-Fall has been invited to join a team of scholars on an NEH-funded project for the creation of an Indian Ocean slavery database (based at Rice University), and to join an advisory panel for the Boston Lyric Opera for the opera Omar, which is based on a Fulani slave in North Carolina documented by the Smithsonian Museum. The opera had its debut in Charleston, South Carolina, earlier in 2022.
Her Lafayette journey: Prof. Wilson-Fall joined the Lafayette faculty in 2012 as an associate professor of Africana studies and program chair having moved from Kent State University, where she was department chair of Pan African studies from 2006 to 2012. Since coming to Lafayette, she has taught most of the core courses in Africana studies, such as Ideas of Africa (AFS101) and Black Experience (AFS211). She also developed new courses such as African Cowboys (AFS330) and Introduction to Africana Studies (AFS102). In 2022, Wilson-Fall was promoted to full professor. She is locally active in Easton as a member of board committees of the Canal Museum and the Karl Stirner Arts Trail.
What she’ll be teaching in the fall: AFS211: The Black Experience and AFS101: Ideas of Africa.