African Studies Program

"We're not just a group of scholars who happen to be located in one place; we're a real community of people who share a vision for making Africa better known and better understood."
-- Rowland Abiodun, Amherst College

The Five College Certificate in African Studies offers students an opportunity to pursue an interest in African studies as a complement to any academic major.

Drawing on the expertise and courses offered by more than 50 faculty members across the five campuses, students pursuing the Five College African Studies certificate work closely with a faculty advisor to plan a uniquely tailored course of study.

Faculty

Rowland Abiodun

Black Studies; Art and Art Studies
Office: 107 Cooper House
Telephone: (413) 542-5801
E-mail: roabiodun@amherst.edu

Rhonda Cobham-Sander

English; Black Studies
Office: 102 Cooper House
Telephone: (413) 542-5832
E-mail: ccobhamsande@amherst.edu

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Agnes Kimokoti

Five College Center for the Study of World Lanuages
79 South Pleasant Street, Suite 100
Amherst, MA
Telephone: (413) 559-5264
E-mail: akimokoti@fivecolleges.edu

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Sean Redding*

History; Black Studies
Office: 25 Chapin Hall
Telephone: (413) 542-2032
E-mail: sredding@amherst.edu
*Certificate Advisor

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Olufemi Vaughan

Black Studies
Office: 109 Cooper House
Telephone: (413) 542-5516
E-mail: ovaughan@amherst.edu

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Nell Arnold*

Fiction Writing
Office: Writing Center
Email: naIA@hampshire.edu
*Certificate Advisor

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Frank Holmquist

Professor Emeritus
E-mail: fholmquist@hampshire.edu

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Lynda Pickbourn*

Economics
Office: Franklin Patterson Hall
E-mail: ljpCSI@hampshire.edu
*Certificate Advisor

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Sarah Adelman

Economics
Office: Skinner Hall 123
Telephone: (431) 538-2495
E-mail: sadelman@mtholyoke.edu

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Catherine Corson

Environmental Studies
Office: Clapp 325
Telephone: (413) 538-3458
E-mail: ccorson@myholyoke.edu

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Samba Gadjigo

French
Office: 22 Ciruti Center
Telephone: (413) 538-2255
E-mail: sgadjigo@mtholyoke.edu

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Holly Hanson

Professor Emerita (History)
Office: 314 Skinner Hall
Telephone:(413) 538-2094
E-mail: hhanson@mtholyoke.edu

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Girma Kebbede

Geology and Geography
Office: Clapp Lab 328
Telephone: (413) 538-2004
E-mail: gkebbede@mtholyoke.edu

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John Lemly

Professor Emeritus
E-mail: jlemly@mtholyoke.edu

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Olabode Omojola*

Music
Office: 209 Pratt Hall
Telephone: (413) 532-0595
E-mail: bomojola@mtholyoke.edu
*Certificate Advisor

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Preston Smith II

Politics
Office: Shattuck 214
Telephone: (413) 538-3528
E-mail: psmith@mtholyoke.edu

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Jeffrey Ahlman*

History
Office: Nelson Library A/09
Telephone: (413) 585-3731
E-mail: jahlman@smith.edu
*Certificate Advisor

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Elliot Fratkin

Professor Emeritus (Anthropology)
Office: 107 Wright Hall
Telephone: (413) 585-3338
E-mail: efratkin@smith.edu

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Dawn Fulton

French Studies
Office: 123 Wright Hall
Telephone: (413) 585-3376
E-mail: cdfulton@email.smith.edu

headshot of Colin Hoag

Colin Hoag

Anthropology
Office: Hillyer Hall 309
Telephone: (413) 585-3126
E-mail: choag@smith.edu

headshot of Caroline Melly

Caroline Melly

Anthropology
Telephone: (413) 585-3500
E-mail: cmelly@email.smith.edu

headshot of Albert Mosley

Albert Mosley

Professor Emeritus (Philosophy)
Office: Dewey Hall 5
Telephone: (413) 585-3652
E-mail: amosley@email.smith.edu

