Program of African Studies Research Clusters

PAS will focus on three central themes of research this year: Environment, Human Security and Development in Africa; Health and Healing; and Avant-Garde Africa. We will reserve one session of our weekly seminar (Wednesdays at noon) for each research cluster to meet, brainstorm around shared interests and discuss activities to foster collaborative work and exchange.

Environment, Human Security and Development in Africa

Bringing together scholars from Feinberg, Kellogg, Medill, SESP, the Law School, and WCAS, we will begin conversations across Northwestern about the centrality of environmental concerns and sustainability; human security related to health and well-being, particularly surrounding agricultural production/water/nutrition as well as political security, conflict, and human rights; technology adoption and social networks; risk and financial markets; and gender and household decision making. 

For more information, please contact Professor Juliet Sorensen, Northwestern Law School.

Health and Healing

Addressing questions relating to life and death, illness and disease, and therapeutic pluralism, these efforts will bridge expertise in history, anthropology, and sociology and also forge strategic links with Northwestern’s global health and medical humanities programs. Topics will include continuities and ruptures in forms of African therapeutics and traditional medicine, changing disease environments and newly emerging diseases, reproductive politics, pharmaceuticals and intellectual property, and surgery and biomedical care in resource poor settings.

Avant-Garde Africa

Enhancing PAS’s role as an international hub for African writing, visual arts, and performance by drawing attention to emergent literary and artistic trends in Africa and its Diasporas.  The humanities broadly conceived offer exciting responses to problems and opportunities on the continent and foreground new issues that preoccupy African artists (e.g. human rights, migration, environmental justice, gender and sexuality).