College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Graduate Certificate

Academic goals of the program

AAAS & KASC’s central objective in this certificate program is to formally recognize the expertise students in a range of disciplines already obtain in African Studies, in a manner that enhances students' career opportunities. The Certificate in African Studies enables graduate students to formally claim expertise in an area of the field of African Studies, through completion of 12 hours of graduate coursework.

Why should I apply for the Graduate Certificate in African Studies

In any given year, KU regularly has more than fifty Africa-focused students in a variety of disciplines, across seven professional schools and 17 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences departments. The Graduate Certificate in African Studies helps bring this wide-ranging body of graduate students into closer contact with the Center's resource base. The Certificate also enhances graduate students' future marketability. Many disciplines in which the AAAS & KASC graduate student community is concentrated advertise jobs for PhD candidates with African expertise. The Certificate in African Studies strengthens KU graduates' opportunities in this specialist job market.

Course sequence

General Requirements: 12 credit hours are required. This includes the core introductory seminar course, Introduction to African Studies (Africa) (AAAS 802). Students are then required to take an additional 9 hours or three courses. All courses, including language course work, must be at the 500-level or above. At least one of these courses (three credit hours) must be taken at the 700-level or above. Only courses with an Africa focus may count toward the required hours. No more than three hours of directed readings or independent study may be counted. Any students who utilize directed readings or independent studies courses are required to submit a paragraph summary of the course of study signed by the professor directing the project, so that AAAS can know how the course counts toward fulfillment of the cluster requirements. All approvals of course sequences are at the discretion of the Center. Make sure to have your adviser fill out the graduate certificate checklist.

Core introductory seminar

Introduction to African Studies (Africa) (AAAS 802) – 3 credit hours. An interdisciplinary approach to cross-cultural understanding of Africa 's place in the modern world. Specific emphasis will be given to the role of Africa in world history, African cultures, modern African history, and problems of development and nation-building in Africa . Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Other courses

In close consultation with her or his graduate adviser, a student designs a coherent sequence of three courses. To gain approval, this sequence should not be a random selection of Africa-related classes; the student and adviser must provide AAAS with an explanation of how the sequence meets the objectives of the Graduate Certificate in African Studies to recognize expertise in the field of African Studies at the graduate leve

Admissions criteria

Current KU graduate students wishing to be admitted to the Graduate Certificate Program should write a letter to the AAAS Graduate Director stating their interests in African Studies, and send a current ARTS form. A graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. Students applying for admission to another graduate program at KU should send a letter of application stating their interests in African Studies and request a letter stating that they have been admitted from the other department or school upon admission thereto. They may be admitted to the African Studies Graduate Certificate Program on the condition that they are admitted by the other program in regular status. If they are not admitted to the other program in regular status, they may use the following procedure for admission to the Graduate Certificate program. Non-KU graduate students (Non-degree C category students) should complete an application to the Graduate School and send an application fee of $35, two copies of official transcripts from all previous post-secondary educational institutions, a personal statement of interest in African Studies, and two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with their academic work or potential for graduate school. Minimum requirements will be a bachelor's degree; a GPA of 3.0 or higher in undergraduate work is normally required for admission, but the GPA requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Graduate Director. An admissions committee consisting of the AAAS Graduate Program Committee will meet at least once each semester to make admissions decisions. All inquiries should be directed to Shawn Leigh Alexander, AAAS Graduate Director, 15 Bailey Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, email: slalexan@ku.edu or Elizabeth MacGonagle, KASC Director, 207 Bailey Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, email: macgonag@ku.edu

Recognition ceremony

AAAS sponsors a small commencement program each spring to award students their certificates.

