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Message from the Director

Welcome to the website of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, one of Africa’s first centres of African Studies, a veritable storied institution. That the Institute, established in the years of early post-colonial optimism and continental self-confidence and ambition, has survived changing and challenging times at the University, in Ghana, Africa and the world, while growing its reputation and stature, is truly remarkable. Founded in 1961 through the instrumentality of Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah, the Institute has established a tradition of research, teaching and publishing that enables it to fulfil its mandate of knowledge production and dissemination for the regeneration and development of Africa and its diasporas. An important element of this work is the establishment of distinct traditions in African studies that privilege Africa centred epistemologies. The Institute’s intellectual production and networking makes an important contribution to a global network of institutions of African Studies.

The generous vision that underpins the Institute is evident in an impressive knowledge infrastructure composed of six inter-disciplinary sections- societies and culture; languages, literature and drama; history and politics; philosophy and religions; music and dance; and media and visual arts; supported by a library with its unique collections, an audio-visual unit, a Publications section that produces a journal and monographs, the Kwabena Nketia Audio-visual Archives and the Manhyia archives in Kumasi that we manage. The Institute is also home to the Ghana Dance Ensemble. These are resources we share with the rest of the University, scholars from other universities and independent institutions in Ghana, Africa and beyond. We invite to consider visiting these units and utilising these resources for your research and publications.

The Institute has a critical responsibility for shaping young minds for the future we truly value. We offer and manage the University of Ghana Required Courses in African Studies. The course, which consists of a general introduction combined with one of 25 specialisations is to ensure that every under-graduate student of the University is introduced to Africa in a wide range of dimensions of life and living in Africa in historical and contemporary perspectives. Our post-graduate programme has grown and continues to attract students interested in innovative research methodologies for African centred knowledge production.

I encourage you to acquaint yourself with the Institute’s current research agenda, “African Lives, Institutions and Futures: (2018-2023)” that aims to build on past programmes and achievements while charting a new course of emphasis on collaborative research. The research agenda seeks to address the enduring question of what doing African Studies entails and also aims to chronicle and analyse the state of African lives, institutions and futures as well as with the survival and wellbeing of Africa’s peoples in the age of neo-liberal globalization. The over-arching concern of the Research agenda is to improve the legibility of the research produced at the Institute, and to document and disseminate efforts by faculty to develop and use innovative methodologies.

We are privileged to host the Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies, one of three endowed Chairs at the University of Ghana. It was jointly established in 2009 by the University of Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti Ghana Limited. The overarching objective of the Chair is to honour Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President and promote research, teaching and the public promotion of African Studies.

Enjoy our website and visit us should you be in Accra.

Dzodzi Tsikata

Director, Institute of African Studies.