Program in African Studies



  • Chika O. Okeke-Agulu

Executive Committee

  • Jacob S. Dlamini, History
  • Simon E. Gikandi, English
  • Satyel Larson, Near Eastern Studies
  • Chika O. Okeke-Agulu, Art and Archaeology
  • Carolyn M. Rouse, Anthropology

Associated Faculty

  • André Benhaïm, French & Italian
  • Lauren Coyle Rosen, Anthropology
  • Andy P. Dobson, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Emmanuel H. Kreike, History
  • Gavin Steingo, Music
  • Leonard Wantchekon, Politics
  • Jennifer A. Widner, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs

Sits with Committee

  • Hannah Essien
  • Mahiri Mwita
  • Alain St. Pierre
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

Princeton's Certificate in African Studies, offered by the Program in African Studies (AFS), provides opportunities to all Princeton students, regardless of major, to learn about the continent. The program offers classes in Africa's political, economic, and social history; built environments and urban geographies; ecology, genetic diversity, and epidemiological concerns. The program also offers classes in Africa's vibrant art scenes, past and present, where literature, music, and art have come to define a new postcolonial African cosmopolitanism. Certificate students can also learn Swahili, Twi, and Yoruba in preparation for either a PIIRS global seminar or summer internship in Africa.

Admission to the Program

Students seeking admission to the certificate program should contact the program manager.

Program of Study

To obtain the certificate of proficiency, students must complete the normal requirements in their major department as well as the following requirements of the program:

1. Four AFS cross-listed courses. Students can substitute a cross-listed course with another course with prior approval from the director of the Program in African Studies. Students who study abroad must submit courses for certificate credit to the program manager for director approval prior to taking the course abroad and preferably prior to leaving for study abroad.

2. One capstone semester-long seminar in a student's junior or senior year. The seminar will focus on independent research methods, and will incorporate the AFS lecture series as part of the curriculum.

3. A senior thesis or junior paper on Africa.

Study Abroad

The Program in African Studies strongly encourages concentrators to study in Africa. The Program in African Studies and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies list a number of excellent programs on their websites.

Courses in African Studies

A list of courses in African studies offered by other departments and programs may be found on TigerHub and the program website. If other courses on Africa are offered, these may be added with the permission of the director.

The Program in African Studies sponsors conferences, seminars, and lectures throughout the year that bring to the University distinguished scholars, government officials, and other experts with diverse points of view and interests in Africa. Students in the program are encouraged to participate in African studies events around campus.

Programs in Swahili and Twi

The Program in African Studies offers four terms of language instruction in Swahili and Twi. A one-year-long sequence in any of these languages can satisfy two of the course requirements for the certificate. Completion of all four terms of either sequence will satisfy the University language requirement. Occasionally, more advanced courses will be offered. Note: Normally, students electing a beginner's course in any language will receive credit only if two terms are completed.

Princeton in Africa

Students interested in working in Africa after graduation can apply to the Princeton in Africa (PiAF) program for fellowships. Princeton in Africa seeks to develop young leaders who understand Africa's important past and who are committed to the continent's vibrant future. To accomplish this, PiAF offers year-long, postgraduate internships with a variety of organizations that work across the African continent.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who have met the requirements of the program and their department will receive a certificate of proficiency in African studies upon graduation.



AFS 200 Introduction to African Studies Not offered this year SA

An exploration of the past, present, and future of Africa in a multidisciplinary setting. A dozen Africanist faculty members collaborate in an effort to shed light on both the huge potential of Africa and its peoples and the enormous challenges the continent faces. Topics vary from politics, economics, conservation, biodiversity, climate change, the environment, health and disease, and written and oral literature, to the impact of the world on Africa as well as Africa's contributions to and place in worlds present and past. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Instructed by: Staff

AFS 206 Human Evolution (See ANT 206)

AFS 239 Introduction to African Literature and Film (See COM 239)

AFS 241 The Golden Rhinoceros: Histories of the African Middle Ages (See COM 241)

AFS 245 Picturing Africa. Multicultural Visions for a Global Youth (See FRE 245)

AFS 250 The Mother and Father Continent: A Global History of Africa (See HIS 250)

AFS 251 Indigenous North Africa: Amazigh Communities (See NES 251)

AFS 258 Music of Africa (See MUS 258)

AFS 260 Introduction to African Art (See ART 260)

AFS 261 Art and Politics in Postcolonial Africa (See ART 261)

AFS 262 Languages of Africa (See LIN 260)

AFS 265 Global Popular Music (See MUS 265)

AFS 300 Landscapes of Development (See ARC 321)

AFS 303 Governing Post-Colonial Africa: Family, Religion, and the State Spring SA

The seminar addresses the structural consequences and responses that African nations and communities developed upon their insertion into global political and economic practice and discourse. Africa's character prior to modern nationhood forms the backdrop to discussions of the development and utilization of social, political, and economic strategies for continued participation in global political and economic intercourse. Themes include: traditional religious practice and the church; global economic interactions; African interstate relations; governance, regime change, and elections; wars and displacement; and women in society. Instructed by: C. Agawu

AFS 309 Topics in Contemporary Italian Civilization (See ITA 309)

AFS 310 Development Aid in Sub-Saharan Africa: Rogues, Benefactors and Recipients Spring SA

Sub-Saharan Africa's record on the use of development aid has been at best mixed. It has received about $1 trillion in foreign assistance since 1960. In the early 1980s, three world regions, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia had over 50% of their populations living in extreme poverty. Thirty odd years later, Sub-Saharan Africa's figures have barely shifted; they went down from 53% to only 47% in 2011. East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia regions also received substantial assistance and have significantly reduced extreme poverty among their populations. Critics of foreign assistance decry such assistance. Instructed by: C. Agawu

AFS 312 Documentary Filmmaking in Kenya (See GLS 312)

AFS 313 Precolonial Africa (See HIS 314)

AFS 314 The Anthropology of Development (See ANT 314)

AFS 316 Colonial and Postcolonial Africa (See HIS 315)

AFS 318 Literature, Landscape and Place-Making in the African Environmental Imagination (also
ENV 317
) Spring

Little writing from Africa conforms to Western understandings of nature writing or mainstream environmentalism. But does that mean that African authors are disinterested in environmental questions? How do African authors represent their relationship to the land and non-human organisms? This seminar will explore acts of environmental imagination by African novelists from around the continent; organized roughly by biome. We will also discuss writerly approaches to environmental activism on the continent. The course will aid students ability to think, speak and write critically about African literature, the environment and relations of power. Instructed by: M. Arenberg

AFS 330 Landmarks of French Culture (See FRE 330)

AFS 350 Studies in African Performance (See MUS 350)

AFS 354 Contemporary Issues in African Societies (See SOC 354)

AFS 355 Sex, Gender, and Desire in Francophone Africa (See FRE 355)

AFS 366 Politics in Africa (See POL 366)

AFS 400 Topics in African Studies Not offered this year

Designed to allow juniors and seniors enrolled in the program to examine significant problems in Africa in an interdisciplinary manner. Topics vary from year to year, reflecting faculty research interests. Prerequisite: one core course and one cognate course, or instructor's permission. Required of all program concentrators; open to others by permission of program director and course instructor. Instructed by: Staff

AFS 401 Global Health in Africa (See GHP 401)

AFS 405 Topics in Anthropology (See ANT 405)

AFS 411 Art, Apartheid, and South Africa (See AAS 411)

AFS 412 Human Trafficking and its Demise: African and European Slaves in Modern Islam (16th-21st century) (See NES 395)

AFS 416 Topics in Postcolonial Literature (See ENG 417)

AFS 424 The History of Christianity in Africa: From St. Mark to Desmond Tutu (See HIS 423)

AFS 427 Conflict in Africa

Examines selected aspects on conflict in Africa. The concept "conflict" is used to mean organized and/or collective political violence that causes the death of about 1,000 people per year. The course will focus on the following issues: analytical debates about conflicts in Africa; actors/participants such as guerrillas, warlords, and child soldiers; continental politics about conflict; the politics of humanitarian intervention; wars in the Great Lakes Region; the war and warlords of West Africa; the genocide in Rwanda, and the aftermath of wars, especially those of Southern Africa. One three-hour seminar. Instructed by: A. Seegers

AFS 435 Gender and Sexuality in African History (See COM 434)

