Brief Resume

David Wiley specializes in social ecology of Africa and its environment (rural and urban), the political economy of Africa and African militarization, social inequality, social movements, social stratification and religion, and internationalization of higher education. His major research projects include:

  • the militarization of Africa
  • community mobilization on environment and development in South Africa
  • socio-economic impacts of biological change on Lake Victoria (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania)
  • stratification and religion in the U.S. and Zambia
  • African urbanization and housing
  • sociology of racial, ethnic, and national stereotyping

Previously, Wiley was director of the MSU African Studies Center (1978 - 2008), chaired the African Studies Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison (1972 - 1977), was a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Zambia, and in the 1960s, worked in race relations in the U.S. and in "Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

In the 1960s through the 1990s, Wiley participated in the movement for decolonization in Southern Africa and the anti-apartheid movement both nationally and at MSU. He has been a member of the Higher Education Forum of the U.S./South Africa Bi-National Commission and in 1994-96 was a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar in Durban, South Africa, working on community organizations mobilizing for change. He also is constructing websites and programs on U.S., MSU, and South African university partnerships. (See,, and

In 1998-99, Wiley was President of the African Studies Association. He has served as chairperson of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Advisory Committee for International Programs as well as international committees of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Sociological Association. Until 2009, he was co-chairperson of the Council of Directors of Title VI National Resource Centers, for more than 100 U.S. foreign language and area studies National Resource Centers. He has been co-chairperson of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars, a national organization seeking to influence U.S. foreign policy. He has been Vice-Chairperson of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, chairing delegations to UNESCO-Paris, Greece, and Spain.


  • Princeton (University and Seminary), Ph.D. in Sociology and Sociology of Religion, 1971
  • University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now University of Zimbabwe), 1961-63 Program in Social Anthropology of social change, law, and ethnography
  • Yale University, Divinity School, 1957-61, M.Div. (religion and higher education)
  • Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, 1953-57, B.A. (zoology and chemistry)
  • The African Studies Center

    The African Studies Center at MSU is perhaps the most comprehensive in the United States. Established in 1960, the Center's research capabilities, including one of the largest research libraries on Africa in the nation, have produced information about Africa for scholars of Africa, policy-makers, publishers and the media, foreign service officials, and the public throughout the country. The Center is designated as a National Resource Center on Africa by the United States Department of Education and receives a portion of its funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Act.

    The Center's main function is to encourage graduate and undergraduate instruction and research about African society, politics, economy, history, arts, languages, literature, health, education, and agriculture. The Center links more than 150 faculty on campus who have conducted research, taught, and offered development assistance in Africa. For the past decade, Africanists at MSU produced more Ph.D. dissertations on Africa and more study abroad programs in Africa than any other North American university.


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