Scholars Profile for John PR Schaefer
Dr. John PR Schaefer
Levey Hall 219, 4200 N. University Blvd., Middletown, OH 45042
Phone: +1 513 727 3204
I am an anthropological folklorist by training. I was born in Ghana, West Africa, and I spent my formative years there, leaving in 1991 at the age of 16. In college I majored in English. I studied abroad in the Czech Republic in 1995. In the late 1990s I spent two summers learning Arabic in Lebanon and visiting Syria and Jordan. I received an MA in anthropology from the University of Arkansas in 2000, having researched and written a thesis on Lebanese in Ghana.
For the PhD in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, I switched from Lebanon/Ghana to Morocco. I studied Moroccan Arabic for two summers in Fes and traveled around the country. I spent a lot of time in the breezy Atlantic tourist town of Essaouira, where I have attended the annual Festival of Gnawa and World Music four times so far. The Gnawa are a loosely affiliated order of lay spiritual healers and musicians concentrated in southern Morocco and descended from West Africans enslaved and brought across the Sahara Desert. Their music sounds like West African roots music, and their healing rituals involve spirit possession and trance dancing. I spent most of 2006 in the industrial city of Tangier, northern Morocco, learning from a Gnawa troupe there.
I taught courses in English composition at Ashland University and in anthropology at the College of Wooster for a couple of years. Then I taught full time for one year each at Hartwick College (NY) and Wake Forest University (NC). After completing my dissertation in 2009 I taught for three years at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. The first half of my time there Egypt was under the rule of Hosni Mubarak, and the last half under military rule following the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.
At Miami I teach courses in anthropology, ethnography, and Middle East and African studies. I am a faculty affiliate in Black World Studies.
Teaching and research interests: