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Dr. Sinfree Makoni awarded fellowship by Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program

Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program Award


Dr. Sinfree Makoni of the Department of Applied Linguistics and the Program in African Studies was selected to work with Professor I. Khasandi-Telewa of Laikipia University, Kenya on the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to Support Projects in Africa

Sinfree Makoni, from Pennsylvania State University was awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to Kenya to collaborate with Laikipia University and Professor Khasandi-Telewa on curriculum co-development  and enhancement of a taught PhD in Linguistics through online learning and Graduate Student Training and Mentoring.  

The  project is part of a broader initiative that will pair 51 African Diaspora scholars with one of 43 higher education institutions and collaborators in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda to work together on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training and mentoring activities in the coming months.  The visiting Fellows will work with their hosts on a wide range of projects that include controlling malaria, strengthening peace and conflict studies, developing a new master’s degree in emergency medicine, training and mentoring graduate students in criminal justice, archiving African indigenous knowledge, creating low cost water treatment technologies, building capacity in microbiology and pathogen genomics, and developing a forensic accounting curriculum. To deepen the ties among the faculty members and between their home and host institutions, the program is providing support to several program alumni to enable them to build on successful collaborative projects they conducted in previous years.

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, now in its sixth year, is designed to increase Africa’s brain circulation, build capacity at the host institutions, and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa and the United States and Canada. It is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya, which coordinates the activities of the Advisory Council. A total of 385 African Diaspora Fellowships have now been awarded for scholars to travel to Africa since the program’s inception in 2013.

Fellowships match host universities with African-born scholars (individually or in small groups) and cover the expenses for project visits of between 21 and 90 days, including transportation, a daily stipend, and the cost of obtaining visas and health insurance.

See full list of 2018 projects, hosts and scholars and their universities.

Please direct all questions related to the application process to

Dr. Bill Dewey featured in Penn State News for "Striking Iron" exhibition

Our Program Director, Dr. Bill Dewey, is in the news once again for receiving high praise for his exhibit on African blacksmithing. You can read the full article here!

‘Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths’ featured in NYT

Our Program Director, Dr. Bill Dewey, is curating an exhibit at the Fowler Museum at U.C.L.A. titled ‘Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths’. A review of the exhibition was recently featured in the New York Times. 

Click here!

2018 AFR Kente Cloth Ceremony Honors Students, Program Director

The 2018 AFR Kente Cloth Ceremony was a wonderful event where we got together to celebrate our graduates and their many achievements, and it gave us the opportunity to thank our wonderful Director, Dr. Bill Dewey, who is stepping down. We'll miss you, Bill! And CONGRATULATIONS to our graduates!

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College of the Liberal Arts Seeks New Dean



The Pennsylvania State University seeks candidates for the position of Dean, College of the Liberal Arts. Penn State is the land-grant University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with the University Park campus as its administrative hub, 23 other campuses located throughout the state, and its online World Campus.  Reporting directly to the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University, the Dean serves as the principal academic and administrative officer of the College. The Dean holds the Susan Welch Dean’s Chair and is known as the Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. The Dean’s Chair was named in honor of Dean Welch with an endowment gift of $5 million in 2010.


The position requires a distinguished scholar and strong proponent of the liberal arts. The new dean will work aggressively to advance the College’s position as a leader among institutions of higher education in the creation and dissemination of knowledge for increasingly diverse and global constituencies. The successful candidate will be able to lead and manage the College in a multi-disciplinary and highly inter-disciplinary research university. Prior leadership experience with responsibility for strategic management of personnel, programs, communication, and resources is required, along with an ability to inspire students to expand their knowledge and understand their impact in a multicultural, global society.  In addition, the successful candidate should be a visionary leader; have a commitment to high-quality disciplinary and interdisciplinary education, as well as diversity and inclusion; a record of accomplishment in research, teaching, and fundraising; and familiarity with national issues affecting undergraduate and graduate education, with credentials appropriate for a tenured appointment at the rank of professor. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications.


The College of the Liberal Arts, founded in 1909, has approximately 6,000 undergraduate and 850 graduate students enrolled in residence, and an additional 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in online certificate and degree programs delivered through the Penn State World Campus. The College’s faculty teach about 30 percent of all undergraduate credit hours at University Park and a higher percentage in the World Campus. The College has more than 700 full-time faculty members, about half of whom are on the tenure track, including many who are recognized leaders in their fields. Departments in the College span the humanities, social sciences, and the life sciences and many of the departments are among the top 10 of their peers in the last National Research Council rankings. Several interdisciplinary research centers and institutes, within the College and across the University, enhance the College’s teaching, research, and outreach missions.  College centers support research ranging from ethics to cognitive neuroscience, from the Civil War to human evolution, and from the bilingual brain to counterterrorism.


The 2017-18 operating budget for the College is approximately $102 million, with the World Campus generating significant additional income. In 2016-17, the College had about $30 million in research expenditures. The College has an endowment of approximately $130 million with more than 600 active funds, and an annual fundraising commitment that averages $15 million per year.


The College provides instruction and research opportunities in 21 departments and schools—African American Studies; African Studies; Anthropology; Applied Linguistics; Asian Studies; Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies; Communication Arts and Sciences; Comparative Literature;  Economics; English; French and Francophone Studies; Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures; History; Jewish Studies; Labor and Employment Relations; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology and Criminology; Spanish, Italian and Portuguese; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.


