About the Department
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. Guiding the study of Africa at Northwestern, the program hosts scholars and distinguished visitors from the continent and around the world. Throughout the year, PAS sponsors events such as talks, discussions, readings, and films. We also collaborate with a variety of centers both within Northwestern and outside in several projects:
- Mandela Washington Fellowship: Every summer, in partnership with Northwestern's Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Center for Leadership, PAS hosts President Obama's Mandela Washington Fellowship which brings 25 young African leaders to Northwestern for academic training and experiential learning.
- Global Health Case Competition: In the winter, PAS, Feinberg's Center for Global Health, and Global Health Studies/International Program Development call on teams of undergraduate and graduate students across the university to create a feasible, innovative, and sustainable solution to a global health issue. The goal of the case study competition is to train the next generation of global health leaders through a unique competition experience built upon a real-world challenge.
PAS encompasses a thriving community of faculty and graduate and undergraduate students who specialize in a variety of disciplines across the university. The program promotes interdisciplinary coursework and special events focusing on current events, language training, study abroad programs, and research. In addition, PAS grants an Adjunct Major and Minor in African Studies at the undergraduate level and a Certificate in African Studies at the graduate level, as well as administers several grants and fellowships to encourage academic research on Africa and the Diaspora.