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Katwiwa Mule

Comparative Literature
Office: Wright Hall 227
Telephone: (413) 585-3355
E-mail: kmule@email.smith.edu

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Lucy Mule

Education & Child Study
Office: Morgan Hall
Telephone: (413) 585-3263
E-mail: lmule@email.smith.edu

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Marilyn Sylla

Five College Dance Department (Emerita)
Office: Berenson Studio 1
Email: msylla@email.smith.edu

headshot of Gregory White

Gregory White

Government, African Studies
Office: 10 Prospect Street
Telephone: (413) 585-3542
E-mail: gwhite@smith.edu

headshot of Louis Wilson

Louis Wilson

Professor Emeritus (Afro-American Studies)
Office: Wright Hall 213
Telephone: (413) 585-3573
E-mail: lwilson@smith.edu

headshot of Judyie Al-Bilali

Judyie Al-Bilali

Theater
Office: Fine Arts Center 112
E-mail: jalbilali@theater.umass.edu

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Joye Bowman*

History
Office: Herter 618
Telephone: (413) 545-1330
E-mail: jbowman@history.umass.edu
*Certificate Advisor

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John Bracey

Afro-American Studies
Office: 327 New Africa House
Telephone: (413) 545-1330
E-mail: jhbracey@afroam.umass.edu

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Stephen Clingman

English
Office: 264 Bartlett Hall
Telephone: (413) 545-3474
E-mail: clingman@english.umass.edu

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Carlene Edie*

Political Science
Office: Thompson 206
Telephone: (413) 545-6172
E-mail: cjedie@polsci.umass.edu
*Certificate Advisor

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David Evans

Professor Emeritus
E-mail: dre@educ.umass.edu

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John Higginson

Professor Emeritus (History)
Office: 705 Herter Hall
Telephone: (413) 545-1920
E-mail: jeh@history.umass.edu

headshot of Kathryn Lachman

Kathryn Lachman

Languages, Literatures, & Cultures
Office: 319 Herter Hall
Telephone: (413) 545-6703
E-mail: klachman@llc.umass.edu

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Mzamo P. Mangaliso

Isenberg School of Management
Office: Isenberg 219C
Telephone: (413) 545-5698
E-mail: mangaliso@isenberg.umass.edu

headshot of Patrick Mensah

Patrick Mensah

French, Italian Studies
Office: 323 Herter Hall
Telephone: (413) 545-6716
E-mail: pmensah@frital.umass.edu

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Jacqueline Mosselson

The Center for International Education
Office: Hills South
Telephone: (413) 545-4696
E-mail: jmosselson@educ.umass.edu

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Léonce Ndikumana

Economics, Political Economy Research Institute
Office: Thompson Hall
Telephone: (413) 545-6359
E-mail: ndiku@econs.umass.edu

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Frederic Schaffer

Political Science
Office: Thompson 324
Telephone: (413) 545-0725
Email: schaffer@polsci.umass.edu

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Amilcar Shabazz

Afro-American Studies
Office: 324 Africa House
Telephone: (413) 545-2751
E-mail: shabazz@chancellor.umass.edu

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Demetria Shabazz

Communication
Office: 408 Machmer Hall
Telephone: (413) 545-4276
E-mail: dshabazz@comm.umass.edu

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Lindiwe Sibeko

Nutrition
Office: 204 Chenoweth Laboratory
Telephone: (413) 545-1693
E-mail: lsibeko@nutrition.umass.edu

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William Strickland

Professor Emeritus
E-mail: bstrick@afroam.umass.edu

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Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji

Economics
Office: Thompson 902
Telephone: (413) 545 1373
E-mail: mwangi@econs.umass.edu

Certificate

Students interested in the Five College African Studies Certificate should contact one of the African Studies faculty members on their campus and submit a Student Interest Form as soon as possible to begin planning course work. With your African Studies advisor, you select courses to meet the certificate program requirements.

