African Humanities Program

The deadline for this program has passed. The description below is for information purposes only. Awardees in the 2020-21 competition will be announced in the spring.

We invite applications for postdoctoral fellowships from scholars who are within eight years of receiving the PhD degree, who are citizens of Sub-Saharan African countries, and who are currently working at universities in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, or Uganda. Women are especially encouraged to apply. 

This call for applications (2020-21) announces the twelfth annual AHP competition, all of which have been generously supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. No further competitions are planned, though other AHP initiatives such as Manuscript Development Workshops, residential opportunities, and support for publications will continue through 2022.

The Carnegie/ACLS African Humanities Program is committed to inclusion, equity, and diversity as integral components of merit that enhance the scholarly enterprise. It is a priority of this program that cohorts of Fellows be broadly inclusive of different backgrounds, cultures, and any aspects that make one unique. We seek balance regarding gender, country of origin, and current university affiliation, as well as in topics and disciplinary approaches. 

Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship and Grant Administration (OFA) System ( no later than 9 pm GMT, December 4, 2020.

Looking ahead

In the preceding AHP competitions (2009-20), more than 400 early career Fellows received research support and more than 100 senior scholars served as peer reviewers and mentors. In future, the tremendous momentum generated by AHP will continue to build a vibrant humanities community on the continent through the African Humanities Association (AHA!). Founded by AHP Fellows, peer reviewers, and mentors, AHA! has taken sturdy steps toward institutionalization through the efforts of the Interim Steering Committee. A constitution for AHA! was adopted at the AHP Regional Assembly in Abuja, in February 2020. 

The African Humanities Association has already assumed responsibility for breakthrough initiatives of the AHP such as the book publications of the African Humanities Series and the program of residential opportunities for research and writing.

Goals of the African Humanities Program

  • To encourage and enable the production of new knowledge and new approaches to research
  • To strengthen the capacity of early career researchers and faculty at African universities
  • To advance the humanities by establishing networks for scholarly communication throughout Africa and with Africanists worldwide

Fellowship stipends free recipients from teaching and other duties for a full academic year to concentrate on scholarly work -- for revising the dissertation for publication or for a new major research project. Written products should aim to make significant contributions to humanistic knowledge.

Fellow are encouraged to take advantage of residential stays at African institutes for advanced study, as well as Manuscript Development Workshops, so that finished products may be submitted to the African Humanities Series.

Each fellow may request a residential stay at an African institute affiliated with AHP. Residencies have proved extremely productive, granting fellows time and space to concentrate on writing. Because residencies must be taken at a location outside the home country, they foster international communication. Currently AHP Fellows may take residencies at one of seven institutes from South Africa to Senegal, Ghana to Tanzania.

Fellows who have completed their fellowship tenures may apply to attend a Manuscript-Development Workshop to discuss manuscripts with AHP mentors and other fellows in a weeklong, intensive retreat. Authors who attend workshops are encouraged to submit their manuscripts to the AHP Humanities Series. The Series offers developmental editing and rigorous peer review. The Series Editors are Fred Hendricks, Rhodes University, South Africa and Adigun Agbaje, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

The works produced by AHP fellows will speak to succeeding generations of humanist scholars, to leading figures in culture and politics, and to the broad interested public. Books published by the African Humanities Series will stand as the AHP's enduring legacy.

AHP has partnered with the African Studies Association in the United States to bring selected AHP Fellows to the ASA Annual Meeting as ASA Presidential Fellows.

News and views of the AHP community are shared on our Facebook page.