To apply for this position, send (cover letter, curriculum vitae, and contact information of four references) via the University’s employment web site at  Please send any questions to the Chair of the Dean, Liberal Arts Search Committee at  The Search Committee will review applications and nominations beginning February 1, 2018, and will continue to receive them until the position is filled.  For more information about the College of the Liberal Arts, visit our web site at     


Employment will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies. Final candidate(s) for the position will be required to complete a full background check process, including education, employment, credit, motor vehicle verifications, criminal, and child abuse as appropriate.


To review the Penn State Annual Security Report, please go to; a hard copy of the report is available on request.


Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to minorities, women, veterans, disabled individuals, and members of other protected groups. 

CONGRATULATIONS to Kevin Thomas on his just published book!

Kevin J. A. Thomas, Contract Workers, Risk, and the War in Iraq: Sierra Leonean Labor Migrants at US Military Bases. (In the Series: Human Dimensions in Foreign Policy, Military Studies, and Security Studies) Montreal & Kingston, London, Chicago: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017.


Dr. Thomas will be giving a talk on his book on November 10, 2017, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM in 215 Armsby Bldg. For more information, please follow this link!

Interested in shaping the future of African Studies? AFR Program seeks new director.

The AFR Program is seeking a new director. Click here to be taken to the website!

Art historian part of NEH grant - winning team for African blacksmithing exhibit

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. William J. Dewey, associate professor of art history in Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture and director of the African Studies Program in the College of the Liberal Arts, is part of a curatorial team that received a $250,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant for a UCLA Fowler Museum exhibition on African blacksmithing. Click here for more!

Congratulations to AFR Faculty

Please join us in congratulating our faculty for their accomplishments:

Gabeba Baderoon's Regarding Muslims jointly won the Best Non-Fiction Monograph prize from the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences in South Africa

Julie Kleinman has been awarded a W. E. B. Du Bois fellowship in the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard for Spring 2018.

Chris Tounsel published the article, "Race, religion, and resistance: revelations from the Juba archive,” in the Journal of Eastern African Studies. It highlights the ways in which Southern Sudanese activists in the 1960s understood the role of God's Providence in their struggle for political liberation from the Sudanese Government.



Announcing the new Graduate Minor!

The African Studies Program now offers a minor! For a doctoral minor, the student has to complete 15 credits (with at least 6 at the 500 level), and at least one Graduate Faculty member from the minor field must serve on the student’s doctoral committee. Please check our Graduate page for more information.

African Studies Students Placed in Undergraduate Research Exhibition

On Saturday, October 1, 2016, The Africana Research Center hosted an Undergraduate Research Exhibition in recognition of undergraduate students who have conducted outstanding research on issues affecting the African Diaspora.

Daily Collegian articles regarding the event:



Elizabeth Catchmark
Departments of English, Philosophy, African American Studies, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
College of the Liberal Arts
Nominated by Megan Fung, Ph.D.
"Kindred Spirits:  Reading Interracial Love Relationships Through Embodied White Supremacy"



Cherish Harper
African Studies Program
College of the Liberal Arts
Nominated by Clemente Abrokwaa, Ph.D.
"Institutional Racism"



Janelle Kelly
Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
College of the Liberal Arts
Nominated by Jill Wood, Ph.D.
"Being Black and Male in America:  Racialized Violence Against Black Males in U.S. Society"


Seamus Wagner
African Studies Program and Department of Political Science
College of the Liberal Arts
Nominated by Clemente Abrokwaa, Ph.D.
"The Arab Slave Trade in East Africa and its Impact on the Coastal Peoples of East Africa"

African Feminist Initiative Call for Papers

The African Feminist Initiative (AFI) at Penn State University will host a small conference on current debates in African feminist thought from September 23 to 24, 2016 at the University Park campus. This will be the first in a series of conferences and workshops at which scholars and graduate students interested in the burgeoning field of African feminist studies can present their work. We welcome scholarly and artistic presentations that highlight state of the art feminist theory, activism, and practice on the continent and beyond. Please send abstracts consisting of 250 words and a list of works cited, and brief CV or bio, to and by June 1st, 2016.

The African Feminist Initiative was established in April 2015 as an intellectual hub for African feminist research and teaching in North America. In addition to sponsoring scholarly and creative presentations, the AFI will host an annual conference focusing on critical and emerging themes in African feminism. They will also engage in research projects and capacity-building activities with colleagues, both in the United States and at various African universities.

Gabeba Baderoon and Alicia C. Decker, Associate Professors in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the African Studies Program at Penn State, are co-directors of the African Feminist Initiative. The Steering Committee consists of the co-directors and five additional Penn State scholars who work in the area of African feminist thought: Maha Marouan, Hoda El Shakry, Ebony Coletu, Rosemary Jolly and Iyun Osagie. The AFI Advisory Board includes leading African feminist scholars from around the world. Current members include Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Theresa Barnes, Kum-Kum Bhavnani, Mary Hames, Amina Mama, Patricia McFadden, Awino Okech, Margo Okazawa-Rey, Fatima Sadiqi and Sylvia Tamale.

We hope you will join us. Limited funding will be available to offset costs for selected participants.


Interview with Visiting African Studies Professor Osman

Click on the link below to see the TV interview....

Reporters Yousef Saba and Courtney Barrow talk with Centre County Muslims for their reaction to raging national debate on terrorism and Islam.