John Schaefer

photo of John SchaeferContact Information

219 Levey Hall
Middletown, OH 45042
(513) 727-3204


Associate Professor
Social & Behavioral Sciences, College of Liberal Arts & Applied Science


PhD, University of Texas at Austin
MA, University of Arkansas
BS, John Brown University


John Schaefer teaches courses in cultural anthropology, applied anthropology, Middle Eastern studies, and migration and refugee studies at the Middletown campus. He is a member of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the Regionals, 2018-2020.

Between 2009 and 2012, he was an assistant professor of anthropology at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.


John Schaefer was born in Accra, Ghana, in 1974 and lived in northern Ghana until 1991. Since 1997 his primary research area has been the Arab Middle East, in particular Morocco. His primary interests are in musical roots and routes across the Sahara Desert.

He is currently completing a book manuscript with the tentative title of The Black Sahara: Gnawa Identity and Spiritual Work in Morocco. The book derives from fieldwork conducted between 2001 and 2010 among Gnawa musicians in Morocco, who practice spirit possession and conduct trance healing rituals.

He has also published and presented more broadly on such topics as activism in Cairo's Tahrir Square, Moroccan protest music, psychedelic trance festivals, interactional analysis of music, and the use of the Internet in Ghana.


Dr. Schaefer is secretary of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association (2017-2020) and has been Webmaster since 2014.

Other Activities

John has reviewed manuscripts for several journals: Brussels Studies (Brill Publishers, Leiden), Globalizations (London), ALIF: Journal of Comparative Poetics (Cairo), Contemporary Islam (Dordrecht), and Text, Practice, Performance (Austin, Texas).

See also: