Thursday, December 8, 2022

Assistant Director, Africa World Initiative @ Princeton University


Assistant Director, Africa World Initiative

Requisition #2022-15993
Date Posted2 weeks ago(11/22/2022 12:10 PM)
Academic Administration
Job Type


Africa World Initiative (AW) seeks a highly motivated and committed professional to join its office. The Assistant Director will work under the leadership of the Director of AW to support and establish African Research and programing on campus. The Assistant Director will oversee the administrative and logistical needs of this newly established unit. This position will be responsible for managing as many as five research hubs, budgets, communications, annual reports, Advisory Council meetings, web development, marquee events, fellowships, and research opportunities.


The primary purpose of the position is to facilitate the mission of AW as defined by its Director. The Assistant Director will provide excellent service to a variety of constituents (i.e., students, alumni, faculty, staff, and guests) while coordinating logistics, assigning and managing projects, and supervising and evaluating three or more AW staff members. The Assistant Director will develop, monitor, delegate and review specific projects and events. AW programs and activities on Africa range across science, technology, social sciences, arts and humanities, entrepreneurship and digital humanities.


This position provides a unique opportunity to positively impact a broad range of new and established programs and services offered by the African World Initiative. This role requires deep and current knowledge of University policies, and priorities to best represent the University and assist campus personnel and external partnerships engaging in Africa-related work. This position requires a proactive attitude with problem-solving skills.


Managing the AWI Administration and Logistics:


Provide leadership and supervision of staff members and fellows.

Act as a liaison to faculty and visiting faculty administration.

Oversight of the budget for AWI.

Producing annual reports for the Director of AWI.

Organizing the logistics for the advisory council, marquee lectures and conferences for AWI.


Collaboration and relationship management

Manage relationship with PAS and PIIRS

Manage Research Initiatives and opportunities, including AW research hubs.

Assist director in strategic plans, new programs and general success and growth of AWI.


Coordinating campus-wide and external partnerships.  

Oversee funding and sponsorship initiatives.

Oversee AWI communications and public engagement.



Essential qualifications


Bachelor’s degree and 7+ years of related experience.

Extensive knowledge about and experience with managing Africa-related program and initiatives in research universities or equivalent institutions.

Strong organizational and project management skills, analytical and problem-solving skills, and attention to detail partnered with the ability to think strategically.

Ability to communicate clearly, effectively, and persuasively, especially in writing.

Ability to build and maintain effective relationships; influence and persuade without direct authority; and establish collaborative partnerships within and outside the University.



Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Repatriation Movement Heats Up!

 There is no question that the Repatriation Movement is heating up. The campaign for the return of African cultural heritage looted from the continent during the colonial era by rapacious agents of empire took decades to gain steam. Now there is no going back! Little by little, one crucial step at a time, led in significant ways by the government of Germany in Europe and the Smithsonian in the US. Those who think that this campaign will simply fade away, as did earlier ones, are in for a different reality: the campaigners are in for the long haul, and there is enough air in their lungs to keep calling out the defenders of Empire's crimes 70 x 7 years to come. 

In the meantime, I appreciate the gestures and actions of colleagues and officials in France, Germany, the UK, and the US who have steered their institutions to commit to the return of looted artifacts in their holdings, like the staff at Horniman. This includes frankly folks at the British Museum who must have to deal with the politics of Britain's new culture-warriors-in-government, like its former Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden MP who in this interview with BBC4 claims that he "loves Benin Bronzes", while defending, with a tremulous voice, why the looted Benin artifacts detained by the British Museum will not be returned. 

Despite the position of these government types and their sympathizers in the art industry, one thing is certain. They are on the wrong side of history, stricken by the disease of colonial nostalgia. Time will tell.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Illustration by Joshua Obeng-Boateng

 BBC has just created this fantastic podcast series called "Museum of Bad Vibes," with the first episode on "The Bird of Prophecy Staff," one of the more familiar objects that constitute the Benin Bronzes corpus found these days in museums that received artifacts looted from Benin City in 1897. In the podcast, the bronze staff speaks about its place in Benin society and its post-1897 imprisonment in the museum cabinet.

