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Our Team

Headshot of Joel Cabrita

Joel Cabrita

Susan Ford Dorsey Director, Center for African Studies

Joel Cabrita is a historian of modern Southern Africa who focuses on Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and South Africa and an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. She examines the transnational networks of the Southern African region including those which connect Southern Africans to the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. 

Her most recent book (The People’s Zion: Southern Africa, the United States and a Transatlantic Faith-Healing Movement, Harvard University Press, 2018) investigates the convergence of evangelical piety, transnational networks and the rise of industrialized societies in both Southern Africa and North America.  The People's Zion was awarded the American Society of Church History's Albert C Outler Prize for 2019  She is also the co-editor of a volume examining the global dimensions of Christian practice, advocating for a shift away from Western Christianity to the lateral connections connecting southern hemisphere religious practitioners (Relocating World Christianity, Brill, 2017). Read more about her work here.
Cabrita did her PhD at the University of Cambridge and was subsequently a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. Before moving to Stanford, she held permanent posts at SOAS (University of London) and the University of Cambridge. Her research has been recognized by two major early-career research prizes, the British Arts and Humanities Early Career Research Fellowship (2015) and the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2017).


Brenda Mutuma

Program Coordinator
Phone: (650) 736-6253
Office: 127 Encina Commons

Brenda Mutuma is the newest, yet secretly one of the oldest, members of the CAS team. She graduated from Stanford in 2013, with a B.A. in Political Science. During her time at Stanford, she received an Africa Service Fellowship to work with Heifer International in Uganda, served as a CAS student program assistant, and was the spark and driving force that built a student garden at Ujamaa residence. Before joining CAS as the program coordinator, Brenda worked at the USDA, organizing farmers and state officials to fight food insecurity across the country. Brenda also worked at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco, providing life resources and case management for people transitioning from homelessness. Brenda is committed to creating more just, inclusive, and healthy environments. Brenda loves music and stargazing, and is also passionate about creative writing.

Laura Hubbard

Associate Director
Phone: (650) 723-0295
Office: 127 Encina Commons
Discipline(s): Anthropology

Laura Hubbard, PhD, UC Berkeley, is an anthropologist of youth, media and popular culture. She has lived and worked in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa focusing on questions of aesthetics and politics, temporality and youth culture, the links of longing and belonging among southern African cities, and the nexus of media and development. Dr. Hubbard's other interests include humanitarianism, the city, race and representation, speculative fiction, television and short film, Afro-futurism, and the aesthetics of hope. In 2013, Dr. Hubbard received the Dean's Award of Merit from the School of H&S for her contributions to African Studies and the broader Stanford community. Dr. Hubbard cherishes and thrives in the music, deep conversations, and many events at CAS. She has an open door policy and welcomes all to enter and share stories and songs anytime. Join her in an ever growing CAS and in calling CAS home for research, for community, and for solace.