El Hadji Samba Diallo joined African and African-American Studies in 2011 to expand the language offerings by teaching Wolof. Since joining, he expanded his course offerings to include classes on Islam, Sufism, and Francophone Africa.
His research explores the ways religious institutions reproduce themselves and how adherents accept as natural, the interpretation of those institutions by their leaders. Diallo uses a variety of international archives in France and Senegal as well as ethnographic research. His first book was entitled La Tijāniyya sénégalaise: Les métamorphoses des modèles de succession (Paris: Publisud, 2010). In addition to the book, he has published several articles on the expansion of the Tijāniyya brotherhood in French Colonial History, Africa Zamani, Incursions, and Social Compass. His most recent publications have examined the dissemination of Sufism and Islam as well as democratization processes in Africa.
His current research project explores musical influences between Africa and its diaspora. Inspired by his popular freshman seminar, Youth in Africa, the research looks to newer diasporic connections taking place via dance and the movement of Hip-Hop. The connections include a variety of music such as Zouk, Cabo Love, and Kizomba, stretching from Cape Verde, Angola, the Netherlands, France, and Portugal to Brazil and the Antilles.
In addition to his teaching and research commitments, Diallo continues to work with graduate and undergraduate students while fostering connections with African communities in St. Louis. To this end, he organizes many events on campus, including the annual Ñiari Ràkka conference with African Islamic leaders and scholars of Islam.
Before coming to Washington University, Samba taught courses at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He received his doctorate in History and Social Anthropology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, France in July 2005.