African Studies

This region has much to teach us.

Problems, opportunities, and some of the world’s most progressive thinking.

From the wave of young protesters demanding regime change, to the entrepreneurial spirit sweeping its nations, to the crises that continue to loom large, Africa is at the center of the world stage.

If you’re looking for a model for your own political and social activism, there’s much to be learned from your peers in Cape Town or Cairo. If your passion is economics or business development, look to urban Nigeria, where the film and fashion industries are booming. Considering the Peace Corp or USAID? The study of Africa will help inform your decision. No matter what you’re interested in—from immigration to infectious disease—African studies has never been more relevant.

Why Macalester? A tradition of internationalism. And, the multiplier effect.

Our connection with Africa is long and strong—as evidenced by our long-standing Macalester-Pomona-Swarthmore study away program in South Africa and with the MSID program in Senegal, field study opportunities in Burkina Faso, regular student exchanges with Asheshi University in Ghana, and even some of our most notable alumni, including African Leadership Academy and University founder Fred Swaniker, former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and actor and playwright Danai Gurira.

A concentration in African studies will complement and compound your primary discipline –helping you connect more dots and hone your focus. And, here in the Twin Cities, with our diverse population that includes immigrants from Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Liberia, you’ll be able to participate in cultural events, taste the food, and develop a better understanding of the complex linkages between Africa and its diaspora.

Life after Macalester

Join the community

  • AFRIKA!—This student-run group hosts an opening dinner and cultural events with food, films and political discussion focused on specific African nations.
  • African Music Ensemble—Audition to become part of this award-winning, 40-person group performing music from all over the continent—using xylophones, marimbas, flutes, horns, drums, and gourds. You’ll get to know and love a whole new genre of music.
  • African Dance—Learn the beautiful, rhythmic movements that have been part of African culture for millennia. Classes in African dance can be applied toward your concentration.
  • Speaker Series—African scholars are invited to speak several times each year. It’s your opportunity to hear about Africa’s economy, politics, art and more, firsthand.