Here's the podcast synopsis:

The Bird of Prophecy staff has been locked up in a box unable to speak and when finally given the chance, he tells the story of his former glory as a ceremonial symbol of pride for his people.

Bird of Prophecy (ahianmwen-oro), 32.4cm, 16-19th century, presently at Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

On this tour, Hanna Adan, with the assistance of experts, explores the history of the Benin Bronzes, from the Benin Kingdom. The sculptures include elaborately decorated cast plaques, commemorative heads, animal and human figures, items of royal regalia, and personal ornaments. They were created from the 16th century onwards in the West African Kingdom of Benin, which was part of the British Empire from 1897 to 1960, and is now part of Nigeria.

Bird of Prophecy (ahianmwen-oro), 20.3cm, 16-19th century, presently at Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

Through the eyes of the Bird of Prophecy staff, Hanna tells the story of the British Empire raid, the destruction that saw the kingdom crumble, and the dispersal of the famous Benin Bronzes around the globe.

Through this sonic museum tour we ask - what is the Museum’s duty towards contested objects of spiritual and cultural significance in their collections?


Produced and Presented by Hanna Adan

With story by George Bailey

Assistant Producer and Editor: Kwaku Dapaah-Danquah

Researcher: Seyi Bolarin

Starring: Oluwafemi Olugbade

Contributors: Oluwatoyin Sogbesan, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Sonita Alleyn

Production Mentors: Jane Thurlow and Corinna Jones

Sound Designer: Lauren Armstrong-Carter

Tech Producer: Bob Nettles

Executive Producers: Khaliq Meer & Leanne Alie

Commissioned for BBC Sounds Audio Lab by Khaliq Meer

Artwork by Joshua Obeng-Boateng

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Chika Okeke-Agulu on the call for artistic expression and rise of Africa...

I interview from 2020 is one of my most biographic. Thanks to the guys at Luminary FM.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Oxford Union Debates on Restitution of Looted Artefacts: May 12, 2022

Topic: “This House Would Repatriate Contested Artefacts”

Whether the Elgin Marbles should be returned is a perennial question. Amidst increasing scrutiny of symbols of Europe’s colonial past, multiple states and the UN have called for the return of contested cultural property. From the Koh-i-Noor Diamond and the Rosetta Stone, to the Benin Bronzes and Moai Statues of Easter Island, British institutions are full of artefacts claimed by nations across the globe. This poses the question of whether it is time for museums to heed the calls to ‘wash [their] hands of blood and return’ everything. Can any country ever legitimately own artefacts of collective historic significance? Can modern states truly lay claim to their countries’ history?



Chika Okeke-Agulu

Artist, curator, and historian specialising in African and African diaspora art history. He is Director of African Studies at Princeton University and was appointed as the Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professor at New York University.


Steph Scholten

Director of the Hunterian Museum. He has previously served as Director of Heritage Collections at the University of Amsterdam, and has worked for the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, and for the National Institute for Conservation in Amsterdam.


Alice Procter

Art historian, art activist, and creator of ‘Uncomfortable Art Tours’, an educational project offering unofficial guided tours exploring the imperial background of major institutions. She also runs a gallery and museum review podcast, ‘The Exhibitionist’.


Stephen Fry

British actor, activist, broadcaster, comedian, director, and writer. He has repeatedly appealed to the British government for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. He has written in support of the #LostMyMarbles campaign on Twitter, and has expressed his wish to see the statues steeped in the ‘blue lights of Greece’.



Gary Vikan

Academic and former Director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has curated a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions, provides consulting services to cultural clients and pursues projects at the intersection of the arts and sciences.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Princeton University Art Museum Seeks Assistant Curator for African Art

The Princeton University Art Museum welcomes applications for an Assistant Curator of African Art. This two-year full-time benefits-eligible appointment will help shape the presentation of African art in new collections galleries in a new building designed by Sir David Adjaye, scheduled to open in late 2024. The curator will report to the chief curator and work in close coordination with the director, curators in other areas, designers, educators, faculty, and others. 

