PhD candidate Dave Bresnahan’s first taste of African Studies was through the work of Philip Curtin, one of the founders of the African Studies Program at UW-Madison. Since then, Dave has never looked back. He has traversed the kaya forests of Kenya’s coast, studied Mijikenda-speaking communities’ entanglements with the Indian Ocean, and even served as outreach coordinator at the African Studies Program. He shares his favorite parts of Madison and his post-dissertation plans.
Field of study: History
Hometown: Cinnaminson, NJ
What brought you to Madison?
The African history program, fried cheese curds, pond hockey. In that order.
What sparked your interest in Africa?
I went to small college without an Africanist historian so I did not have any opportunity to study African history as an undergrad. Luckily, my advisor assigned some of Philip Curtin’s work on the Atlantic world in an American historiography class. Curtin, as many know, was one of the founders of the African Studies Program at UW-Madison. That led me to start reading African history books (and a lot of African literature as well) on my own. It was not long before I started thinking about going to graduate school to study African history.