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Allen F. Roberts, Professor

Professor (affiliated), UCLA Dept of French and Francophone Studies

Theories of Culture, Visual Cultures, Comparative Religion, Africa and Its Diasporas

 

Office: Kaufman 130E [note: no office phone]

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professor Roberts Curriculum Vitae

Although my graduate training was in socio-cultural Anthropology, with a BA from Amherst College, MA and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago, and a postdoc in the University of Michigan Society of Fellows, I have worn a lot of different hats ever since. Early on, I spent a summer as a gandy dancer on the Alaska Railroad, replacing and lining track after the horrific 1964 earthquake; participated in a prehistoric archaeology project in France; and took a year off from college to teach middle school in the Republic of Chad, returning to the same country after college as a Peace Corps Volunteer (see http://spotlight.ucla.edu/peace-corps-50th/allen-f-roberts).

At the University of Chicago my PhD advisor was the late Victor Turner, a noted theorist of ritual, religion, and performance studies; and I conducted 45 months of dissertation research on symbolic systems and local-level politics along the southwestern shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. My monograph in historical ethnography, A Dance of Assassins: Performing Early Colonial Hegemony in the Congo (2013, Indiana University Press) is based upon this research, as are my many writings on arts and expressive cultures of central Africa.

As my teaching career began at the University of Michigan and Albion College, I donned another hat through grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to study social impacts of renewable energy technology applications in developing countries. Research in Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Gabon, Guyana, Kenya, Tunisia, the Marshall Islands, and Zimbabwe ensued. Museum-based projects also took me to Bénin, Mali, and a number of European countries, and funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities led to a book and traveling exhibition based upon my doctoral research that opened at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. More recently, I taught at the University of Iowa where I co-founded a foundation-funded Project for Advanced Study of Art and Life in Africa and directed the African Studies Program.

Since coming to UCLA in 1999, my interests have ranged from art and AIDS awareness to Islamic mysticism in Africa, the anthropology of architecture to African vernacular photographies, local-level politics to ritual processes. For the last twenty-plus years, my spouse, Dr. Mary “Polly” Nooter Roberts (Professor of World Arts and Cultures and an Africanist art historian at UCLA) and I have conducted research, co-authored books, and curated thematic museum exhibitions together. Our projects include Memory: Luba Art and the Making of History, seen at a number of museums in the late 1990s; and A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal (see http://www.fowler.ucla.edu/passporttoparadise.htm) that traveled to six institutions in the mid-2000s. New projects include a study of visual practices associated with the South Asian saint Shirdi Sai Baba, based upon our field research in Germany, Ghana, India, and especially the Indian-Ocean republic of Mauritius (see www.shirdisaibabavirtualsaint.org). I am also curating an exhibition called “Striking Iron: Arts of the African Blacksmith” with art historians Henry Drewal (Wisconsin) and Bill Dewey (Penn State), and the noted blacksmith Tom Joyce, that will be sponsored by the UCLA Fowler Museum. More hats.

My teaching at UCLA concerns theories of culture, myth and ritual, visual cultures, space and place; and I maintain interest and offer occasional courses in African Studies. Interdisciplinary approaches are the watchword—and being able to wear many different hats!

 

 

 

 

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Fri Apr 27 @ 8:00PM
MFA3 Sai / In Between
Sat Apr 28 @ 8:00PM
MFA3 Sai / In Between
Thu May 10 @ 4:30PM
Jack Gray Regents Lecture
Fri May 18 @ 8:00PM
InSight
Maya Zellman

Maya Zellman

Meet Maya Zellman (WACD BA 2005) of Maya’s Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets in Sherman Oaks featured i...
Elyan Hill - Ghana

Elyan Hill - Ghana

This past summer from August 9-13th a couple of WAC/D students and a student who graduated from the...
Jeremy Peretz - AAA Prize

Jeremy Peretz - AAA Prize

  One of our great Culture and Performance PhD students, Jeremy Peretz, has just won second pri...
Dr. Neelima Jeychandran - Indian Ocean

Dr. Neelima Jeychandran - Indian Ocean

 Recent Culture and Performance PhD, Dr. Neelima Jeychandran, will participate in the UCLA Fowl...
Christy Bolingbroke

Christy Bolingbroke

 It isn't every day—or year, or even decade—that a dedicated choreography incubator opens i...
Wong @ Harvard

Wong @ Harvard

Kristina Wong - The Toast of HarvardI’ve returned from a spectacular mini-tour of Portland and Bos...
Cari Ann Shim Sham ~ NYU

Cari Ann Shim Sham ~ NYU

Cari Ann Shim Sham, New Media Artist & Award Winning Filmmaker, Joins NYU Tisch Dance ...
Sara Wookey London

Sara Wookey London

Tribute to 2016 In a season of reflection I share a few of the highlights of 2016 which marked my s...
Neima Patterson awarded Extra Innings Fellowship

Neima Patterson awarded Extra Innings Fellowship

WACD alum Neima Patterson award Extra Innings Fellowship. The Extra Innings Fellowship Program ...
WACD alum Negeen Farida ~ Harvard University

WACD alum Negeen Farida ~ Harvard University

"My passion for dance and the human mind inspired my studies in World Arts and Cultures/Dance as wel...
Last month April 2018 Next month
S M T W T F S
week 14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
week 15 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
week 16 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
week 17 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
week 18 29 30

Fri Apr 27 @ 8:00PM
MFA3 Sai / In Between
Sat Apr 28 @ 8:00PM
MFA3 Sai / In Between
Thu May 10 @ 4:30PM
Jack Gray Regents Lecture
Fri May 18 @ 8:00PM
InSight
Maya Zellman

Maya Zellman

Meet Maya Zellman (WACD BA 2005) of Maya’s Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets in Sherman Oaks featured i...
Elyan Hill - Ghana

Elyan Hill - Ghana

This past summer from August 9-13th a couple of WAC/D students and a student who graduated from the...
Jeremy Peretz - AAA Prize

Jeremy Peretz - AAA Prize

  One of our great Culture and Performance PhD students, Jeremy Peretz, has just won second pri...
Dr. Neelima Jeychandran - Indian Ocean

Dr. Neelima Jeychandran - Indian Ocean

 Recent Culture and Performance PhD, Dr. Neelima Jeychandran, will participate in the UCLA Fowl...
Christy Bolingbroke

Christy Bolingbroke

 It isn't every day—or year, or even decade—that a dedicated choreography incubator opens i...
Wong @ Harvard

Wong @ Harvard

Kristina Wong - The Toast of HarvardI’ve returned from a spectacular mini-tour of Portland and Bos...
Cari Ann Shim Sham ~ NYU

Cari Ann Shim Sham ~ NYU

Cari Ann Shim Sham, New Media Artist & Award Winning Filmmaker, Joins NYU Tisch Dance ...
Sara Wookey London

Sara Wookey London

Tribute to 2016 In a season of reflection I share a few of the highlights of 2016 which marked my s...
Neima Patterson awarded Extra Innings Fellowship

Neima Patterson awarded Extra Innings Fellowship

WACD alum Neima Patterson award Extra Innings Fellowship. The Extra Innings Fellowship Program ...
WACD alum Negeen Farida ~ Harvard University

WACD alum Negeen Farida ~ Harvard University

"My passion for dance and the human mind inspired my studies in World Arts and Cultures/Dance as wel...