The collection of African art at Princeton—growing regularly through gifts and purchase—includes excellent examples of masks, figures, and other works of art, with particular strengths in the arts of Western and Central Africa. In addition, African and African diasporic photography, modern and contemporary art, and works on paper are represented in the collection. The curator joins us at a dynamic time and will play a key role in the collections’ research, installation, and interpretation. 

As part of broader efforts to present art in global, transhistorical contexts in the new building, the curator will develop checklists, conceptualize installation strategies, and produce didactics for African art, in collaboration with the chief curator, director, educators, and designers. The curator should be well versed in area scholarship and the latest curatorial and museological approaches in African art; they should also be able to tap into a network of specialists for expert consultation, as needed. The curator should have the experience necessary to facilitate the presentation of a range of artistic and community voices in the galleries. The ideal candidate will be able to complete deep object research, including provenance; will embrace the possibilities of an academic museum; and will communicate effectively with scholarly and diverse audiences. The curator will also contribute to new acquisitions, participate in collections-based teaching on campus, respond to collections inquiries, and work with conservators and registrars to address conservation and mount-making needs. 

An advanced degree in art history or a related field is preferred, with strong knowledge of historic material and a minimum of 3 years' meaningful experience developing and implementing exhibitions and collections installations. Fluency in the ethical and legal complexities surrounding the history of the collection, display, and interpretation of African art is critical. Excellent communication and writing skills, including experience preparing didactic materials, are expected, together with a high degree of organization, self-motivation, and attention to detail. The salary range for an assistant curator is $70,000-$90,000. 

To learn more, please visit Interested candidates should apply at

This position is subject to the University’s background check policy. Contact Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until filled. 

Please direct all inquiries and nominations, including letters of interest and resumes, to, in confidence: Chris Newth Associate Director for Collections and Exhibitions, Princeton University Art Museum

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

El Anatsui: The Reinvention of Sculpture, the Book!

Details: Hard Cover, 360 pages, 319 images
Publisher: Damiani
Date: spring 2022


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

New Book on El Anatsui by Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu

Publisher: Damiani, spring 2022
Pages: 360
Illustrations: 319 color
Binding: Hard Cover
Price: $70.00


Friday, January 14, 2022

Postdoctoral Fellowship in African Studies @ Princeton

 Application for Postdoctoral Research Associate

The Program in African Studies (PAS) at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) at Princeton University invites applications for Postdoctoral Research Associate or more senior research positions for the 2022-2023 academic year.  Up to two postdoctoral appointments will be made to exceptional recent PhDs in the humanities, social sciences, interdisciplinary environmental science or engineering, with a focus on African thought, art, media, population, activism, conservation, economics, urban and rural communities, post-colonialism, and other research related to the African continent and its diaspora.  Appointments will be for one year with the possibility of renewal for a second year based on performance and availability of funding.  Applicants must have already demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement and excellence in teaching.  This position is open only to scholars who earned a PhD after September 30, 2016 and who do not currently hold a tenure-track or permanent academic position.

Responsibilities include teaching (one semester-long course each year) and actively participating in research, discussions, and scholarly collaborations within PAS and PIIRS.  In addition, the successful candidate may have the opportunity to advise students in their area of expertise or related areas.  When teaching, the successful candidate will carry a secondary teaching rank.  Any teaching role is contingent on sufficient course enrollment and prior approval from the Dean of the Faculty. 

Appointments will be made through the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS).  In addition to salary and benefits, the program will provide a research fund in the amount of $3,000 per year and office space.  The start date of the position is anticipated to be for the fall 2022 or spring 2023 semester. 

Applicants must apply online at The following application items are required and should be uploaded by the applicant: 

* Cover letter

* Curriculum vitae

* Dissertation abstract

* Writing sample: one chapter of the dissertation or one published article related to the dissertation topic

* Research proposal

* Two course syllabi

* Details of prior courses taught and evaluation results if available

* Names and email addresses for three references

For fullest consideration applicants should apply by March 1, 2022. Due to the anticipated volume of applications, only final candidates will be contacted. Further information about The Program in African Studies can be found at:

Questions about the application process for this position may be directed to Tim Waldron at 

The position is subject to the University's background check policy.