About PAS

PAS guides the study of Africa at Northwestern, engaging students and faculty in a wide variety of activities. The program hosts scholars and distinguished visitors form Africa and around the world.  Throughout the year, PAS sponsors talks, discussions, readings, films, and other events. PAS also works with other centers of African scholarship in the Chicago area, such as the University of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Art Institute of Chicago, the program also maintains close ties with scholars and other centers of African study around the world.

Students at Northwestern have the opportunity to actively participate in one of the most dynamic centers in the world for the study of Africa. The interdisciplinary and cross-thematic nature of the teaching about Africa challenges students to examine Africa from perspectives of innovative scholarship.

History of PAS

The pioneering anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits founded Northwestern University's Program of African Studies (PAS) in 1948, one of the earliest centers of its kind in the United States.

Today, the Program serves as a vital base for the world-class Africanist faculty, students, and professionals attracted to Northwestern and its renowned Herskovits Library of Africana Studies. PAS has achieved international prominence for its production of innovative scholarship, training of African specialists, and development of new ways of thinking about the African World.

During the 2008-09 year, the Program of African Studies celebrated its 60th anniversary. PAS honored this momentous milestone with a yearlong series of events ranging from concerts to conferences, which represent the varied interests and specialties of Northwestern's Africanist faculty and students. This successful year of events commemorated the program's international prominence as a center for fostering the production of innovative scholarship, training African specialists, and developing of new ways of thinking about Africa.