University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Global and Regional Studies Program

African Studies

Vicki Brennan, Program Director

Department of Religion
481 Main St. Room 101
Burlington, VT 05405

The African Studies Program, one of nine areas of study within the Global and Regional Studies Program, offers a comprehensive and interdisciplinary set of courses pertaining to the histories, people, cultures, environment, literature and politics of Africa, arguably one of the world's most diverse and complex regions. UVM's small but dedicated Africanists offer a variety of courses exploring aspects of this complex and diverse continent that plays an important role in global economic, ecological and cultural welfare. At this time, a minor is available in African Studies.

We are especially proud of UVM alumni who have distinguished themselves as Africanists. These range from academic luminaries like Susan Preston Blier, Professor of Art History at Harvard, Peter Ellison, Professor of Anthropology and Dean of the Graduate College, Harvard and Ivan Karp National Endowment of the Humanities Professor Liberal Studies at Emory to several who have served in the Peace Corps and gone on to rewarding careers in fields as diverse as "development", journalism and teaching.

Many students declare a minor in African studies after spending a semester or even a year abroad in Africa. There are several excellent (and reasonably inexpensive) ways to do this in East, West or Southern Africa. Many students use data collected on these trips for their African Studies Minor independent paper.

There are a variety of programs in Africa available to UVM students which offer different experiences. Programs range from studying politics in a South African University to working with wildlife in Kenya or Namibia. Depending upon the program, accommodations can include tents, hostels, small hotels, private homes or educational institutions. Students may have an opportunity to learn and experience aspects of African culture by living with families such as the Maasai in Tanzania or Xhosa in South Africa. While others may decide to live on-campus and become more familiar with the campus culture or stay in nearby apartments or flats. The lengths of the programs are varied as well. Students can study for 3-4 weeks during the summer, spend a semester or a full year abroad.

Generally credits should transfer and financial aid will travel with he student if the program is a UVM-approved study abroad program. Currently, there are about 9 approved programs that provide opportunities for students to study in 14 African countries. For further information contact the Office of International Education, 802-656-4296.

Africa House

Beyond courses we offer several exciting activities ranging from visiting lecturers, film and video shows to a lively Africa House in the Living and Learning Center. We are particularly proud of NEWSA, the Northeastern Workshop of Southern Africa, which meets in Burlington every eighteen months and attracts internationally recognized scholars not only from North America but Africa and Europe. We are also establishing outreach activities with the Vermont African Society and collaborating with several other institutions in the area where there are Africanists. Learn more about the Africa House

Career Directions

An undergraduate minor in African Studies, coupled with a complementary major, prepares students for graduate study in several disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.  Alumni also pursue careers in policy analysis, government, research, journalism, business, law, international development and activism in the United States and Africa.