1948-2018: 70 Years of African Studies

The Program of African Studies celebrates its 70th anniversary.

In 1948, the pioneering anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits founded the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University. As the first formally established program of African Studies in the country, it has grown from a few courses and a multidisciplinary graduate student seminar into a large, well-rounded curriculum of African courses in the social sciences and humanities with a graduate student training program focused on Africa-based fieldwork and research issues. Over the past 70 years, its faculty and alumni have been instrumental in developing methodologies in linguistics, oral history, anthropology and sociology, African gender studies, art history, and African state formation among others. They have established institutes for secondary school teachers and curriculum development for basic college courses on Africa topics. The program facilitates publication of research and its faculty and students actively collaborate with research centers throughout Africa. Alumni from the program have been and continue to be influential leaders in the academic and political realms in both Africa and the United States.