AFS 450 Critical African Studies Fall

Critical African Studies is a colloquium designed as a capstone course for African Studies Certificate students. The course is designed to introduce students to cutting-edge scholarship in African Studies. Students engage with African Studies scholars from Princeton University and beyond. In addition to attending the African Studies Lecture Series and Works-in-Progress series, students in Critical African Studies will workshop their junior or senior independent research. This capstone course is open to junior and senior certificate students and must be taken to fulfill the African Studies Certificate requirements. Instructed by: C. Rouse

AFS 453 Rituals of Governing (See ANT 453)

AFS 472 White Hunters, Black Poachers: Africa and the Science of Conservation (See HIS 473)

AFS 474 Art and Politics in Postcolonial Africa (See ART 474)

SWA 101 Elementary Swahili I Fall

An introduction to Kiswahili language and culture. Focuses on the development of the communication skills students need to interact with Swahili speakers. Instruction emphasizes cultural themes and experiential activities that enhance the four components of speaking, writing, listening, and reading. Students will also gain some insight into the cultures of East Africa. Four classes. No credit is given for SWA 101 unless followed by SWA 102. Instructed by: M. Mwita

SWA 102 Elementary Swahili II Spring

Continuation of SWA 101. Emphasis is on increasing proficiency in reading and listening comprehension, speaking, and writing. Cultural contexts of the East African societies where Swahili is spoken are incorporated in classroom activities in order to enhance communication and cultural proficiency. Prerequisite: SWA 101. Four classes. Instructed by: M. Mwita

SWA 105 Intermediate Swahili I Fall

This second-year Swahili course focuses on enhancing the communicative skills acquired in the first year. Instruction emphasizes reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The course infuses cultural and sociopolitical aspects of life in East Africa with more complex grammatical concepts such as the subjunctive, grammar infixes, and relative clauses. Prerequisites: SWA 101 and 102, or instructor's permission. Four classes. Instructed by: M. Mwita

SWA 107 Intermediate Swahili II Spring

Emphasizes conversational fluency and increased facility in reading and writing skills while introducing students to Swahili literature. This literature forms the basis for a survey of cultural issues and more advanced grammar. Students will be able to understand and analyze the main ideas and significant details of materials in Swahili such as media articles, short stories, poetry, short novels, films, and plays. Covers advanced-level Swahili grammar, as well as the development of expository writing skills. Prerequisite: SWA 105, or instructor's permission. Four classes. Instructed by: M. Mwita

TWI 101 Elementary Twi I Fall

An introduction to Twi language and culture of the Akan-Twi-speaking people of West Africa. The course is taught in Twi and focuses on acquiring novice-level skills to perform basic communication functions in the culture of Akan-Twi speakers of West Africa. Students will be introduced to basic grammar, communicative skills and cultural activities that will be reinforced through role plays, conversations, dialogues and songs. By the end of the course, students will have acquired basic grammar competence to perform in everyday situations with an understanding and appreciation of the culture of the Akan people in Ghana, West Africa. Instructed by: H. Essien

TWI 102 Elementary Twi II Spring

This course is a continuation of Twi 101 and continues to focus on the communicative approach to studying the language. It includes specific socio-cultural settings and events. Speaking, reading, writing and listening continue to form an integral part of the course and students will build on their grammatical skills. By the end of the course, learners are expected to reach proficiency level ranging between Novice High and Intermediate Low. Instructed by: H. Essien

TWI 105 Intermediate Twi I Fall

This course is a continuation of TWI 102. It builds on the basic Twi structures acquired in TWI 101 and TWI 102 through oral and listening activities. Students will continue to build on their vocabulary through readings of short stories. It continues to focus on communicative skills and cultural awareness. By the end of the course, learners are expected to reach proficiency level ranging between Intermediate Low and Intermediate Mid. Instructed by: H. Essien

TWI 107 Intermediate Twi II Spring

This course expands on the language skills acquired from TWI 105 and continues to focus on the communicative approach to studying the language. It includes specific socio-cultural settings and events. Speaking, reading, writing and listening continue to form an integral part of the course and students will build on their grammatical skills. By the end of the course, learners are expected to reach proficiency level ranging between Novice High and Intermediate Low. Instructed by: H. Essien