Carnegie Corporation of New York Renews Funding for AHP
The African Humanities Program (AHP) seeks to revitalize the humanities in five African countries: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda through fellowship competitions, regional workshops, and peer networking. The program is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The centerpiece of the AHP is the distribution of fellowships to promising African scholars through two peer-reviewed competitions. One competition promotes the completion of Ph.D. dissertations in the humanities by providing a stipend to support the final year of writing. The second competition supports ongoing research and publication by early-career scholars in the humanities by providing one-year leaves from teaching in the form of a postdoctoral fellowship. Recipients of both kinds of fellowship are also eligible for residential awards to support a sustained period of writing as visiting scholars at other research centers in Africa. The postdoctoral fellowship competition is open to humanities scholars in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda who propose to work in sub-Saharan Africa. Dissertation fellowships are open to humanities scholars in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. In the first competition (2008-2009), 42 fellowships were awarded: 11 awards for dissertation completion, 24 awards for early career postdoctoral research and writing, and 7 residencies. In the second year (2009-2010), 39 fellowships were awarded : 10 awards for dissertation completion and 29 awards for early career postdoctoral research and writing, with residential choices to be determined.
The second year of the program also brought an initiative to publish a landmark series in the African humanities, books that would galvanize teaching and research on the continent and communicate the best in new research to the global scholarly community. Two co-editors were named: Kwesi Yankah of the University of Ghana-Legon and Abebe Zegeye of the University of the Witwatersrand.
The AHP organizes meetings in Africa in cooperation with host institutions to publicize the fellowship program and to discuss new trends in humanities research. In the first two years of the program (2008-2009 and 2009-2010), meetings were held at universities in Ghana (University of Ghana-Legon), in Nigeria (University of Ibadan, Bayero University Kano, and Amadu Bello University in Zaria), in South Africa (University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg in Johannesburg, the East London campus of Ft. Hare University, the University of the Western Cape and University of Cape Town in Cape Town), in Tanzania (the University of Dar es Salaam), and in Uganda (Makerere University in Kampala). At the meetings senior African scholars from a variety of disciplines advise on the fine-tuning of the fellowship programs and lead workshops in application preparation. Younger scholars learn about the AHP fellowship program, gain practical advice on the application process, and have the opportunity to discuss new directions in the humanities and standards of quality in humanities research. Through the activities of the African Humanities Program, ACLS promotes local and international cooperation among humanities scholars at all stages of career, with the aim of developing a self-sustaining. continent-wide network of African humanities scholars.
The African Humanities Program is inspired by a commitment to the humanities as a core component of higher education and research in Africa, essential to progress and development. The ACLS defines the humanities as the study of human cultures, languages, and histories through the use of qualitative approaches. Among the disciplines contributing to humanities scholarship are anthropology, archaeology, history, studies of the fine and performing arts, musicology, languages and linguistics, literature studies, religious studies, and philosophy.
ACLS's activities in Africa are based, in part, on the success of the ACLS Humanities Program in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, also funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Carnegie Corporation of New York Renews Funding for AHP, ACLS News, March 22, 2012.
“Will Knowledge Survive? Studying the Humanities at African Universities,” a 2009 Carnegie Corporation of New York report describing the need for this and other programs in the context of the critical situation facing many universities on the continent.