Dr. Suzanne James

AFST Program Chair
Instructor: AFST 370

BA (Honours) UBC, MA UBC, PhD SFU

Office: BuTo 309

Dr. Suzanne James chairs the African Studies Minor program and teaches African, Canadian and Children’s Literature. As well as teaching at UBC for the last 12 years, she has taught in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Romania. Suzanne lived in rural Zimbabwe from 1982-85, and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania between 1991-94 and 1998-2005. Her areas of academic specialization include African women’s writing, post-apartheid South African writing, contemporary Canadian fiction, children’s literature and queer criticism.



Dr. Kofi J. S. Gbolonyo

Instructor: AFST 250A and AFST 352A

Lecturer, African Studies and Music (Ethnomusicology)
Director, UBC African Music and Dance

Dip Ed (Winneba, Gh.), BA (Legon, Gh.), PhD & MA (Pittsburgh)

Office: Buchanan E166

Dr. Kofi J. S. Gbolonyo joined the UBC School of music and the African Studies Minor program as a Visiting Assistant Professor in September, 2009, soon after completing his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology with a Graduate Certificate in African studies, at the University of Pittsburgh. Since joining UBC faculty, he has been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Ethnomusicology and African Studies, founded and directs the UBC African Music and Dance Ensemble.

Kofi Gbolonyo is a scholar, educator, and performer whose primary research, expertise, and educational interests are in West African traditional music and dance, Ewe indigenous knowledge, language and culture, Orff-Schulwerk pedagogy, multicultural music education, Ghanaian brass band and choral music. His scholarship focuses on indigenous knowledge and cultural values in the musical practices of the Ewe and Fon of West Africa.


Dr. Calisto Mudzingwa

Instructor: AFST 450R

BA UZ, BA (Honours) UZ, MPhil UZ, MA RRU; MEd & PhD UBC

Dr. Calisto Mudzingwa immigrated to Canada from Zimbabwe in 2004. Currently, besides teaching at UBC, he works for a non-profit organization that helps immigrants resettle in Canada. Dr. Mudzingwa is an active member of the Zimbabwean Diaspora in Vancouver.  His research interests include Immigrants and the Canadian Labour Market, Canadian Immigration Policies, Migration, Internal Displacements, and African Diaspora, focussing on Southern Africa.



Deena Dinat

Instructor: AFST 351A

Office: Buchanan E166

BA (Hons) University of the Witwatersrand (2012), MA University of British Columbia (2015).

Deena was born in Botswana and raised in South Africa. He is a PhD Candidate in the English Department at UBC, located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded land of the Musqueam people. His dissertation concerns the intersections of the nation, post-colonial capitalism and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.

He also works and writes on photography, film, representations of the city, and eco-criticism.


Dr. Joash Gambarage

Instructor: AFST 308 and AFST 204T

BA (ED), M.A (Linguistics) University of Dar es Salaam; PhD (Linguistics), UBC

Dr. Joash J. Gambarage is originally from Tanzanian and he immigrated to Vancouver Canada in 2010 joining the UBC Linguistics Department as a doctoral student. Dr. Gambarage earned his Ph.D in linguistics in 2019 from UBC. His area of research is syntax, semantics, syntax-semantics, applied linguistics, and language documentation.

He is currently teaching two courses offered in W2: AFST 308: The African languages, and ASTU 204T: Swahili I. He is the winner of the 2021 UBC Public Engagement Award for Sessionals, Post-Doctorals and Graduate Students mainly due to his work with the Swahili Community in BC. You can read more about his community work here.

Affiliated Interdisciplinary Programs Administration

Jason Lieblang

Acting Director of First-Year and Interdisciplinary Programs for Arts

Jennifer Suratos

First-Year & Interdisciplinary Programs Administrator

Winnie Chen

First-Year & Interdisciplinary Programs Coordinator

Doris Xiong

First-Year & Interdisciplinary Programs Systems Coordinator

Amanda Lim

First-Year & Interdisciplinary Programs Assistant

Raven Toth

Student Marketing and Communications Assistant