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African Studies Program

The African Studies program at the College of Charleston supports a wide spectrum of guest speakers and extracurricular activities, and plays an important role in the internationalization of the college curriculum and the college community. 

Students who minor in African Studies benefit from interdisciplinary coursework that surveys the diverse cultures, geography, literature, politics and economics of the African continent. They also develop in-depth knowledge of various African countries, both historically and in the modern age.

Most often hailing from the disciplines of anthropology, English, French, history, political science and religious studies, the widely varied interests of our minors generate cross-disciplinary and trans-cultural dialogues that provide useful preparation for any work in which solid and creative research and communication skills are essential.

African Studies minors have gone on to government and private sector employment in academia, computer science, environmentalism, foreign service, health sciences, human rights, international business, library science, journalism, law and politics, as well as other fields.

To expand our students’ understanding of global connections, the program strongly encourages study abroad on the African continent. 


Upcoming conference:

21st Century Resiliency: Sustainable Development and U.S.-Africa Relations

The Southeastern Regional Seminar in African Studies (SERSAS) and the SouthEast Africanist Network (SEAN) are pleased to announce a joint conference to be hosted by the College of Charleston on Friday evening and Saturday, February 3-4, 2017, in historic downtown Charleston, SC.

Sustainable Development has garnered increased attention and support in recent years in the West, but has long been applicable to Africa, where many countries are witnessing declines in poverty and hunger, and improvements in national economies. This is therefore a propitious time to reflect on Africa’s social and economic trajectories, in the past, present and future.  In what ways do African examples reflect possibilities for a more resilient world?  At the same time, the United States is just emerging from a bruising presidential election in which Africa did not play a notable role in public debates, and the president-elect has evidenced little interest in, and even less knowledge of, Africa.  How are his proposed policies, to the extent that there are any, likely to affect given countries or regions in Africa?

Conference organizers are negotiating to bring in Dr. Peter Lewis, Director of the African Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, to deliver the conference's keynote lecture.

Faculty, independent scholars, and graduate students are all encouraged to participate.  In preparing proposals, please keep in mind that this year’s conference explicitly seeks to disrupt the conventional “three people reading papers” session.  We seek innovative and unconventional proposals from all fields for this interdisciplinary conference (for example, we invite you to propose an experimental session with 5 presenters making presentations of 7-10 minutes each).  More traditional proposals for individual papers, entire sessions, round-tables, interactive workshops, and conversations, are still of course welcome.  SERSAS will award the graduate student who presents the best paper at the conference the SERSAS Graduate Student Prize, which carries a stipend of $100.

Please send your proposals of no more than 300 words per presenter to: 

Tim Carmichael (

Simon Lewis (

Chris Day (

The deadline for receipt of proposals is 5pm on Monday, January 2nd. Notification of acceptance (or otherwise) will be sent by Friday, January 6th.

Conference Sponsors: Southeastern Regional Seminar in African Studies; SouthEast Africanist Network; UNC African Studies Center; UNC College of Arts and Sciences; University of Florida Center for African Studies; Carolina Seminars; and the US Department of Education.

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