Course options (students choose from among the following):

AAAS 501 Regional History: _____
A survey of the major political, social, economic and intellectual trends in a region of Africa or the Americas. Prerequisite: Five hours of distribution courses in history. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 520 African Studies in: _____
Upper level lecture and discussion courses in African area of current interest and/or taking advantage of faculty resources in topics relevant to the major. May be repeated for credit toward the major. Prerequisite: Junior/Senior in good standing. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC El-Hodiri, Mohamed
MW 04:00-05:15 PM BA 103 - LAWRENCE
3 24809

NOTE: these courses vary in content, for recent examples:

  • Language and Culture in KiSwahili-speaking Communities
  • Peoples and Cultures of North Africa
  • Islam, Colonialism and Nationalism in North Africa

AAAS 527 Popular Culture in Africa
This course examines multiple expressions of popular culture in contemporary Africa, focusing on the aesthetics of forms such as music, theater, dress, street art, and popular literary genres, as well as the social themes they deal with and the societies that produce them. The approach will be based on a critical reconsideration of notions such as traditional versus modern culture, elite versus folk art, westernization, and cultural hybridity, in order to find better ways of discussing the cultural vibrancy of everyday life in contemporary Africa. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 542 The History of Islam in Africa
A study of the history and institutions of Islam in Africa. Emphasis will be placed on the impact of Islam on African traditional religions and African civilizations in general; the historiographical traditions of Islam in Africa. (Same as REL 535.) Prerequisite: Five hours of distribution courses in the humanities. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

AAAS 543 Language and Culture in Arabic-Speaking Communities
The course examines the links between language structure, patterns of use, language choice, and language attitudes in the diglossic and bi-lingual Arabic-speaking communities. It also explores language as a reflector and creator of Arab culture (e.g. linguistic encoding of politeness, the Quranic text as the spoken and written word, the role of tropes in Arabic rhetoric). The topics for discussion range from the micro-level language choice to the macro-level issues of national language policies and planning within the domain of government and education across the Arab world. (Same as LING 543.) LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Boussofara, Naima
TuTh 11:00-12:15 PM WES 1017 - LAWRENCE
3 26249
AAAS 545 Unveiling the Veil
This course seeks to unveil a complex cultural practice that has been misconstructed by many scholars. It explores the versatility of the meaning of the veil. It examines the ways in which the veil has become a symbol of privacy, cultural identity, religious assertion, resistance and liberation, besides being a symbol of constraint, oppression, backwardness, and sexual mystery. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 551 Environmental Issues in Africa
Acquaints students with the complexities of debates on environmental problems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Topics addressed may include deforestation, desert expansion, wildlife conservation, soil erosion, climate change, coral reef destruction, water resources development, mangrove preservation, and the environmental effects of war, industrialization, and urbanization. Class presentations and projects synthesize the perspectives of both human and physical geography. (Same as GEOG 550.) Prerequisite: GEOG 104 or permission of instructor. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

AAAS 552 Classical Islamic Literature
An examination of major developments in classical Islamic literature in the Middle East and beyond, with attention to the poetic and prose works (in translation) that emerged from them. (Same as REL 552.) LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

AAAS 553 Geography of African Development
Acquaints students with the values and social parameters of African agricultural and pastoral practice. Topics include customary land rights, African perspectives on the natural world, gender issues in African agriculture, and the urbanization of African cultures. The course also contrasts African views with those of Western development practitioners and donor agencies. Case studies from different countries are used to highlight the continent's regional differences. (Same as GEOG 553.) LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Chikanda, Abel
TuTh 09:30-10:45 AM LIN 226 - LAWRENCE
3 22671
AAAS 554 Contemporary Health Issues in Africa
The course examines health and nutrition in African communities, using the methods of biological and medical anthropology. Fundamental to the approach taken in the course is the understanding that the health of human groups depends on interactions between biological and cultural phenomena in a particular ecological context. One topic will be selected per semester to examine in detail the full array of epidemiological factors contributing to patterns of specific diseases. AIDS, childhood diseases, and reproductive health of African women are among possible topics. Course material will be selected from scholarly and medical publications, as well as coverage in the popular media. The use of a variety of sources will enhance understanding of the biological and cultural issues involved, and will help students identify possible bias and misinformation in popular coverage of events such as famine or epidemic in African settings. (Same as ANTH 545.) Prerequisite: An introductory course in either Anthropology or African Studies. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

