Montage of African Textiles

Martha Saavedra, PhD, Associate Director

Martha SaavedraMartha Saavedra has been with the Center for African Studies since 1993. Trained as a Political Scientist, she has taught at St. Mary’s College of California, Ohio University, the Escuela de Estudios Universitarios Real Madrid and UC Berkeley, mostly recently in Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Graduate School of Journalism. She has published research on agrarian politics and ethnic conflict in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, representations of Africa in Chinese popular culture, and various pieces on football, gender, and sport in Africa. At the Center, she oversees public programs and fellowships, and works closely with the African languages program among other things. She has been on the editorial boards of Soccer and Society; Sport in Society; and Impumelelo: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Sports in Africa. A veteran of Title IX battles, she has played soccer for most of her life and has coached for over 14 years.

Selected Research and Publications:

"Derartu Tulu," "Maria Mutola," and "Kenenisa Bekele" in Dictionary of African Biography. Edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Emmanuel Akyeampong. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Co-editor with Susann Baller, “Les terrains politiques du football,” Special Issue of Politique Africaine, no. 118, June 2010. (Also available on

With Susann Baller, « La politique du football en Afrique : mobilisations et trajectoires », in Politique Africaine, no. 118, June 2010. (Also available on

Co-editor with Julia Strauss, China and Africa: Emerging Patterns in Globalization and Development, Cambridge University Press, 2010, including two chapters:  “Introduction: China, Africa and Internationalization.” and “Representations of Africa in a Hong Kong Soap Opera: The Limits of Enlightened Humanitarianism in ‘The Last Breakthrough.’” This is a special issue, 199, September 2009, of The China Quarterly.

With Marianne Meier. “Esther Phiri and the Moutawakel effect in Zambia: an analysis of the use of female role models in sport-for-development.” Sport in Society Vol. 12, no. 9: 1158-1176, November 2009.

"Dilemmas and Opportunities in Gender and Sport-in-development." Chapter 6 in Sport and International Development, ed. Roger Levermore and Aaron Beacom, Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

“Women, Islam, Gender, Sports and the Female Body: Sub-Saharan Africa” (long version) A Mulher em África: Vozes de uma Margem sempre Presente, Editors: Inocência Mata & Laura Padilha, Lisboa: Edições Colibri / CEA-FLUL (Centro de Estudos Africanos da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa.), 2007.

Excavating the Field” on The Global Game: Making space on a ‘crooked field’ by John Turnbull. Included in blog entry September 20, 2007.

“Women, Gender, Sports and the Female Body: Sub-Saharan Africa,” in The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, Volume 3: Family, Body, Sexuality and Health. Editor: Suad Joseph. Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.

Women, Sport, and Development,” on Learn More pages, Sport and Development International Platform, Swiss Academy for Development, May 2005.

“Gender and Sports,” in A Companion to Gender Studies, eds. Philomena Essed, Audrey Kobayashi, and David Theo Goldberg. Blackwell Press, 2005.

Football Feminine: The Development of the African Game,” in Soccer, Women, Sexual Liberation: Kicking off a New Era, Editors: F. Hong and J.A Mangan, Frank Cass: London/Portland OR, 2004. First published as a special edition of Soccer and Society, Vol. 4, Nos 2/3. Autumn/Fall 2003.

“Ethnicity, Resources and the Central State: Politics in the Nuba Mountains, 1950 to the 1990s,” in, Kordofan Invaded: Peripheral Incorporation and Sectoral Transformation in Islamic Africa, 1785-1995, edited by Michael Kevane and Endre Stiansen; E.J. Brill: Leiden, 1998.

Select Courses:

Center for African Studies
Stephens Hall, Room 356
University of California
Berkeley, California 94720-2314 USA

Tel: 510.642.8338
Email: martha AT

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