Duke's global centers & initiatives


Concilium on Southern Africa

Mission Statement

The Concilium on Southern Africa (COSA) is an interdisciplinary network of faculty members committed to widening and deepening relationships between Duke and the countries and peoples of Southern Africa.

COSA offers ongoing opportunities for Duke faculty, students and the local community to engage with issues pertaining to Southern Africa. To this end, COSA

  • Coordinates discussion groups, faculty and student exchanges, and visits to Duke by Southern African scholars, artists and social commentators
  • Provides a forum to share research, reports on student visits, and educational experiences
  • Explores issues relating to Southern Africa through reading groups and lectures
  • Organizes conferences and seminars to expand knowledge of, and deepen relationships with Southern Africa
  • Welcomes faculty members and other professionals in the Triangle interested in engagement with Southern Africa.

Summary of 2020-2021 Programs

In Fall of 2020, COSA virtually hosted Christopher Ouma (University of Cape Town) for a discussion titled, “Es’kia Mphahlele, Chemchemi and Pan-African Literary Publics.” Dr. Ouma addressed Mphahlele’s work from the perspective of his time in exile in Nairobi and his directing of the Chemchemi cultural center for artists and writers.

In the Spring of 2021, COSA co-sponsored two events: “Frank Wilderson: “The Politics of Pessimism in an Anti-Black World” and “‘I Feel, Therefore I can be Free’: Harnessing the power of emotion in writing to heal.” In the latter event, Duke Senior and Spoken Verb President Allayne Thomas facilitated a conversation between Zimbabwean-American poet and Duke Professor of English Tsitsi Jaji and Duke English Ph.D. candidate Nicole Higgins. The night focused on themes ranging from diaspora to womanhood and intimacy, to the meaning of healing, and also celebrated the U.S. release of The History of Intimacy by Gabeba Baderoon and Tsitsi Jaji’s recent collection Mother Tongues.


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