Carolina Receives Federal Grant to Enhance African Studies

Carolina’s African studies center has received a federal grant designating it as one of 11 National Resource Centers in the specialty.

The Department of Education award – about $220,000 annually for four years – will allow the UNC center to increase offerings in African studies and provide more outreach activities and educational programs about Africa. The center is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Grant activities will focus on the themes of Islamic Africa and health in Africa, said Michael Lambert, the center’s director and an associate professor of African and Afro-American studies.

The education department administers the National Resource Centers program under Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The centers support foreign language instruction and research and instruction in international studies.

The African studies award brings the number of National Resource Centers at Carolina to six, with the centers for European studies and Slavic, Eurasian and East European studies, the Institute for Latin American Studies, the University Center for International Studies and the Carolina Asia Center.

The centers will be among units moving into the new FedEx Global Education Center at Pittsboro and McCauley streets, scheduled to open this year.

The new grant will fund activities including:

  • expansion of African language instruction, with the addition of a new tenure-track faculty position in West African languages and literature
  • development of the UNC library’s collection of print and non-print resources to support African language instruction
  • establishment of a tenure-track faculty position in North African history
  • development of new undergraduate courses in African studies, especially freshmen seminars, courses related to study-abroad programs in Africa and courses that address Islamic Africa and health in Africa
  • development of more study-abroad programs in Africa
  • creation of an online introductory course in African studies for K-12 lateral-entry teachers-those who have transitioned from other fields-and student teachers
  • a workshop for K-12 teachers and community college librarians and faculty on Islamic Africa and health in Africa
  • faculty travel for conferences and research conferences, lectures and seminars on Africa
  • visits to campus by African scholars.

In April, the center will host “Law, Politics and Islam in Africa: An International Interdisciplinary Conference” in honor of Bereket Selassie, UNC’s William E. Leuchtenburg Professor of African studies and law.

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