African Studies Program at Penn State

The mission of the African Studies Program is to teach and research about Africa, in all its immensity and diversity from the ancient past to the present. As an interdisciplinary program, we cover topic areas in history, culture, geography, economics, politics, and literature, with specific focus in areas such as feminism, development, linguistics, extractive economies, and post-colonial studies in the shaping of modern-day Africa.

Our faculty and faculty affiliates bring their expertise, from these wide range of disciplines and schools across Penn State, to make this program unique in its scope and commitment to student learning.

Our Feature

Sinfree Makoni

Fall 2021 Welcome Message from Interim Director of African Studies Sinfree Makoni

The African Studies Program at Penn State offers a unique opportunity for students to study Africa’s intellectual philosophy, gender dynamics, and socioeconomics as well as its cultural, environmental, and political institutions. Students also learn about Africa’s complex relationships with other regions of the globe. The courses are taught by internationally acclaimed scholars who have lived and worked in Africa.

Learn more about how the African Studies Program explores humanity's birthplace

African Studies Program 2021 Kente Cloth Ceremony

African Studies 2021 Kente Cloth Ceremony

The African Studies Program recognizes its graduating majors and minors at the Virtual Kente Cloth Ceremony. Kente is more than just a cloth. Like most of Africa's visual art forms, it is a tangible representation of history, philosophy, ethics, religious belief, and political thought. And, like art forms the world over, it figures in stirring celebrations of community life and personal achievement. When students are presented with the Kente stole, it not only symbolizes their transition and singular achievement, but places them in the context of prestige, gaiety, and glamor evident during festivals, historic commemorations, and other community events, where people proudly wear their best Kente to reflect the spirit of the occasion. Congratulations to our Spring 2021 Graduates!

Djibril Cherif

Djibril Cherif wins Best Outstanding Student Delegate Award

Djibril Cherif wins Best Outstanding Student Delegate Award of the Executive Council of the 18th Session of The Annual International Model African Union Conference, held at Howard University, Washington, DC, February 20-23.

Noelie Ortiz

Noelia Ortiz-Landazabal elected College of the Liberal Arts Student Marshal

Noelia Ortiz-Landazabal was elected by the College, as the College of the Liberal Arts Student Marshal for African Studies, for the class of 2020.