MSU’s doctoral program in African History is one of the premier programs in the nation, most recently ranked in the top three in the US News & World Report. Nwando Achebe, Peter Alegi, Laura Fair, and Walter Hawthorne specialize in West, East and South African history, and on gender, popular culture, Islam and urbanization, slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. Peter Limb, a specialist in South African labor and political history, also works closely with Africanist graduate students, as do faculty engaged with the African diaspora.
The department and university have special relationships with universities in The Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa. They involve the regular movement of faculty and students in both directions, and generate joint research and teaching projects.
Our graduate students – a combination of African, native-born American, and individuals from several continents – bring a truly global perspective to our engagement with African history. Graduates of our program are employed at UCLA, the University of Kansas, Ohio University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland and many other American universities, as well as institutions in Africa. Some also work in development and other international arenas.
African history graduate students benefit from the university’s African Studies Center. Founded in 1960, it is funded through the Title VI program of the US Department of Education, and offers instruction in many African languages. The Title VI program called FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) often provides financial support for doctoral students in African history. MSU graduate students can obtain funding from a number of department and university sources, and in recent years all of our students have received department support for one or more summers of pre-dissertation research.
At MSU, African studies librarians, both with Ph.Ds in African History, Joseph J. Lauer and Peter Limb, staff the third largest Africana library collection in the U.S. Furthermore, close cooperation between the department and MATRIX: The Center for Human Arts, Letters & Social Sciences Online, places Africanist faculty and graduate students at the forefront of the expanding fields of humanities technology and new media.