Gwendolyn Mikell

Gwendolyn Mikell
Gwendolyn Mikell
305 ICC


Gwendolyn Mikell is Professor of Anthropology and Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She served as Director of the African Studies Program in the School of Foreign Service from 1996-2007, and she was Senior Fellow for African Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2000 – 2003. She has been President of the African Studies Association, U.S.A. (1996-97), Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and a Fellow at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana-Legon, St. Augustine University in Tanzania, Institute for Social Research at the University of Natal in Durban- South Africa, and the Institute for Developing Economies in Tokyo. She is a member of numerous international and professional organizations.

As a political and economic anthropologist, her research interests are in African political and economic transitions, democratization and peace, and the political /religious dynamics of African women’s organizations. She has been involved on Ghanaian and Nigerian issues for many years, both through research and practice. She has been a consultant on the Carter Center’s election initiative in Ghana in 2008, and on election observation missions there since 1992; and she has worked on Nigeria through research, through the U.S. State Department’s ‘Dialogue on Islam in Nigeria,’ and through all election observation missions in Nigeria since 1999. She is the author of numerous articles and two books – Cocoa and Chaos in Ghana (1982, 2005) and African Feminism: The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa (1997); and her forthcoming book project follows Kofi Annan’s initiatives on Africa 1997-2006. She holds the B.A. in Sociology from the Univ. of Chicago; the M.A. & Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University, and a certificate in French from the National University of Cote d’Ivoire.

Areas of Expertise: Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, political transitions, economic transitions, African women, African feminism, globalization, the United Nations, and African-American education after desegregation.

  • Ph.D. (1975) Columbia University, Anthropology
  • M.A. Columbia University, Anthropology
  • B.A. University of Chicago, Sociology


Books and Edited Publications

2009- The Kofi A. Annan Legacy for Africa (300 pp. book manuscript in process)

2005 Cocoa and Chaos in Ghana. Millennium Edition, Washington DC: Howard University Press. (Original Paperback 2nd edition, Washington DC: Howard University Press, 1992).

1997 (Ed) African Feminism: The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa (Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press).

1989 Cocoa and Chaos in Ghana. Original Hardback edition, New York: Paragon House Press.

1985 Gwendolyn Mikell (ed), Rural Africana, Special issue on African Women and Development in the 1980's, v. 19, No. 2, Winter. Includes G. Mikell article "Expansion and Contraction in Economic Opportunity for Rural Women in Ghana" pp. 1 30.

Selected Published Articles

2013 “Kofi Annan: The Soft Spoken Prophet” in Adekeye Adebajo (Ed), Africa’s Peacemakers: Nobel Laureates of African Descent. London and NY: ZED Press and the Center for Conflict Resolution, Capetown (2013 and 2014).

2013 “In 2020, the DRC will be…”, Mikell commentary in Global Brief, Strategic Futures, the Glendon School of International and Public Affairs, Canada [] March 2013.

2011 “Studying Africa: Then and Now,” Journal of the General Anthropology Division, American Anthropological Association. Fall 2011.

2009 “Nigeria On the Brink? A Rejoiner,” Gwendolyn Mikell and Howard Jeter,, Huffington Post, Sahara, The Punch, etc. August/September.

2009 “Africa Policy in an Era of Franco-American Cooperation,” in Michel Foucher and Daniel Hamilton (Ed), France, America and the World, Fondation Robert Schuman, Center for TransAtlantic Relations, SAIS-Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC.

2008 “A Woman You Can Trust: Female Leadership in Africa, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Winter Issue.

“Players, Policies and Prospects: Nigeria-US Relations,” in Adekeye Adebajo and Abdul Raufu Mustapha (Eds), Gulliver’s Troubles: Nigeria’s Foreign Policy After the Cold War. Scottsville SA: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. Pp. 281-313.

Gwendolyn Mikell, Jeanne Maddox, and Vivian Lowery Derryck, Empowerment of Women in Africa: Gender Equality and Women’s Leadership, The British Embassy, Policy Paper, Washington DC, April.

2007 “Africa II: Feminism, Sub-Saharan,” in Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, CT: Macmillan.

2005 “Working From Within: Nigerian Women and Conflict Resolution,” Georgetown Journal of
International Affairs, volume VI, number 2, Summer/Fall 2005.

“Women, Gender, and the Military: Sub-Saharan Africa,” Entry 2.065.E, Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (Netherlands: E.J. Brill) Winter .

2004 “African Women: Globalization and Peacebuilding from the Bottom Up,” SOULS: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, NY: Columbia University, June Vol. 6, No.2.

2003 “African Foreign Affairs Dialogue With The U.S.: Education For Democracy, Chimera, Vol. 1, No.2., pp. 2-15, USA/Africa Institute, Summer 2003.

2001 “Critical Bilateral U.S. Relations in Africa: Nigeria and South Africa,” with Princeton Lymon (Chp 6), in J. Stephen Morrison and Jennifer G. Cook (ed), Africa Policy in the Clinton Years: Critical Choices for the Bush Administration (Washington DC: CSIS Significant Issues Series).

2000 “Women Mobilizing for Peace: African-American Responses to African Crises” International Journal on World Peace, vol. 17, no.1, March 2000, pp. 61-84.

1999 “Forging Mutuality: ASA and Africa in the Coming Decades,” African Studies Review, vol.34, no.2, pp 1-24.

1998 “It Must be a Mutually Beneficial Partnership: Africa and the U.S. Transportation Relationship,” in The Tie That Binds: The U.S. Transportation Relationship in the 1990s, Conference Report, U.S. Department of Transportation, October 8, 1997.

1997 “Ethnic Particularism and New State Legitimacy in West Africa,” Tulsa Journal of Comparative and International Law, vol. 23 no. 1.

1996 "Global Formulae, Local Responses: Rural Economic Differentiation in Ghana," in Aguibou Y. Yansane (ed), Prospects for Recovery and Sustainable Development in Africa (Westport: Greenwood Press) pp.184-199.

1995 "African Structural Adjustment: Women and Legal Challenges," St. John's Law Review, vol. 69, no. 1-2, Winter-Spring, pp 7-26.

1995 "African Women's Rights in the Context of Systemic Conflict," Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, 89th Annual Meeting, New York City.

"African Feminism: Towards a New Politics of Representation," Feminist Studies, v. 21, no.2:405-424. [Republished in Seung-kyung Kim and Carole McCann (ed), Feminist Theory: Core Concepts, Lived Differences, Global Perspectives, 2002].

1994 "The State, the Courts, and Value: Caught between Matrilineages in Ghana," in Jane Guyer (ed), Money Matters: Instability, Values and Social Payments in the Modern History of West African Communities (Portsmouth NH: Heinemann).

"Using the Courts to Obtain Relief: Akan Women and Family Courts in Ghana," Fatima Meer (ed), Poverty in the 1990s: The Responses of Urban Women (UNESCO and The International Social Science Council).

1993 "Advancing Towards a Coherent U.S. Policy Towards Africa," in 'Effects of the New World Order on the Third World', American Journal of International Law, Proceedings of the 87th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, Washington DC, Mar/Apr, pp.37-60.

1992 "Culture, Law, and Social Policy: Changing the Economic Status of Women in Ghana," Yale Journal of International Law, vol. 17, no.