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Societies and Cultures Section

Focusing on the University of Ghana’s mission to “develop world class human resources and capabilities to meet national development needs and global challenges through quality teaching, learning, research and knowledge dissemination”, fellows of the Societies and Cultures section actively participate in the Institute of African Studies (IAS) teaching, research, and outreach activities. The Societies and Cultures section of IAS is a transdisciplinary unit that draws on the expertise and skills of outstanding sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, and other social scientists in research activities. The section has been committed to the (re)production of knowledge for better understanding and conceptualization of Africa’s development. Considerable number of fellows in IAS are affiliated to this section, with graduate students who enrol and read a variety of courses on African societies and cultures. The section is actively involved in the Institute’s graduate (MA, M.Phil., and PhD) programmes. These include the delivery of three core graduate level courses on research methods, topics in research methods, and African social and political systems. Additionally, fellows of the section undertake collaborative teaching and research with fellows in other sections of the Institute and cognate departments/institutes of the University of Ghana.

At the undergraduate level where all students subscribe to the University of Ghana Required Courses (UGRCs) in African Studies, the section plays a critical role in fulfilling this mandate with a range of innovative and highly subscribed courses to students. Some of the UGRC courses offered by the section include Culture and Development; African Popular Culture (festivals and ceremonies); Appropriate Technology for Development in Africa; Africa’s Population Issues; Gender and Development; and Social Framework for Economic Development among others.

In the area of research and extension work, the section has been at the forefront of several institutional projects leading to innovative knowledge production and offering graduate students opportunities to participate in field research, thus enhancing their research capacities while actively undertaking their masters and doctoral studies. The section has led and executed institutional projects such as: securing land rights in Africa; child sexual exploitation in Accra; menstrual hygiene management among pupils in basic schools; and the chieftaincy, governance, and development project. Furthermore, there are many ongoing research projects being undertaken by fellows of the section, one of which is the domestic security implications of peace keeping (D-SIP) with focus on land and mineral resource use regimes and attendant community conflicts in Ghana; and social study of the impact of oil and gas, funded by Ghana Gas.

Fellows in the section comprise  Prof. Dzodzi Tsikata, Em. Prof. Takyiwaa Manuh, Prof. Albert Awedoba, Prof. Kojo Amanor, Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Dr. Osman Alhassan, Dr. Deborah Atobrah, Dr. Benjamin K. Kwansa, Dr. Peter Narh, Dr. Pius Siakwah and Dr. Eric T. Lawer. Fellows in the section collaborate to teach courses, while undertaking joint research projects as well. The section plays a major role in PhD supervision and mentoring in the Institute and supports the university’s assessment programmes associated with PhD training at the University of Ghana. Faculty of the section also work closely with many players including international agencies, national government institutions, industry and civil society organisations which places it in a strategic position to make valuable inputs into local, national, and global development issues. The section often counts on its experienced research professors and senior fellows to offer the needed direction and guidance in research, teaching and advocacy thus ensuring that the IAS executes its pivotal role of shaping national and international development in the social and cultural domains in diverse socio-cultural contexts.