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Linda L. Semu, Ph.D.

A comparative international sociologist who is curious about the world.

Curious About the World!
Linda L. Semu hopes to make a difference in the worlds of her students. Watching them grow while on the Hill is what makes her job most rewarding. She strives to show how her advocacy work as one of the founding members of the Malawi Washington Foundation can prompt students to seek change. Before coming to McDaniel, Semu was a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Malawi where she did research and consultancy work for both local and international organizations, as well as the Malawi government. She has taught courses like Introduction to Sociology: A Global Perspective, Food, Culture and Society, Love and Marriage: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, Global Social Change, Urban Sociology, and Urban and Community Studies.
When students take courses in Sociology, what do you hope they take away from the experience?
I hope that students become curious about the world and their place in it. I hope they begin to see the classroom as the space that affords them the possibility for change, and then, as bell hooks wrote in "Teaching to Progress," they begin to understand that "to create a fully diverse academy, we must commit ourselves fully to the work of transforming that academy so that it will be a place where cultural diversity informs every aspect of our learning."
How have your interests in Sociology turned into advocacy work, especially with being one of the founding members of the Malawi Washington Foundation nonprofit in Washington, D.C?
My teaching, research, and service are informed by critical pedagogy, a philosophical approach that argues that education should help develop critical consciousness that leads to transformation of the individual, the learning environment, and society at large. As such, I could no longer simply talk about inequality and social injustice without doing something about it. Doing the work of the foundation enables me to put words into action and to show my students that anybody can make a difference in the world.
You’ve co-authored and contributed to numerous publications. Which holds a special place for you and why?
It’s like asking me who is my favorite child: they are all special in their own way. So, let me just highlight my publication of "The Intersectionality of Race and Trajectories of African Women into the Nursing Career in the United States" (March 2020). The current environment where conversations about racial inequality have taken center stage makes this a timely publication and important contribution to the conversation and action for change.

About Prof. Semu

Professor of Sociology
Subjects: Sociology, Africana Studies, Urban and Community Studies
Department: Sociology

Outside of the Classroom


She has conducted research, training and consultancy work for the World Bank, UNDP, UNICEF, and OXFAM.


She is a huge Jason Bourne fan and enjoys reading books and watching movies about international spies.

Words to Live By

She is a bargain hunter and says that she never buys anything the first time “for as surely as the sun rises and sets, I know that it will eventually go on sale.”