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African Studies

The University of Chicago has a lively and growing contingent of faculty and students interested in African Studies.  Since 1985, the African Studies Workshop (ASW) has served as an interdisciplinary forum for graduate students and faculty whose work concerns the lives of people of the African continent and its diasporas, present and historical. The Workshop is organized within the Committee on African Studies and receives partial support from CIS.

ASW hosts approximately 20 workshops each academic year. In addition to regular presentations by students, faculty, and invited guests, the workshop hosts biannual Red Lion Seminars jointly with Northwestern University’s Program of African Studies.

Since 1989 the workshop has also organized a Spring Quarter conference.  Recent conferences include, "Politics in Africa: A Reexamination on the 70th Anniversary of African Political Systems," (2010) which involved a contingent of students from the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, and, "Time, Place, and the Problem of Uncertainty in Africa," (2011) which was successful in bringing back several Chicago "graduates" of the workshop. Several volumes have been published as an outcome of these conferences.

While graduate student participants tend mostly to come from the anthropology department, the workshop encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration and exchange and also includes active members from the disciplines of history, human development, literature, political science, and religious studies. Undergraduates are also welcome to attend all workshops and conferences.

In 2012, a new series of Distingished Lectures in African Studies was initiated.  Information about these events can be found on the CIS events page.