Kelly M. Askew is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Afroamerican/African Studies and founding Director of the African Studies Center at the University of Michigan. She received her B.A. in Music and Anthropology from Yale University (1988) and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University (1997). Her 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 a book on music and politics in Tanzania entitled 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.
In addition to her research in East Africa on performance, nationalism, media, postsocialism, and the privatization of property rights, Dr. Askew has pursued various film and video projects. Most recently, Dr. Askew has worked on 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, 2011) covering the history of Zanzibar’s oldest taarab orchestra.
Dr. Askew is the recipient of numerous awards, including being selected as a Fellow for the Berlin Institute of Advanced Studies (to be held during the 2012-13 academic year), the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, and research fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Ford Foundation, Council of American Overseas Research Centers, and Fulbright Association. She is Co-Principal Investigator on a $1.5 million grant from USAID to strengthen engineering education in Liberia, part of an $18.5 million effort titled Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD), which constitutes a collaboration between the University of Michigan, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Technology and RTI International.