In the senior year, students complete the Certificate Completion Form (below) in consultation with a program advisor on their campus, attaching an unofficial transcript acquired from the registrar. On the recommendation of the campus advisor, certificate requirements are reviewed and approved by a committee composed of program advisors from each of the five campuses.

Certificate Requirements

A. Six courses, chosen from at least four different departments, programs, or disciplines. The six courses should carry a total of at least 18 credits. Of the six courses, not more than two may carry less than two credits. The content of each course should be at least 50% devoted to Africa per se.
  1. Historical Overview. Minimum of one course providing historical perspective on Africa. Not limited to courses offered in History. (Normally the course should offer at least a regional perspective.)
  2. Social Science. Minimum of one course on Africa in the social sciences (i.e., Anthropology, Archeology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Sociology).
  3. Arts and Humanities. Minimum of one course on Africa in the fine arts and humanities (i.e., Art, Folklore, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Religion).

B. Language Requirement: Proficiency through the level of the second year in college in an indigenous or colonial language of Africa other than English. This requirement may be met by examination or course work; such language courses may not count toward the six courses required in Section A.

For more information about language study opportunities, see Languages in the Five Colleges.

C. Further Stipulations:

  1. No more than three courses in any one department or program may count toward the six required in Section A.
  2. A certificate candidate may present courses taken in Africa, but normally at least three of the required courses must be taken in the Five Colleges.
  3. A candidate must earn a grade of B or better in every course for the certificate; none may be taken on a pass/fail basis.
  4. Unusual circumstances may warrant substituting certificate requirements; therefore a candidate through her/his African Studies Faculty Advisor may petition the Faculty Liaison Committee (the Five College committee of certificate program advisors) at least one full semester before graduation for adjustments in these requirements. A successful petition will satisfy the interdisciplinary character of the certificate program.

D. Recommended Actions:

  1. Students are encouraged to spend one semester or more in Africa. Information about study abroad and other opportunities is available through the international program office at each campus.
  2. Students are encouraged to complete their certificate program with an independent study project that integrates and focuses their course work in African studies.

    Courses

    Fall 2021 Courses

    01
    4.00

    Kent Lohse

    MW 04:00PM-05:20PM

    Amherst College
    BLST-268-01-2122F

    CHAP 205

    klohse@amherst.edu
    HIST-268-01,BLST-268-01,LLAS-268-01

    01
    4.00

    Sean Redding

    TTH 03:00PM-04:20PM

    Amherst College
    BLST-322-01-2122F

    CHAP 101

    sredding@amherst.edu
    HIST-283-01,BLST-322-01

    (Offered as HIST 283 [AF/TE/TR/TSP] and BLST 322) The transition from white-minority rule in South Africa in 1994 seemed to usher in a new era of independence and democracy in the troubled country. The last bastion of white-supremacist colonial rule had fallen. But that transition has not lived up to the high expectations of South Africans. Although many more people now have a political voice, government institutions and significant economic institutions have remained mostly unchanged. In fact, economic and social inequality has increased in the twenty-seven years since Nelson Mandela was first elected President. Questions about whether South Africans can move beyond the legacy of the past haunt the current population.

    South African history is undergoing radical shifts in the way it is written, read, and interpreted. This course will explore established and emerging themes in the history of this fascinating country. We will cover a broad period from just before the beginning of white settlement in the mid-1600s to the present. The focus will be on understanding how South African populations have confronted and engaged with colonial rule, profound cultural changes, and the development of an oppressively unequal economic system. What are the roots of the current situation, and how do they shape and constrain future possibilities? How do people in contemporary South Africa confront the ideas that have shaped their understanding of their own country as they reconstruct their history?

    Fall semester. Professor Redding.

    Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

    01
    4.00

    Kent Lohse

    MW 04:00PM-05:20PM

    Amherst College
    HIST-268-01-2122F

    CHAP 205

    klohse@amherst.edu
    HIST-268-01,BLST-268-01,LLAS-268-01

    (Offered as HIST 268 [LA/TE/TR/P], BLST 268 [CLA] and LLAS 268) Students will gain in-depth knowledge of the experiences of Africans and their descendants, slave and free, from the time the first captives were brought to Hispaniola in 1503 until the time of abolition in Cuba in 1886 in this course. Regions to be covered include the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, and the Andean and Southern Cone regions. Topics will include the ways in which specific regions of Western Africa contributed captives to specific regions of Spanish America, the nature of Spanish colonial institutions and their impact on the lives of Africans and their descendants, resistance and rebellion, routes to freedom, and slave and free Black families. This readings-based course features both secondary and primary sources. Select primary documents will acquaint students with the sources historians use to reconstruct these aspects of the histories of largely non-literate African-descended peoples.

    Fall semester. Professor Lohse.

    Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

    01
    4.00

    Sean Redding

    TTH 03:00PM-04:20PM

    Amherst College
    HIST-283-01-2122F

    CHAP 101

    sredding@amherst.edu
    HIST-283-01,BLST-322-01

    (Offered as HIST 283 [AF/TE/TR/TSP] and BLST 322) The transition from white-minority rule in South Africa in 1994 seemed to usher in a new era of independence and democracy in the troubled country. The last bastion of white-supremacist colonial rule had fallen. But that transition has not lived up to the high expectations of South Africans. Although many more people now have a political voice, government institutions and significant economic institutions have remained mostly unchanged. In fact, economic and social inequality has increased in the twenty-seven years since Nelson Mandela was first elected President. Questions about whether South Africans can move beyond the legacy of the past haunt the current population.

    South African history is undergoing radical shifts in the way it is written, read, and interpreted. This course will explore established and emerging themes in the history of this fascinating country. We will cover a broad period from just before the beginning of white settlement in the mid-1600s to the present. The focus will be on understanding how South African populations have confronted and engaged with colonial rule, profound cultural changes, and the development of an oppressively unequal economic system. What are the roots of the current situation, and how do they shape and constrain future possibilities? How do people in contemporary South Africa confront the ideas that have shaped their understanding of their own country as they reconstruct their history?

    Fall semester. Professor Redding.

    Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

    01
    4.00

    Kent Lohse

    MW 04:00PM-05:20PM

    Amherst College
    LLAS-268-01-2122F

    CHAP 205

    klohse@amherst.edu
    HIST-268-01,BLST-268-01,LLAS-268-01

    1
    4.00

    Olabode Omojola

    02:30PM-03:50PM TU;02:30PM-03:50PM TH

    Hampshire College
    333942

    Music and Dance Building RECITAL;Music and Dance Building RECITAL

    ofoHA@hampshire.edu
    This course focuses on African popular music. It examines musical genres from different parts of the continent, investigating their relationships to the historical, political, and social dynamics of their respective national and regional origins. Musical idioms like highlife, soukous, kwaito, afrobeat, hiplife, and afrobeats will be studied to assess the significance of popular music as a creative response to social and political developments in colonial and postcolonial Africa. The course also discusses the growth of hip-hop music in selected countries by exploring how indigenous cultural tropes have provided the basis for its local adaptation. The themes explored in the class also include music and identity, music, politics, and resistance; appropriation, cosmopolitanism, neo-traditional forms, and the politics of musical nostalgia.
    Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

    01
    3.00

    Leonce Ndikumana

    TU TH 2:30PM 3:45PM

    UMass Amherst
    13205

    To be Announced by Department

    ndiku@econs.umass.edu
    This course offers a survey of key structural and policy issues in African economic development. It is intended to provide retrospective and prospective views of African economies, taking into account domestic, regional and global dimensions. The themes covered include: growth; structural transformation; institutions; macroeconomic frameworks; human development, poverty and inequality; gender and development; foreign aid and financing for Africa's development; capital flight from Africa; conflicts and policies for post-conflict recovery; unemployment and labor markets; migration and remittances; domestic financial systems.
    Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

