A Message from the Director

Professor Scott TaylorWelcome to African Studies at Georgetown. Our program offers a unique window into a vital, dynamic, but frequently misunderstood, region of the world: sub-Saharan Africa. Africa is a place of incredible contradictions: it is on the margins of world trade and investment, yet throughout modern history, Africa’s people and resources have been essential to development elsewhere; Africa is incredibly rich in resources, but it is plagued with some of the world’s most entrenched poverty; Africa is celebrated for its reverence for family, community and its “it takes a village” mentality, yet suffers the indignity of the highest number of AIDS orphans; Africa is home to both Ubuntu, which celebrates our common humanity, and some of the most enduring social conflicts on earth. For all these reasons, and many more, Africa is a fascinating region for intellectual inquiry and discovery.

As we prepare to enter our fourth decade, in many ways the African Studies Program has never been stronger. Our regular faculty members give us extraordinary intellectual breadth across a wide array of different regional and theoretical perspectives in a range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities – a scope that is particularly impressive for a program focusing mainly on undergraduate education.

Our best asset, however, is the extraordinary students my colleagues and I have had the privilege of teaching and mentoring in the program. Their commitment to African area studies is truly remarkable, and it is demonstrated regularly through their dedicated coursework, study abroad, and work and volunteering experiences throughout the African continent. Not surprisingly, many continue to indulge their fascination with Africa long after they leave Georgetown.

This website provides you with a roadmap to our interactions and activities, both ongoing and planned, at Georgetown, in the greater Washington, DC community, and in Africa itself. We will continue to strengthen and broaden our curriculum and programming in African Studies. I invite you to visit our site frequently to join us on our journey.

Scott D. Taylor