African Studies

Changing Africa...

Africa is on the move, with accelerating economic growth, more stable governance and widening security.

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Changing Africa...

Photo Credit: Curt Carnemark, The World Bank

Engaging with the Region

Enduring challenges - of poverty and economic transformation, governance and political reform, conflict and contentious politics - provide the focus for teaching, research and engagement.

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Engaging with the Region

Nigerian voters, Photo Credit: Jenny Bussey Vaughan

Diversity and Range

Through wide-ranging course offerings and activities, the program addresses issues across countries, sectors and societies.

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Diversity and Range

Photo Credit: Efrem Fisher

The African Studies Program offers an extensive curriculum covering development, governance and security across the continent. We draw on leading theories of international politics, political economy and comparative analysis in approaching this dynamic region.  The Program offers strong foundations in the history and politics of the region, with a consistent focus on current policy concerns and emerging issues in Africa. Courses address general themes as well as particular countries, regions and specialized topics.

With an incomparable location in Washington DC, our students engage with a global array of leading academics, policymakers, activists and development practitioners. Through opportunities for independent research, internships and study visits, students regularly travel to the region. Graduates pursue successful careers in the private sector, international development institutions, non-governmental organizations, government and the policy world. Please join us at our community page, Connect SAIS Africa, for updates,comentary, and news on students and alumni.

Upcoming Events

  1. Unwrapping Victorian-Era Egyptology: The Curious Case of the Web of the Occult and Scholarship 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Oct24
  2. What Did the US-Africa Summit Mean for the Great Lakes Region? 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM Oct28

Recent Photos & Video

Curriculum

 

AFRICAN STUDIES | M.A. Requirements

African Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives

Entering Class 2014-2015

Students take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 or 14 courses as approved by Academic Affairs.

 

AFRICAN STUDIES

Students concentrating in African Studies take at least six courses within this program, which may include one course outside African Studies on an African topic. Courses in the curriculum cross-listed with African Studies may be counted toward the degree.

 

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

Students complete four courses within this program.
·         Microeconomics
·         Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
·         International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
 
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Micro and/or Macro in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

 

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

Students complete one course from the list below.
·         Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
·         Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
·         Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Risk Analysis and Modeling
·         Corporate Finance (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         Quantitative Methods in International Relations (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
 
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.

 

CORE COURSES/EXAMS

All SAIS students must pass two core exams and/or courses. African Studies concentrators must pass Comparative National Systems as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the second core is not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll in second core course.
·         American Foreign Policy Since World War II
·         Comparative National Systems
·         Evolution of the International Systems
·         Theories of International Relations

 

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

African Studies MA candidates a required to demonstrate proficiency in French, Portuguese or Arabic, through a course sequence and/or proficiency exam. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering SAIS. Native speakers of French, Portuguese or Arabic must pass proficiency in a second language which can include English.

 

CAPSTONE

African Studies concentrators in the second year produce a program paper of publishable quality, which may be the product of a regular course or supervised independent research. The paper is due by April 15th of a student’s second year. For those whose final semester is fall, consult the Program Director for a due date.

 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS BY ACADEMIC YEAR

Entering Class 2013-2014
Entering Class 2012-2013
Entering Class 2011-2012
Entering Class 2010-2011
Entering Class 2009-2010
 

Curriculum

 

AFRICAN STUDIES | M.A. Requirements

African Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives

Entering Class 2014-2015

Students take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 or 14 courses as approved by Academic Affairs.

 

AFRICAN STUDIES

Students concentrating in African Studies take at least six courses within this program, which may include one course outside African Studies on an African topic. Courses in the curriculum cross-listed with African Studies may be counted toward the degree.

 

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

Students complete four courses within this program.
·         Microeconomics
·         Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
·         International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
 
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Micro and/or Macro in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

 

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

Students complete one course from the list below.
·         Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
·         Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
·         Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Risk Analysis and Modeling
·         Corporate Finance (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         Quantitative Methods in International Relations (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
 
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.

 

CORE COURSES/EXAMS

All SAIS students must pass two core exams and/or courses. African Studies concentrators must pass Comparative National Systems as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the second core is not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll in second core course.
·         American Foreign Policy Since World War II
·         Comparative National Systems
·         Evolution of the International Systems
·         Theories of International Relations

 

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

African Studies MA candidates a required to demonstrate proficiency in French, Portuguese or Arabic, through a course sequence and/or proficiency exam. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering SAIS. Native speakers of French, Portuguese or Arabic must pass proficiency in a second language which can include English.

 

CAPSTONE

African Studies concentrators in the second year produce a program paper of publishable quality, which may be the product of a regular course or supervised independent research. The paper is due by April 15th of a student’s second year. For those whose final semester is fall, consult the Program Director for a due date.