AAAS 555 African Film
A critical study of Africa and its peoples as depicted in films. The aesthetic, cultural, economic, political, historical, and ideological aspects of African films are examined. (Same as FMS 544.) LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

AAAS 557 Cities and Development
An intermediate level course in urban geography, with an emphasis on cities in the developing world. Example cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and/or Southeast Asia may be examined. The main focus is on the intersection between urbanization and economic development, but social, political, and cultural aspects of development in cities are considered. Other topics include the geographic impacts of European colonialism, urbanization and industrialization, rural-to-urban migration, urban structure and spatial dynamics, urban planning, and environmental sustainability. (Same as GEOG 557.) LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 578 Central African Art
Introduction to the arts and cultures of Central Africa. Emphasis is given to the major art-producing cultures of the Equatorial forest and the Southern Savanna regions of Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Zaire, and Angola. The historical and cultural contexts for the visual arts associated with centralized leadership and non-centralized societies are explored. (Same as HA 578.) LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 590 The Rise and Fall of Apartheid
This course will deal with the last fifty years of South African history during which apartheid came to be formulated, supported, and perpetuated, and the forces that were responsible for its disintegration by 1990. Reference will also be made to the transformation process since April 1994. (Same as HIST 599.) LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 598 Sexuality and Gender in African History
An examination of the history of sexuality and gender in Africa with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. Major issues and methods in the historical scholarship on gender and sexuality will be covered. Topics of historical analysis include life histories, rites of passage, courtship, marriage, reproduction, education, masculinities, homosexuality, colonial control, and changing gender relations. Prior course work in African history is suggested. Graduate students will complete an additional project in consultation with the instructor. (Same as HIST 598 and WGSS 598.) LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 600 Politics in Africa
A survey of politics in Africa, focused on the countries of sub-Saharan or Black Africa. The course includes a historical discussion of precolonial Africa, colonization and the creation of contemporary states, and the politics of independence, before examining contemporary political systems and the forces influencing patterns of politics on the continent. (Same as POLS 665.) Prerequisite: POLS 150 or AAAS 105 or AAAS 305 or consent of instructor. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 676 West African Art
Introduction to the rich visual art traditions of West Africa. Emphasis is given to the major art-producing cultures of the Western Sudan and the Guinea Coast, including the archaeological cultures of Nigeria, Mali, and Ghana. The diverse forms of figure sculptures and masquerade performance and meanings of these arts in historical and cultural contexts are examined. This course requires more intensive work than AAAS 376 and is open to upper division and graduate students only. Not open to students who have taken AAAS 376/HA 376. (Same as HA 676.) LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 679 African Expressive Culture: _____
An in-depth examination of an artistic tradition shared by a number of African cultures. Discussion includes historical development related to style, use and meaning and other relevant issues. Open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students only. (Same as HA 679.) Prerequisite: AAAS 376 or HA 376, or AAAS 578 or HA 578, or an introductory course in art history at the college level, or consent of instructor. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 690 Investigation and Conference
Individual and supervised readings in selected areas of African and African-American studies which will be an investigation of a subject selected by the student with the advice and direction of an instructor. Individual reports and conferences. Prerequisite: Seniors and consent of department. IND.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
IND Alexander, Shawn
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 16279
IND Asiedu, Elizabeth
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10014
IND Bolden, Anthony
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 17174
IND Boussofara, Naima
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 17460
IND Caminero-Santangelo, Byron
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10016
IND Caminero-Santangelo, Marta
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10015
IND Chikanda, Abel
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 22872
IND Accilien, Cecile
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 18677
IND El-Hodiri, Mohamed
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10017
IND Feddema, Johannes
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10018
IND Gerschultz, Jessica
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 19358
IND Graham, Maryemma
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10019
IND Gray, Sandra
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10020
IND Hamer, Jennifer
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 19628
IND Hannoum, Majid
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 15934
IND Jackson, Yo
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10021
IND Jelks, Randal
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 16879
IND Lang, Clarence
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 19106
IND Lester, Cheryl
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10022
IND Lewin, Thomas
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10023
IND MacGonagle, Elizabeth
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10024
IND Mack, Beverly
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10025
IND Miller, Timothy
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10026
IND Nagel, Joane
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10027
IND Ojiambo, Peter
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 18015
IND Pennington, Dorthy
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10028
IND Shelton, Robert
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10029
IND Tidwell, John
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10030
IND Torrence, Harold
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 15930
IND Ukpokodu, Peter
APPT- KULC APPT - LAWRENCE
1-3 10031

