Associate Professor
Africana Studies / Women’s and Gender Studies / African Literatures and Cultures

Office Hours: T/TH 10:00 - 10:45 AM, 12:30 - 1:45 PM

Courses Fall 2017: ENG 222: Introduction to African Oral Literature

Education
PhD, Binghamton University
Graduate Certificate, Feminist Theory, Binghamton University
MA, Binghamton University
B.Ed., Egerton University

Specializations
Critical African studies; decolonial and indigenous knowledges; Africana, transnational and subaltern feminisms; queer African studies; and motherhood studies, feminist theory

Courses Fall 2016
Advanced Studies in African Literature: Gender and Sexuality in the African Novel
Theory and Performance Studies.

Selected Publications
Muhonja Besi Brillian and Wanda Thomas Bernard, Eds. Mothers and Sons: Centering Mother Knowledge. Ontario: Demeter Press, 2016.

Muhonja, Besi Brillian. Performing Girlhood and Womanhood: Rituals of Kenya's Twenty-First Century Middle Class. New Lanham: Lexington Books (imprint of Rowman & Littlefield). (Forthcoming, 2017)

Muhonja, Besi Brillian. Turn Down the Noise on Silence. New York: Africa Resource Press. (Forthcoming, 2016)

Muhonja, Besi Brillian. “Mothering at Intersections: Centering Mother Knowledge.” Mothers and Sons: Centering Mother Knowledge, Eds. Muhonja Besi Brillian and Wanda Thomas Bernard. Ontario: Demeter Press, 2016.

Muhonja, Besi Brillian. “Our Sons.” Mothers and Sons: Centering Mother Knowledge, Eds. Muhonja Besi Brillian and Wanda Thomas Bernard. Ontario: Demeter Press, 2016.

Muhonja, Besi Brillian. “Gender, Archiving and Recognition: Naming and Erasing in Nairobi’s Cityscape.” Kenya after Fifty: Education, Gender and Sports, Eds. M. M. Kithinji, M. M. Koster and J. P. Rotich. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Muhonja, Besi Brillian. “For My Children.” Mothers, Mothering and Sex Work, Eds. Rebecca Bromwich and Monique Marie DeJong. Ontario: Demeter Press, 2015.

Muhonja, Besi Brillian and Gillianne O. “Emotions, displacement and the New Kenyan.” Contentious Politics in Africa: Identity, Conflict, and Social Change, Eds. Toyin Falola and Shadrack Nasong’o. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2015.

Tushabe, wa Tushabe and Besi Brillian Muhonja. “Mothers’ Decision Making Power: A New Vision for Working with Internally Displaced Persons.” Mothers Under Fire: Mothering in Conflict Areas, Eds. Arlene Sgoutas  and Tatjana Takševa. Ontario: Demeter Press, 2015.

Muhonja, Besi Brillian and Oby Obyerodhyambo. "If He Is a Man then What are We?" Mandela: Tributes to a Global Icon. Ed. Toyin Falola. Carolina Academic Press, 2014.

Muhonja, Besi Brillian. "Race and Social Islands in Kenya’s Urban Spaces." African Culture and Global Politics. Ed. Toyin Falola and Danielle Sanchez. Taylor & Francis/Routledge, 2014.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi, Ed. “Chronicles of Mothering.” JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, 2013.

Muhonja, Besi Brillian. “Teaching Moments and Negotiating Motherhood.” JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, 2013.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi. “Where is Motherhood Studies in Africana Studies.” JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, 2013.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi and Gillianne Obaso. “Emotions, Displacement and the New Kenyan. Kenya Studies Review, vol. 4, no. 4, 2012.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi, and David Owusu-Anash, Eds. “Africa at the Crossroads.” West Africa Review, vol. 1, no. 19, 2011.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi. “Up and Down Purity.” JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, vol. 1, no. 18, 2011.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi. “Methali Set I,” Kiswahili Story Database, 2011.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi and David Owusu-Ansah. “Editorial: Africa at the Crossroads.” West Africa Review, vol. 1, no. 19, 2011.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi, Ed. “Human Rights: Thirty Years After CEDAW.” JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, vol. 1, no. 15, 2009.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi. “Editorial: Issues on CEDAW.” JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, vol. 1, no. 15, 2009.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi. “She Loved and She Ruled That Kitchen: Space and Autonomy in Kenyan Societies.” JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, vol. 1, no. 15, 2009.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi. “Ogu Ndem: Aggressive Silence.” JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies, vol. 1, no. 13, 2009.