 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS BY ACADEMIC YEAR

Entering Class 2013-2014
Entering Class 2012-2013
Entering Class 2011-2012
Entering Class 2010-2011
Entering Class 2009-2010
 

Waiver Exams

Faculty

Pages

Featured Courses

  1. Spring 2014

    Sixty Years in the Making: Politics and (In-)Security in North Africa from Independence to the ‘Arab Spring’

    This course will study histories, cultures and security issues in...

  2. Spring 2014

    Promoting Development in Fragile States

    Fragile states pose unique problems to reform leaders and the...

  3. Spring 2014

    African Insurgencies

    The course examines insurgencies in four countries: the war of...

  4. Spring 2014

    Democracy and Political Reform in Africa

    This course examines central aspects of democracy and political change...

Program Activities

 

Program Highlights

Students in the African Studies Program have many opportunities for travel, research and engagement with contemporary issues on the continent.

Our seminar series brings dozens of speakers to campus each year, focusing on a wide range of academic and policy topics. Recent seminars have covered the political foundations of ethnic violence, the challenges of institutional reform in Africa, politics in Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and South Africa, conflict in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the role of social media and democracy, and China-Africa relations. The program's annual conferences cover a range of themes from development, to democratization, to the role of religion in politics.

Most students benefit from assistance for travel to Africa, including internships, independent research and structured study trips. Research opportunities include extended programs in Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia, as well as self-designed initiatives in other countries.

Students in African Studies can take advantage of the SAIS curriculum in a variety of areas pertaining to Africa. Electives and specialized topics are regularly incorporated into student programs. Students may have the opportunity to conduct independent research through a summer field program, individual research projects and occasional intersession trips.

 

Internship Opportunities

African Studies students regularly receive internships in the United States and Africa. These encompass a range of organizations in government, nongovernmental institutions and the private sector. Students have had recent access to internships in Benin, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Niger Republic, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

 

Travel Opportunities

On an occasional basis, the program offers study trips to students during intersession and summer periods. Recent trips have included South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, and China.

A six-week independent study field program to Senegal, Ghana or Tunisia is an option between the first and second year. Students should develop a project proposal in the fall semester to be submitted by March of the spring semester. Proficiency in Arabic or French is required for Tunisia, proficiency in French for Senegal.
In the past few years, study trips and research projects have included:

 

 

  • “The Role of Kenya’s Civil Society in the Constitution Review Process”
  • “China’s Engagement in Africa: the Case of Cameroon”
  • “Success and Shortcomings of Kenya’s Counterterrorism Efforts”
  • “African Migrants to Europe: The West African Coastal Link" (Senegal)
  • "Displaced Persons and Land-Related Violence in Kenya”
  • “Democracy and Traditional Rule in Ghana” (Ghana)
  • “Political Survival and Regime Change in Africa”
  • “Developing Transport Linkages in SADC: Malawi and Zambia”
  • "Media Program and Governance: the Case of Sierra Leone"
  • “The Evolving Character of Ghanaian Democracy”
  • “Violence and Resources in the Niger Delta”
  • "Understanding Accountability Across Post-Conflict Societies: the Cases of Nepal and Liberia"
  • “Managing Resource Wealth in a New Oil Producer" (Ghana)
  • “Constitutional Development in a New State" (South Sudan)
  • “Regional Variation in Southern African States”

 

 

 

Events and Conferences

The African Studies Program sponsors a weekly seminar series and annual conferences covering a wide range of topics on Africa.

Program Activities: Washington, D.C.

Program Activities: Europe

Program Activities: Nanjing

Events

The African Studies Program sponsors a weekly seminar series and annual conferences covering a wide range of topics on Africa.

Past Events
2011-2012 Academic Year Events
2009-2010 Academic Year Events
2008-2009 Academic Year Events
2007-2008 Academic Year Events
2006-2007 Academic Year Events



2014

  1. Unwrapping Victorian-Era Egyptology: The Curious Case of the Web of the Occult and Scholarship 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Oct24

    Steve Vinson, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University, will discuss this topic.

     

  2. What Did the US-Africa Summit Mean for the Great Lakes Region? 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM Oct28

    David Gilmour, deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs at the US Department of State; Mima Nedelcovych, president and CEO at the Initiative for Global Development; and Dave Peterson, senior director for the Africa Program at the National Endowment for Democracy, will discuss this topic. Mvemba Dizolele, Peter and Frances Duigan Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, will moderate the discussion. Note: This event is off the record.

  3. Election Violence in Democratizing States: Africa in Comparative Perspective 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Oct29

    Leonardo Arriola, associate professor at the University of California-Berkeley, will discuss this topic.

  4. Religious Engagement in Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Nov5

    Rachel Riedl, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University, will discuss this topic.

