Conferences and Presentations

At Mende Studies Association (MANSA) Conference, Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire (2017)

All significant scholarship is about making a fresh contribution to an ongoing conversation. By engaging in the wider academic conversation we ride on the tide of currents in thinking, and are carried forward on the waves of the most pressing issues. These conversations are always happening on the page, in response to what we read. But conferences are the enlivening contexts where actual exchanges challenge and shape our ideas, move them forward “on the beam,” or cause us chart our own course.

It is an honor to have been invited to share my work in various professional association meetings and university classrooms. Along the way the conversation partners I have found there have become a circle of stalwart colleagues and friends.


Presenting “Female Genital Power” in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire (2017)


“Mbembe’s matrix and the matri-archive: the little secret to conjuring away the postcolonial spell” – American Academy of Religion, San Diego, November, 2019

“The Incivility of ‘Civil Society’ in Africa: untimely tropes and spiritual weapons” – Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion, E. Carolina University, Greenville, NC, March 8, 2019

“Religion in the Public Sphere in Côte d’Ivoire” – Colloquium presentation, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, December 7-8, 2018.

“Spectacular Recollections: Women’s naked protest against African State Amnesia – Invited talk, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, October 30, 2017.

“Academic Research in the Digital Age: Shaping questions through research design” – Invited full-day presentation, Institute for Advanced Studies in Ife Summer Institute, Obafemi Awolawo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, July 31, 2017.

“Les Mères au rond-point: retrouver l’identité et son fondement dans la morale” (“Mothers at the round-about: Recollecting Identity on Moral Grounds”) Mande Studies Association (MANSA), Université de Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, August 4, 2017.

“Memory, Memorialization, Morality: Female Genital Power in Ritual & Politics in Côte d’Ivoire” –American Academy of Religion, Atlanta, GA, November 22, 2015.

“Sexuality and Gender in African History” – Invited Lecture for Course entitled “Christianity, Identity and Civil Society in Africa,” Harvard Divinity School, April 9, 2013.

“Hallowed Howls & Sacred Sounds” Presider and Respondent – African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association (ADRSA) Conference on Spiritual Soundscapes, Harvard University, April 3-4, 2015.

“Gender and Change in Ile-Ife: A Response to Jacob Olupona’s City of 201 Gods” Public Lecture, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, April 11, 2013.

“A Study of Female Genital Power in West Africa – Visual Argument, Methodological Considerations.” Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, March 13, 2013.

“Catachresis in Côte d’Ivoire.” Invited paper, Conference and Workshop on “Religion, Gender and Postcoloniality” SOAS University of London, UK, December 18, 2012.

“Response to African Traditions in The Study of Religion in Africa – Part II,” Invited paper, American Academy of Religion, Chicago, IL, November 16, 2012.

“Mircea Eliade and the study of History of Religions in the USA.” International seminar, Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, April 2, 2012.

“The Deployment of Female Genital Power as an Act of Society in Côte d’Ivoire.” Workshop of the Luce Project on Religion in Global Civil Society at UCSB, A Focus on The Middle East and AfricaOrfalea Center for Global and International Studies, Santa Barbara, CA January 22, 2012.
and Videos of Workshop Presentations

“Female Genital Power in Côte d’Ivoire: Violation & Deployment.” Salon, a private forum for public lectures and discussion – Santa Barbara, CA January 8, 2012.

“Contested Powers and Power Contests: Sex and Power in Ritual and Politics in Post-Civil War Côte d’Ivoire.” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting – Montréal, Canada, November 2009

“Divination as a Dynamic Visual Canon.” Sacred Knowledge, Sacred Power and Performance: Ifa Divination in West Africa and the African Diaspora, an International Conference Harvard University, March, 2008.

“A Thought Experiment Reconsidered: ‘A Primal Perspective on the Philosophy of Religion’ by Arvind Sharma.” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting – San Diego, CA, November 2007

“Memoir as Method: A Reading from ‘Ask for the Road,’” and “Response to Phillip Peek.” Divination and DialogueUniversity of Kent, Canterbury, England, October 2007

“The Creative Process: Memoir as Literary and Academic Pursuit.”  Sweet Briar College, Amherst, VA, November 25, 2006

“Divination, Destiny & Soul-Making.” A seminar offered for professional credentialing in psychology. The Jung Institute, Los Angeles, CA, February 3, 2006

“Ethics in the Cast of Divination.” University of California, Davis, CA, May 2005

“Walking with Spirits: Divination in Contemporary Urban West Africa.” Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA, March 2000.

With fellow MANSA members during the African Studies Association meeting in Atlanta, GA 2019.