Kassahun Checole

Kassahun Checole

Photo courtesy of: African Studies

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African Studies honors the life and work of a distinguished publisher


The Ohio University African Studies Program will sponsor a symposium, "Concerning the Horn," in honor of Kassahun Checole of the Africa World Press, a well-known publisher across African Studies’ fields, Sept. 28-29.

The program will feature papers by some of the leading scholars on Africa’s northeast corner, often called the "Horn of Africa," including Ahmad Sikianga of the Ohio State University, Lee Cassanelli of the University of Pennsylvania, and Ohio University alumna Asma AbdelHalim of the University of Toledo. Scholars are gathering in Athens to honor Kassahun for his work in expanding the field for more than 30 years.

"In the academy, it is important that we stop and recognize those who have helped us to establish and promote our careers as academics. That is why we put this symposium together," said Director of African Studies Steve Howard.

Howard said he hopes that the symposium will enhance critical understanding of events in the complex Horn of Africa region, which includes Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.

Kassahun grew up in Eritrea, then a colonized province of Ethiopia. He came to the United States in the early 1970s – a time of great turmoil in his home region. After studying at U.S. universities, Kassahun moved into publishing in the 1980s, establishing one of the first presses with an extensive African Studies catalog.

"Kassahun Checole has been instrumental in decolonizing African scholarship worldwide by publishing African writers and academics whose voice wouldn’t have been otherwise heard," said Associate Director of African Studies Ghirmai Negash. "As one of the oldest programs in the nation, it is therefore appropriate for Ohio University to honor his life and work this way."