2014

  1. The New Kings of Crude: China, Oil, and Civil War in Sudan and South Sudan 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM Oct20

    Luke Patey, senior researcher at the Dan­ish Insti­tute for Inter­na­tional Stud­ies, will discuss his book The New Kings of Crude: China, India, and the Global Struggle for Oil in Sudan and South Sudan and this topic. Note: This event will have a live webcast.

  2. The Politics of Economic Growth and Social Inclusion in Africa: Day 2 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM Oct17

    Various speakers will discuss this topic during the two day conference.

  3. The Politics of Economic Growth and Social Inclusion in Africa: Day 1 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Oct16

    Various speakers will discuss this topic during the two day conference.

  4. Loot, Pillage and Plunder: Prosecuting Economic War Crimes in the 21st Century 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Oct8

    Holly Dranginis, policy associate at the Enough Project; Mohamed Bangura, prosecution legal adviser and evidence officer for the Special Court for Sierra Leone; and James Stewart, assistant professor of law at the University of British Columbia, will discuss this topic.

  5. Beneath the Sands of Egypt: An Archaeologist Explores the Valley Kings 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Sep26

    Don Ryan, archaeologist and professor in the Division of Humanities at Pacific Lutheran University, will discuss this topic. 

  6. Peace Land: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Sep25

    Séverine Autesserre, assistant professor of political science at Columbia University, will discuss this topic.

  7. The Role of Political Parties in an Emerging Democracy: A Nigerian Perspective 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Sep24

    Femi Gbaja Biamila, minority leader of the House of Representatives for the Republic of Nigeria, will discuss this topic.

  8. Voices Unheard? Rising Demand for Democracy in Africa 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Sep18

    Carolyn Logan, deputy director of Afrobarometer and associate professor in the Department of Political Science and African Studies Center at Michigan State University, will discuss this topic. 

  9. Ending Violence Against Women in the Great Lakes: Voices from the Front Line 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM Sep4

    Mireille Muhigwa, Mandela Washington Fellow from Democratic Republic of Congo and gender program officer for SAMWAKI; Martine Theodora Kessy Ekomo-Soignet, Mandela Washington Fellow from the Central African Republic and project officer at the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF); and Nulu Naluyombya, Mandela Washington Fellow from Uganda and founder and executive Director of Success Chapter, will discuss this topic.

     

  10. A Portrait of Egypt by 19th Century Artist: Drawn from an Orientalist Collection 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Jun13

    Caroline Williams, independent scholar, will discuss this topic.

Research

  1. ONGOING

    SAIS Working Papers in African Studies

    Lemarchand, René. 2013. Non-State Politics in Post-Qadhafi Libya.

    Bo Kong. 2011. China's Quest for Oil in Africa Revisited 

    Bosshard, Peter. 2008. China's Environmental Footprint in Africa.

    Burke, Christopher; Corkin, Lucy & Davies, Martyn. 2008. 
    China's Role in the Development of Africa's Infrastructure

    Kaplinsky, Raphael; McCormick, Dorothy & Morris, Mike. 2008. 
    The Impact of  China on Sub-Sahara Africa.

    Obiorah, Ndubisi. 2008. Rise and Rights in China-Africa Relations.

    Tull, Denis. 2008. 
    China in Africa: European Perceptions and Responses to the Chinese Challenge

  2. ONGOING

    Articles by Associated Scholars

  3. ONGOING

    Africa Program Paper Award Winners


    2009
    Sudanese Elites: How the Riverain Groups Achieved Political Dominance and their Impact on the Sudanese State, Jennifer Pekkinen (April 1, 2009)

    The Baobab Tree Lives On: Paul Biya and the Logic of Political Survival, Ngwa Anye Kenneth (April 2009)

    2008
    Democratic Consolidation in Africa's Two Publics by Christine Arriola

    2007
    The Fate of Darfur: Race, Ideology and Conquest by Molly Miller

    2006
    Allah N'est Pas Obidge: An artist's rendition of the phenomenon of child soldiers in Liberia and Sierra Leone by Lisa Overbey

    2001
    A Dream Deferred? COSATU and the ANC in Power by John-Paul Ferguson

    2000
    Rural Transition: Agricultural Development and Tenure Rights A case study in the Senegal River Valley by Jeffrey White

  4. ONGOING

    Faculty Publications


    Growing Apart: Oil, Politics, and Economic Change in Indonesia and Nigeria. Peter M. Lewis. University of Michigan Press. (2007).

    Getting In: Mediators' Entry into the Settlement of African Conflicts, Mohammed O. Maundi, I. William Zartman, Kwaku Nuamah, Gilbert M. Khadiagala. (United States Institute of Peace, 2006).

    The Impact of Colonial Bargaining on Intergroup Relations in Africa, Gilbert M. Khadiagala and Donald S. Rothchild, editors. (Special Issue of International Negotiation, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2005).

