Why Study Africa?

Africa is a vital world region. Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, a continent of thousands of languages and cultures, unparalleled eco-diversity, and over a billion vibrant and innovative Africans. The relevance of African issues is apparent in our everyday lives; we use African products, exports, or mineral resources sometimes unknowingly. The coltan in our cellphones is only one example! 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 for 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. Right now, African immigrants are establishing more and more communities in America, thus enriching our own American culture, which puts the study of African issues and cultures at our front doorstep. African Studies are important to students who want to understand their neighbors -- and themselves. You become a better-informed global citizen when you study Africa.