Muhonja, Brillian Besi. “Notes Towards a Research in African Feminist Theater.” West Africa Review, vol. 1, no. 12, 2008.

Editor/Curator, Database
Muhonja, Brillian Besi, Ed. Kiswahili Story Database, 2013 - 2014. (5 Issues)

Muhonja, Brillian Besi, Ed. Kiswahili Story Database, 2009 - 2012. (10 Issues)

Professional and Editorial Service
Series Co-editor, Critical African Studies in Gender and Sexuality, Lexington (Rowman and Littlefield)

Advisory Board, Michigan State University Press Ruth Simms Hamilton African Diaspora Series

Editorial Board, Journal for East and central African Studies (JECASA).

Founder Member/Board Member. Project for African Decolonial and Indigenous Knowledges (PADIK).

Database Editor & Curator, Kiswahili Story Database.

Conferences Convened
“REVOLUTION: Reclaiming Tradition, Redefining Change in Africa and the Diaspora.” The 4th Annual James Madison University Africana Studies Interdisciplinary Conference, October 17-18, 2013.

“Greening the Diaspora: Dispersing Seeds, Growing Cultures.” The 4th Annual James Madison University Africana Studies Interdisciplinary Conference, October 18-19, 2012.

“Folk Culture: Morphing the World's Cultural Face.” The 3rd Annual James Madison University Africana Studies Interdisciplinary Conference, October 20-21, 2011.

“Shifting the Map of Innovation: Focus on the Africana World.” Africana Studies Annual Interdisciplinary Conference, James Madison University, October 22, 2010.

“Africa at the Crossroads: Where Do We Go from Here?” Africana Studies Symposium, James Madison University, October 8, 2009.

Selected Conference Presentations \ Speaking Engagements
 “Utu and Taboo: The Language of Self-Policing.” International Society for Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA), University of Florida, Gainesville, March 25-28, 2016.

“Usichana wa Ubabi: Deconstructing Transnational Kenyan Girlhood.” Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures Annual Conference, James Madison University, April 14-15, 2016.

Panelist, “Roundtable: Uhuru's Kenya: Back to Jomo?” 58th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, San Diego, November 19 - 22, 2015

 “Emerging Voices in African Women Studies.” International Symposium of the Dakar Institute of African Studies on “Valorizing African Cultural Heritage and Thought in the 21st Century.”  Dakar, Senegal, July 3-4, 2015.

 “Ubuntu and the Language of Self-Policing.” Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures Annual Conference, James Madison University, April 8-9, 2015.

 “Motherhood and the Currency of Names and Naming.” International Journal of Arts and Sciences, University of Las Vegas, March 16-20, 2015.

 “The Location of African Motherhood at the Frontier of Motherhood Studies and Praxis of New-Age Motherhood.” International Academy of Linguistics, Behavioral, and Social Sciences, November 13-15, Orlando, Florida, April 8-9, 2014.

“Gender, Archiving and Recognition: Naming and Erasing in Nairobi’s Cityscape.” Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures Annual Conference, James Madison University, April 3-4, 2014.

“Kiswahili: Lugha, Utamaduni na Ufundishaji wa Lugha (Kiswahili: Language, Culture and Teaching).” 38th Annual Conference of New York African Studies Association at SUNY-Binghamton: “Global Africa, Triple Heritage and Pax Africana: Looking Back and Looking Forward,” Binghamton University, April 5-6, 2013.

“Africanizing Theatre in the Post-Colony: The Question of Gender.” Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures Annual Conference, James Madison University, March 21-22, 2013.

 “Gender in the Political and Editorial News and Images.” The 55th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association: “Research Frontiers in the Study of Africa”. Philadelphia, November 29-Dec 1, 2012.