    01
    3.00

    Carlene Edie

    TU TH 11:30AM 12:45PM

    UMass Amherst
    19430

    Machmer Hall room W-11

    cjedie@polsci.umass.edu
    Comparative analysis of the politics of change in Tanzania and Kenya. Economic dependency and underdevelopment; decolonization and liberation; ideology and practice; democratization and economic liberalization. Emphasis on interaction between domestic and external politics. Prerequisite: upper-division standing, POLISCI 111 or consent of instructor.
    Instructor Permission: Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.

    African Languages offered by the Five College Center for World Languages

    Swahili students in class

    Swahili

    Beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses are available every semester. Courses include individual tutorials and small group conversation sessions. Sessions meet on all five campuses and are individually scheduled. Instructor: Dr. Agnes Kimokoti (pictured).

    Swahili student in class

    Afrikaans, Amharic, Twi, Wolof, Yoruba

    Supervised independent study courses. Beginning and intermediate courses are available. Courses include small group conversation sessions led by native/fluent conversation partners. Sessions meet on the home campus of the conversation partner and are individually scheduled. The availability of languages may vary, and other languages may be added.

    Language Center conversation partner talking to student

    Egyptian Arabic, Moroccan Arabic

    Supervised independent study courses. Prerequisite: Two semesters of Modern Standard Arabic or the equivalent. Courses include small group conversation sessions led by native/fluent conversation partners. Sessions meet on the home campus of the conversation partner and are individually scheduled.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    On each of the campuses of the five college consortium (except Hampshire College), all students are required to develop a major in one particular field and then to complement that with courses drawn from other subjects. Often, the choice of those other courses is dictated by college requirements or by what is available at particular times. The African Studies Certificate Program is not another major, but it represents an important way for students to bring intellectual coherence to selecting courses outside their own majors. Further, by focusing intensely on the continent of Africa, students develop a keen appreciation of the rich connections between history, politics, economics, cultures, and the humanities.
     
    Those students in the past who have earned the certificate point with pride and satisfaction to having selected a group of courses whose focus is Africa, and they have found the possession of the certificate to be a distinct advantage for getting into graduate school or for employment.

    You will need to complete at least 18 credits in various courses which focus on Africa, and you need to demonstrate that you have a working knowledge of a language of Africa either indigenous or official (other than English).

    No campus of the Five Colleges has sufficient teaching resources on Africa to enable you to complete the certificate program, but taken together, the five campuses provide one of the richest resources of African Studies expertise and courses anywhere in America. You will likely need to take courses on at least one campus other than your own in order to complete the certificate program.
     
    Since the mid-1980s, faculty in the Five Colleges with Africa interests have been part of the Five College African Studies Council which coordinates offerings of Africa-related courses, supports the certificate program, and plans seminars, study-in-Africa opportunities, and visits to the area by African scholars and artists. One of the more significant achievements of the Council has been the development and management of the certificate program as a way to strengthen the intellectual accomplishments of students.
     
    When you graduate, having completed your baccalaureate degree, your official transcript will say, "Completed the requirements for the Five College African Studies Certificate."

    Each campus has African Studies Certificate Program faculty advisors who will help you set up your own personalized certificate program. There is no formal admissions process to the certificate program; all you need to do is to declare with a faculty African Studies advisor on your campus your intent to complete the certificate program and to submit the African Studies Certificate Student Interest Form. Characteristically, students take one or two courses on Africa and then decide to complete the program with course selection advice from an African Studies advisor.

    Contact Us

    Council Co-Chairs:

    Judyie Al-Bilali, Associate Professor of Theater, UMass Amherst

    Patrick Mensah, Associate Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, UMass Amherst

    Five College Staff Liaison:

    Ray RennardDirector of Academic Programs

    Connect:

    Join our email list!