Why Study Africa

Firstly, it is important to study Africa because it is a vital world region. Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, which is in and of itself a continent of thousands of languages and cultures, unparalleled eco-diversity, and over a billion vibrant and innovative Africans.


Secondly, the relevance of African issues is apparent even in our everyday lives; we use African products, exports, or mineral resources sometimes unknowingly. The coltan in our cellphones is only one example!


Thirdly, studying African history and current events gives us a deeper understanding of world history and even modern American history. For instance, the relationship between the United States and Africa predates American Independence. The profits from the trans-Atlantic slave trade helped jumpstart our industrial revolution, while the labor of enslaved Africans and their descendants laid the economic foundations of this nation.


Fourthly, studying Africa is crucial to becoming a better-informed global citizen. With the African Studies Certificate at Pitt, you will be able to prepare for governmental work, international non-governmental organizations, and international businesses. African studies are already entwined within many majors at Pitt, such as archeology, anthropology, business, history, international law, literature, linguistics, politics, international relations, sociology, and veterinary sciences, among others.


Finally, right now, African immigrants are establishing more and more communities in America, thus enriching our own American culture, which makes the study of African issues and cultures at our front doorstep. African studies are important to students who want to understand their neighbors—and about themselves.


The goal of the African Studies program at Pitt is to broaden understanding and awareness about the continent, the African experiences and perspectives as we cultivate the next generation of Africanists, African leaders and scholars who will play crucial roles in the transformative promise of growth and development not only in the continent of Africa, but in global perspective.


Watch these videos from some of our ASP affiliated faculty members who have shared their stories and experiences of studying Africa while they were students and now teaching Africa in their roles as professors. Learn more about the study of Africa, and what you can pursue here at Pitt and beyond!