  5. ONGOING

    SAIS African Studies Library Series


    The Program's annual conferences have resulted in publication in the SAIS African Studies Library Series (published by Lynne Rienner Publishers) including:
     

    Foreign Policy Making in Africa, Gilbert M. Khadiagala and Terrence Lyons, editors (2001).

    Traditional Cures for Modern Conflicts: African Conflict “Medicine,”  I. William Zartman, editor (2000).

    Democracy in Africa: The Hard Road Ahead, Marina Ottaway, editor (1997).

    Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority, I William Zartman, editor (1995).

    South Africa: The Political Economy of Transformation, Stephen J. Stedman, editor (1994).

    Botswana: The Political Economy of Democratic Development, Stephen J. Stedman, editor (1993).

    Ghana: The Political Economy of Recovery, Donald Rothchild, editor (1991).

    Tunisia: The Political Economy of Reform, I. William Zartman, editor (1991).

    Europe and Africa: The New Phase, I. William Zartman, editor(1993).
     

    Other titles in the series (published by Praeger-Greenwood Press) include:

    The Political Economy of Ethiopia, Marina Ottaway and Negussay Ayele, editors (1990).

    The Political Economy of Senegal Under Structural Adjustment, Christopher Delgado and Sidi Jammeh, editors (1990).

    The Political Economy of Morocco, I. William Zartman, editor (1987).

    The Military in African Politics, John Harbeson, editor (1987).

    The Political Economy of Kenya, Michael G. Schatzberg, editor (1987).

    The Political Economy of Cameroon, Michael G. Schatzberg and I. William Zartman, editors (1986).

    The OAU After Twenty Years, Zartman and El-Ayouty, editors (1986).

    The Political Economy of Zimbabwe, Michael G. Schatzberg, editor (1984).

    The Political Economy of Ivory Coast, I. William Zartman and Christopher Delgado, editors (1984).

    The Political Economy of Nigeria, Michael G. Schatzberg, editor (1983).

  6. ONGOING

    SAIS Studies on Senegal


    African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI): The Case of Senegal
    by Bjorn Dressel

    Problems Encountered When Attempting to Change the Status of Women in West Africa
     
    by Erin Patric

    The Reintegration of the Casamance Region into Senegalese Society
    by Audra Dykman

    The Benefits of Exile: The Case of FLAM
    Lance Kinne, (also published in the Journal of Modern African Studies 39, 4, 2001).

Our Alumni

External Resources

 

News and General Information

Africa South of the Sahara (Stanford University)
Comprehensive list of Africa-related links

AllAfrica.com
Compilation of news sources from across the continent

BBC News/Africa

Inter Press Service - Africa

United Nations, Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
News and analysis on areas of conflict
 

 

Research and Data

Afrobarometer Home Page
Survey research site, extensive analysis of politics and reform

Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University
A leading source for economic research in the region

Institute for African Development (IAD), Cornell University

Institute for Policy Studies

Center for Global Development
Research and policy analysis, special focus on aid and reform

Council on Foreign Relations

International Food Policy Research Institute

Africa Research Program, Harvard University
Governance, institutions, and social change

University of Cape Town-Centre for Social Science Research
Inequality, poverty, HIV/AIDS and public attitudes

University of Sussex- Institute of Development Studies. (Brighton, U.K.)

United States Institute of Peace

The World Bank
Data, economic policy analysis, perspectives on governance
 

 

African Studies Centers and Organizations

African Studies Association Home Page
The central African studies organization in the U.S.

African Studies WWW (U. Penn)
Especially useful site with a wide range of links and information

African Studies Center, Leiden, Netherlands

African Studies at UCLA

Northwestern University Program of African Studies

Nordiska Afrikainstitutet/Nordic Africa Institute

Royal African Society
Leading institute on African affairs in the UK

University of California, Berkeley, Center for African Studies

University of Florida, African Studies Program
 

 

Policy and Advocacy

Africa Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

The Enough Project, the project to end genocide and crimes against humanity

Ghana Center for Democratic Development

Human Rights Watch - Africa

International Crisis Group
Authoritative analysis and advocacy on conflict

Kabissa
Civil society and participation

OXFAM
Focus on sustainable development

Sokwanele, Zimbabwe Constitution Resources
 

 

African Studies Resources by Region and Country

Central Africa

Southern Africa

East Africa/ Horn of Africa

Indian Ocean

West Africa

Contact Us

Peter Lewis
Associate Professor and Director of African Studies Program

plewis@jhu.edu
202-663-5681
Bernstein-Offit 715

Paul Lubeck
Associate Director of the African Studies Program

plubeck1@jhu.edu
202-349-0981
Bernstein-Offit 722

Imani Tolbert
Program Coordinator

itolber1@jhu.edu
202.663.5676
Bernstein-Offit 716

Address & Phone

African Studies
Bernstein-Offit Building
1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C.
20036
  • 202.663.5676
  • 202.663.5683