The program description below is for information purposes only. An updated description for the 2015-16 competition will be posted in July. The Online Fellowship Application (OFA) system will also open at that time.
- Applicants must be nationals and residents of a country in sub-Saharan Africa, with a current affiliation at an institution in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, or Uganda.
- Funding is available for dissertation completion and for postdoctoral research and writing.
- Applicants for Dissertation-Completion Fellowships should be in the final year of writing the dissertation at a university in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, or Uganda.
- Dissertation-Completion Fellowships are not available in South Africa.
- Applicants for Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowships must be working in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, or Uganda and must have completed the Ph.D. no more than eight years ago.
- Projects must be in the humanities and must be carried out in sub-Saharan Africa. AHP fellowships may not be used for travel outside the continent.
- Completed applications must be submitted by November 1, 2014.
- Applications must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The African Humanities Program (AHP) seeks to reinvigorate the humanities in Africa through fellowship competitions and related activities in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. In partnership with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which has generously provided funding, AHP offers African scholars an integrated set of opportunities to develop individual capacities and to promote formation of scholarly networks. The African Humanities Program supports the Carnegie Corporation’s efforts to develop and retain African academics at universities in Africa.
Goals of the African Humanities Program
- to encourage and enable the production of new knowledge and new directions for research
- to strengthen the capacity of early career researchers and faculty at African universities
- to build the field of humanities by establishing networks for scholarly communication across Africa and with Africanists worldwide.
Fellowship competitions are the centerpiece of the African Humanities Program. They focus attention on the significance of fundamental humanistic research for the understanding of societies’ histories, languages, and cultures, and, therefore, for democracy and development. They develop the humanities community in Africa by engaging senior scholars as evaluators of applications and as mentors for Fellows, initiating and sustaining a cross-border and cross disciplinary dialog on standards of quality in humanities research.
Fellowship stipends allow recipients an academic year free from teaching and other duties for completion of the Ph.D. dissertation, for revising the dissertation for publication, or for the first major research project after the Ph.D. Fellows are also eligible for additional benefits such as residential stays for writing, manuscript development workshops, and publication support.
AHP fellowships fill an urgent need identified by advisers familiar with conditions at African universities. Scholars need to conduct research and to write, but they lack the time to do so because of heavy teaching duties associated with the massive enrollments in humanities courses at African universities (class sizes reach one thousand or more students).
Officials at African universities have been quick to appreciate the value of AHP fellowships, not only as assistance to individuals, but as independent validation of their institutions’ Ph.D. training programs and research capacity. A strong indicator of commitment has been the readiness of university administrators to release recipients of AHP awards from teaching responsibilities. In one case, a department head at a university in Ghana rescheduled her own sabbatical leave so that a member of her department could accept an AHP fellowship.
Each fellow may request a residential stay at an African institute for advanced study. Residencies have proved to be extremely popular and productive, granting fellows time and space to concentrate on writing. Because residencies must be taken at an institute outside the home country, they foster international communication. In one instance, three scholars who met while in residence in South Africa organized a conference in Benin on a subject of common interest (the difficulties in communication between Anglophone and Francophone scholarship in West Africa). Currently AHP Fellows may take residencies at eight institutes from South Africa to Senegal, Ghana to Tanzania.
The initial four years of the AHP concentrated on publicity and workshops for potential AHP applicants, held at African universities in each of the five AHP countries. These meetings, in concert with the peer review process, have established nascent networks for scholarly communication on specific topics in humanities research, on problems related to specific fields of study, and on standards of quality. A typical meeting consisted of sessions for advisers/peer reviewers to discuss program progress, workshops in writing application essays, and seminars at which fellows presented their current work. Although meetings were hosted by universities, they had a much wider impact because local organizers welcomed potential applicants from the region beyond their own immediate vicinity. In order to promote networks, AHP sponsored international travel to local meetings by mentors and AHP Fellows from other African countries. Meetings for launching annual competitions were held at 14 different African universities.
Beginning with the fifth annual competition (academic year 2012-13), AHP shifted from publicity and application-preparation to emphasize the publication of fellows’ manuscripts.
Public meetings to launch competitions and offer assistance to applicants, previously sponsored by AHP, are now organized locally, with the participation of AHP Fellows and mentors. In summer 2013, meetings were held in Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.
Fellows are invited to submit their manuscripts to the AHP Publications series, a collaboration with UNISA Press in Pretoria, South Africa. The rigorous development and peer-review process of AHP Publications is overseen by the two series co-editors, Kwesi Yankah, Central University College, Ghana, and Frederick Hendricks, dean of the humanities at Rhodes University, South Africa, both of whom also serve as associate directors of the African Humanities Program, with the assistance of the editorial board.
Fellows may apply to attend a Manuscript-Development Workshop to discuss their manuscripts with AHP mentors and other fellows in a weeklong, intensive retreat. Many authors use these discussions to guide their final revisions before submitting manuscripts for publication.
To acknowledge and reward the contributions of advisers/mentors and peer reviewers, AHP has instituted a program of Adviser Travel Grants for Mentoring. AHP peer reviewers are eligible to apply for international travel in Africa to participate in workshops for applicants and conferences for AHP Fellows.
AHP also partners with the African Studies Association every year to bring select AHP Fellows to the ASA Annual Meeting as ASA Presidential Fellows.
News and views of the AHP community are shared on a Facebook page.
For further details on eligibility, submission of applications, and selection criteria, see 2014-15 Competition Announcement (PDF) as well as Instructions and Application materials (at right).