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Heidi Frontani Papers

Identifier: Mss.Coll.#058


Much of this collection is based around the research that Dr. Frontani passionately pursued throughout her career. Many files relate to her studies of Florida, Ghana, and Kenya. Also housed in this collection are multiple files based on her career at Elon as a professor.


  • 1956-2016, Undated


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The nature of the Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research of otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Heidi Glaesel Frontani was born on April 19, 1965, and grew up in Queens, New York. She attended Cornell University as an undergraduate, receiving a bachelor’s degree in human development. In 1987 she participated in Harvard University Institute for International Development’s “World Teach” program. She spent 18 months at a secondary school in rural, western Kenya, teaching geography, mathematics and biology to ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students. This experience was the start of a life-long passion for Africa. On returning to the U.S., Frontani turned her academic attention to geography, studying at the University of Wisconsin at Madison for a master’s degree then a doctorate, but in both cases pursuing her interest in Africa. In 1993 she received a university travel award to visit Kenya for research on “Resource Conservation on the Kenyan Coast: A Study in the Political Ecology of the Malindi-Watamu Biosphere Reserve.” The following year she received a Fulbright-Hayes Group Projects Abroad scholarship for intensive Swahili language training in the summer and a Foreign Language and Area Studies scholarship to study Swahili during the next academic year. This was all leading towards her doctoral fieldwork for which she received a Fulbright Dissertation Fellowship. She was interested in the nature and extent of an indigenous marine management system and fledgling co-management initiatives near marine protected areas, as well as documenting changes in fishing methods over time. Her dissertation, completed in 1997, was entitled “Fishers, Parks, and Power: The Socio-Environmental Dimensions of Marine Resource Decline and Protection on the Kenya Coast.” She subsequently did some comparative work with participatory fisheries management in the U.S. Following her PhD, Frontani spent two years in Ghana teaching high school-aged kids before joining the faculty at Elon University, North Carolina, as professor of geography. Although U.S.-based, her passion for Africa continued. She broadened out from her specialist interest in fisheries and protected areas to development studies more broadly. At Elon she taught courses including International Development, and Africans and African Development. She also contributed to Elon’s Core Curriculum, the set of courses and experiences that are shared by every undergraduate. Director of the Core Curriculum program, Jeffrey Coker said, “Heidi has been a beloved and just invaluable faculty member within the core curriculum for a long time. She has been one our best contributors to the global experience course. She has also taught core capstones that were fantastic. … Anybody that ever met Heidi would just be in awe of her passion for Africa, for her students, for teaching … She was always giving and contributing to the larger community.” Frontani shifted much of her research focus from East Africa to West Africa. Among her published research were studies on China’s development initiatives in Ghana, the social integration of Togolese and Liberian refugees in Ghana, and Peace Corps and National Service programs in Ghana. She also published several encyclopedia entries in Oxford Bibliographies Online: African Studies and The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought, as well as more than 30 book reviews on Africa, resource management, parks, development, and fisheries. Frontani passed away suddenly in early 2016.


5.75 Linear Feet (Twelve archival boxes, one of which being an oversized box that is housed with the rest of the oversized materials. )

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically within folders.

Physical Location

The collection is located in Belk Library Archives Satellite Shelving at Elon University. Please contact the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for further details about the location.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift to the University.

Related Materials

Please consult with the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for additional information about related materials to this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Juliana Siler

Juliana Siler
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Belk Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

Belk Library, Room 204
Campus Box 2550
Elon U.S.A. - North Carolina 27244