News & Events

Mafazy to Address Honors Convocation

Rebecca
 Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy

April 6, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University will hold its annual Honors Convocation on Wednesday, April 12, at 11 a.m. in Westbrook Auditorium.

Honors Convocation is dedicated to the Class of 2017 as well as IWU students who have earned academic and activity honors. The 2018 winner of the Kemp Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, the university’s highest teaching honor, will be announced at the Honors Convocation.

Professor of Anthropology Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy, the 2017 recipient of the Kemp Award, will deliver the keynote address entitled “Curiosity and What to Make of It.”

She takes an interdisciplinary approach (visual anthropology, history, and performance studies) to her research on non-Western expressive arts, including music and dance traditions. Mafazy’s research interest in East Africa began when she was a Mount Holyoke College undergraduate in 1987. She has lived frequently in East Africa, primarily among the Swahili peoples of the Kenyan coast. She is co-editor of Contesting Identities: The Mijikenda and their Neighbors in Kenyan Coastal Society (Africa World Press: 2013) and the author of numerous scholarly papers.

Mafazy has an undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida. She joined the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan in 1999. She has served as chair of the department of anthropology and sociology, and on numerous university and departmental committees. Mafazy regularly mentors students conducting independent ethnographic research, whether at the introductory level or in the upper-level visual anthropology course.