African studies

African studies is the study of Africa, especially the continent's cultures and societies (as opposed to its geology, geography, zoology, etc.). The field includes the study of Africa's history (Pre-colonial, colonial, post-colonial), demography (ethnic groups), culture, politics, economy, languages, and religion (Islam, Christianity, traditional religions). A specialist in African studies is often referred to as an "africanist". A key focus of the discipline is to interrogate epistemological approaches, theories and methods in traditional disciplines using a critical lens that inserts African-centred ways of knowing and references.

Africanists argue that there is a need to "deexoticize" Africa and banalise it, rather than understand Africa as exceptionalized and exoticized.[1] African scholars, in recent times, have focused on decolonizing African studies, and reconfiguring it to reflect the African experience through African lens.

Notable deceased Africanists

University-based centers

National and transnational centers



Degree programs


  • Carleton University, Institute of African Studies - Combined Honours Undergraduate Degrees and Collaborative Masters in African Studies






Nigeria University of Lagos, Masters in African and Diaspora Studies


United Kingdom

United States of America

  • Beloit College, African Studies Minor - Interdisciplinary undergraduate minor field of concentration
  • Florida International University, Masters in African Studies, African Studies Certificates
  • Howard University, undergraduate minor and major in African Studies, Masters in African Studies, PhD in African Studies
  • Ohio University, Masters in African Studies
  • Rutgers University, undergraduate major and minor in African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures, with a regional focus
  • University of Michigan, undergraduate major and minor in Afroamerican and African Studies. Also, a certificate in African Studies for graduate students.

See also


  1. Mamdani, M. (1996), Chapter 1 from Mamdani, M., Citizen and Subject: contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism.
  2. "Association of Concerned Africa Scholars » » ACAS Review: Tribute to Terence O. Ranger".
  3. "Institut für Afrikawissenschaften » Das Institut". 27 February 2013. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013.
  4. kiesewea. "Master African Studies — Institute of Asian and African Studies".
  5. luederst. "The Institute for Asian and African Studies — Institute of Asian and African Studies".
  6. For the history of African studies in the Netherlands, see Abbink, J.: African studies in the Netherlands: a brief survey, SCOLMA 87, 3-10, 2001
  7. Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto
  8. "Centre for African Studies (LUCAS)".
  10. "ASAUK".
  11. chayes. "Bachelor Area Studies Asia/Africa — Institute of Asian and African Studies".
  12. "African Studies (MA) - Leiden University".
  14. "Home - Zentrum für Afrikastudien".
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-06-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. "Centre of African Studies".
  17. "MPhil in African Studies Overview â€" Centre of African Studies".

Further reading

  • Gershenhorn, Jerry. “‘Not an Academic Affair’: African American Scholars and the Development of African Studies Programs in the United States, 1942–1960.” Journal of African American History, 94 (Winter 2009), 44–68.
  • Gershenhorn, Jerry. “St. Clair Drake, Pan-Africanism, African Studies, and the Politics of Knowledge, 1945-1965.” Journal of African American History, 98 (Summer 2013), 422-433.

Library Guides for African Studies

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