About the Center

The Africa Center at the University of Pennsylvania is recognized as a vital and forward-looking center where researchers, students and cultural and business entities come to gain knowledge of historical and contemporary Africa. The Center coordinates a wide range of course offerings in anthropology, demography, economics, history, language, literature, politics, religion, and sociology. Specialized issues are addressed through the University’s research programs, professional schools, and interdisciplinary centers. The geographic interests of Penn Africanists span the continent -- including Francophone and Islamic countries -- and extend to the African diaspora throughout the world. Faculty and staff share a commitment to a broad, integrated approach to the study of African people, their institutions, and the wider world where they now reside.

Outreach is central to the Center’s mission. Ongoing collaborations with other educational institutions, government agencies, private businesses, and nonprofit organizations in the United States and abroad keep the Center in the forefront of academic and cultural developments. African language training and the coordination of country- and region-specific seminars on contemporary topics are also key components of the Center’s efforts to meet the demands of individuals and institutions seeking to expand their engagement with the continent.

The main priorities of the Africa Center include:

  • development of multi-level instructional materials for African languages
  • expansion of advanced language, research, and internship opportunities for undergraduates
  • addition of a new concentration in North and Islamic African studies
  • extension of current outreach initiatives to two- and four-year colleges in our region
  • organization of lectures, conferences, and career days with the other area studies centers on the Penn campus.