“Gender, Debate, Images and Symbols in Visual Statements.” International Academy of Linguistics, Behavioral, and Social Sciences Annual Conference, Washington, DC, November 15–18, 2012.

“Recasting Perceptions of Gender in the Kenyan Folktale.” Annual International Interdisciplinary Conference held at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Nairobi, Kenya, June 26 -30, 2012.

“Single, Experiencing Motherhood and Redefining Family.” International Conference for Social Sciences. Paris, France, April 16-19, 2012.

“Recasting Perceptions of Gender in the Kenyan Folktale.”  Social Sciences and Arts Conference.  University of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 13-16, 2012.

“Applying A Critical African Feminisms Approach to Interrogating Indigenous Narratives.”  The 6th Annual Diversity Conference: “Diversity: Avenues for Engagement”. Festival Conference and Student Center James Madison University, March 19, 2012.

“Marriage and Other Attempted Contracts.” Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures Annual Conference: “Diasporas Changing the World”, James Madison University, March 22-23, 2012.

“Diminished, Deferred and Denied Motherhood.”  The 54th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association: “50 Years of African Liberation”. Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC, November 17-19, 2011.

“Symbolism and Aesthetics in Visual Culture.” Annual James Madison University Africana Studies Interdisciplinary Conference, “Folk Culture: Morphing The World's Cultural Face.” October 20th – 21st, 2011 (Discussant).

“Performed Social Integration: The Islands of Kenya’s Urban Social Scene.” Association for Global Business / International Academy of Linguistics, Behavioral, and Social Sciences Annual Conference, New Orleans, November 11–13, 2010.

“Oceania Through Our Eyes: A Student Panel.” JMU International Week, 28th September 2010 (Discussant).

“The Missing Africana Princess.” 8th Conference of the International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA): “Indigenous Knowledges and Intellectual Property Rights in the Age of Globalization”, Mombasa, Kenya, 15 – 19 July 2010.

“From Bollywood to Riverwood: Female Characters in Emerging Film Industries.” 35h Annual Conference of New York African Studies Association at SUNY-Binghamton: “Global Africa, Global-Asia: Africa and Asia in the Age of Globalization,” Binghamton University - March 26-27, 2010.

“Gender and the Reproduction of Western World Stereotypes on East African Television.” Foreign Languages, literatures and Cultures Annual Conference: “East meets West”, James Madison University - March 25-26, 2010.

“Light on The Body: The Gendered Body in Kenyan Soap Operas.” Africa at a Crossroads, African Studies Association 2009 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, November 19-22, 2009.

“Lipi Jibu?” Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures Annual Conference: “Power and its Influences,” James Madison University, April 2-3, 2009.

“Reply to Zenzele, A Letter for My Daughter.” Women, Home and Nation: Private and Public Spaces, 17th Annual Conference, Binghamton University (SUNY), March 14-15, 2008.

“Reclaiming the Identity of the “Traditional” African Kitchen.” 2007 Annual EGO Conference: As I Imagine: Fantasy, Identity, Politics, University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida, October 18-19, 2007.

"The Lacuna in African Political Theater: Re-discovering a Feminist Theater,” African and African-American Popular Culture Conference, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire, October 5-6, 2007.

Moderator, “Protest Drama, Performance, and Feminist African / American Theater.” African and African-American Popular Culture Conference, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, New Hampshire, October 5-6, 2007.

Grants
Project Global Officers Grant, Institute for International Education, ROTC Language & Culture Project. RENEWAL. Key Personnel, August 2012– August 2013; $404,035.

Project GO Grant, Institute for International Education and Department of Defense.  RENEWAL.  Co-Principal Investigator with Lee Sternberger, Giuliana Fazzion, Jennifer Coffman, and Bob Pettit.  August 2011 – July 2012; $251,759.

Project GO Grant, Institute of International Education.  Co-Principal Investigator with Lee Sternberger, Giuliana Fazzion, Rodney Lusher, and Jennifer Coffman.  Funding for intensive Kiswahili programs, full scholarships for ROTC cadets for the Kenya Field School, speaker series, and cultural awareness and sensitivity training.  August 2009 – July 2011; $493,458.

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