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

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!

Cheryl Sterling

Spring 2021 Welcome Message From Dr. Cheryl Sterling

Have you ever thought about studying the birthplace of humanity?

Penn State’s African Studies Program focuses on the continent of Africa by teaching its history, culture, geography, economics, politics, and literature. Students also learn about Africa in relation to the rest of the world. Despite its efforts, however, the department still suffers from resource scarcity.

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.