AAAS 700 Africa in World Politics
A 20th-century and 21st-century study of the combined internal and external forces that precipitated the rise of Africa, the major African issues in international relations, and Africa's impact on the modern world. Additional advanced-level coursework is required for students in this course beyond lower-level courses of the same name and/or description. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


AAAS 715 Seminar in African Art
A concentrated study of a special topic relating to African Art studies. Different topics are offered in different semesters. (Same as HA 715.) Prerequisite: Nine hours of Art History and/or consent of instructor. SEM.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


ANTH 785 Topics in Ethnology: _____
Topic for semester to be announced. Usually the course will focus on selected problems in the social and cultural life of a people in a particular geographic region of the world. Coverage will include both the classical ethnological literature as well as special issues of current concern. Students may repeat the course for different topics. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.




FREN 732 Francophone Studies
Selected movements , themes, genres, topics in the cultures and/or literatures of the French-speaking world outside France. May be repeated for credit. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


HIST 600 West African History
A study of the political, social, and economic development of West Africa until the colonial era. Major focus will be on the role of state formation, trade, ecology, and urbanization in the formation of centralized politics from the 11th to the 16th centuries and the impact of the process of Islamization and Muslim revolution on political and socioeconomic change in selected West African societies in the 19th century. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


HIST 801 Colloquium in: _____
Reading and discussion of selected topics. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Alexander, Shawn
Tu 01:00-03:30 PM BA 109 - LAWRENCE
1-6 24697
LEC Forth, Christopher
Tu 07:00-09:30 PM WES 3659 - LAWRENCE
3 26484
LEC Wood, Nathaniel
Th 04:00-06:29 PM WES 3659 - LAWRENCE
3 29511

LING 575 The Structure of: _____
A detailed study of a language, including its phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic characteristics. The course provides students with a linguistic knowledge of the language rather than a practical command of it. Prerequisite: A course in linguistics. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC McKenzie, Andrew
TuTh 11:00-12:15 PM BL 206 - LAWRENCE
3 26285

LING 791 Topics in Linguistics: _____
The content and prerequisites of this course will vary. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.


POLS 669 Topics in Comparative Politics: _____
A study of selected contemporary problems of policy or politics affecting several countries. Course is repeatable for different topics. Prerequisite: Sophomore level or consent of the instructor. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC Badran, Sammy
MW 11:00-12:15 PM BL 109 - LAWRENCE
3 25688

In addition, students may be permitted to take "Topics" classes with an Africa focus that are offered almost every semester in other departments. The various directed readings, independent study, or 700-, 800-, or 900-level graduate seminars of nearly a dozen disciplines will count if these are taught by AAAS faculty and AAAS & KASC-affiliated faculty. AAAS has designated advisers according to clusters of faculty expertise that exist across disciplines and schools, in the areas of

Politics and Development Studies, Histories and Societies, Literature and Orature, Visual and Performing Arts, and African Languages and Cultures, and certificate students should take courses that cluster along the lines of these areas of expertise.

 



The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit www.migrationstories.ku.edu to learn more. 

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