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Africa in World History

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

A four-week institute for twenty-five high school teachers to explore the role of Africa in world history.

The institute's primary goal is to increase the "capacity, commitment, and enthusiasm of world history teachers [for] engaging instruction of Africa in their classrooms." The project focuses on three time periods defined as "Big Eras." Weeks one and two focus on "Africa Before the Europeans: Indigenous Institutions and Knowledge Systems," with sessions on African geography and environment; African worldviews and religions; African music, art, and food; Islamic encounters with Africa; the Western Sudanic Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali; the Sundiata Epic; the Great Zimbabe civilization; the Swahili Coast; and the family and marriage with case studies drawn from the Nyamwezi, Asante, and Igbo. The week ends with a discussion of the spiritual and human dimensions of domestic slavery and the beginnings of Europe's exploration and trade with Africa. Week three, "Encounters with Africa: The Slave Trades and the Integration of Africa into the World Economy," explores the Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trades; slavery databases, slave narratives, African resistance to the slave trade, and African diasporic communities in North America, Europe, and Colonial Brazil. Week four, "Colonial Encounters: The Empire Fights Back!", discusses British, Belgian, German, and French colonial administrative policies in Africa; resistance to colonialism; and the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. Lecturers from Michigan State University's African Studies program include institute director Nwando Achebe and associate director John Metzler, as well as Peter Alegi, Peter Beattie, Pero Dagbovie, Walter Hawthorne, Isaac Kalumbu, Peter Limb, Folu Ogundimu, David Robinson, David Wiley, and Leo Zulu. Other lecturers include Raymond Silverman (University of Michigan), Cymone Fourshey (Susquehanna University), Dennis Laumann (University of Memphis), Tamba M’bayo (Hope College), Jonathan Reynolds (Northern Kentucky University), and Stephen R. Chan (Harvard-Westlake School).Required readings include selections from Chinua Achebe and Robert Lyons, Another Africa; Paul Bohannan and Philip Curtin, Africa and Africans; Eric Gilbert and Jonathan Reynolds, Africa in World History; Basil Davidson, African Civilization Revisited; Philip Curtin, Africa Remembered; and Dorothy Hammon and Alta Jablow, The Africa that Never Was.

Faculty: Peter Alegi, Peter Beattie, Stephen Chan, Pero Dagbovie, Cymone Fourshey, Walter Hawthorne, Isaac Kalumbu, Raymond Silverman, Dennis Laumann, Peter Limb, Tamba M’bayo, John Metzler, Folu Ogundimu, Jonathan Reynolds, David Robinson, David Wiley, Leo Zulu

Dates: July 14—August 9 (4 weeks)
Director(s): Nwando Achebe, Michigan State University
Grantee Institutions: Michigan State University
Location: East Lansing, MI

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. An NEH Summer Seminar for school teachers enables sixteen participants to explore a topic or set of readings with an expert scholar. The core material of the seminar need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing, and reflection.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


Full-time teachers in American K-12 schools, whether public, charter, independent, or religiously affiliated, as well as home-schooling parents, are eligible to apply to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. Americans teaching abroad are also eligible if a majority of the students they teach are American citizens. Librarians and school administrators may also be eligible.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one. Eligibility criteria differ significantly between NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and NEH Landmarks Workshops.

Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current graduate students, who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.