The African Studies Center offers many opportunities for students, faculty, and the Boston University community to engage in research by affiliated faculty and invited scholars from the New England region and beyond. The center sponsors a robust group of scholars, events, and research tools through its campus library system, its outreach services, and the many centers and associations connected to the center.

Faculty Research

Boston University faculty and students are engaged in numerous research projects in Africa.

African Studies Library

The African Studies Library (ASL), founded in 1953 as the departmental library of the African Studies Center and now part of Mugar Memorial Library, supports Boston University’s undergraduate, graduate, and faculty research on Africa and also serves as a resource for the broader community—both national and international—interested in Africa. The collection is interdisciplinary, with major strengths in the social sciences and broad representation of the humanities and sciences. In its reading room and stack area on the sixth floor of Mugar Memorial Library, the staff of ASL provides reference and research service and access to current periodicals from and about Africa, African newspapers, maps, pamphlets, documents, and government publications. The circulating stacks on the 6th floor house books in African history (the classification DT). The rest of the estimated 200,000 volumes dealing with Africa are shelved within their subject classifications throughout Mugar Memorial Library and its branches.

Ajami Archives Library

The African Language Program at Boston University, under the leadership of Fallou Ngom, is developing an Ajami Library. Follow the link below to read about it and monitor these pages over the coming months as the Library comes online.

Endangered Archives Program

West African Research Association (WARA)

Based at BU, WARA works to enhance collaborative research and scholarly exchange between U.S. and West African scholars, educators, and institutions and to increase knowledge about and interest in Africa in the United States.

Center for Global Health & Development (CGHD)

The CGHD runs multidisciplinary public health projects in 13 African countries and maintains offices in Zambia and South Africa.

In Zambia, the Center for Global Health & Development works through its local representative partner, the Zambia Center for Applied Health Research and Development (ZCAHRD), to further public health research in Zambia through direct engagement with local experts and researchers. It also serves as a partner to the Government of Zambia in capacity building for the health sector. The service delivery work of the CGHD focuses primarily on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and early infant diagnosis (EID) for pediatric HIV care.

Here is a link to a major study undertaken in Zambia, whose aim is to demonstrate whether chlorhexidine, a simple antiseptic wash applied to the umbilical stump of newborns, will reduce infection and thus improve infant survival rates.

Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future

The Pardee Center convenes symposia and conducts interdisciplinary, policy-relevant, and future-oriented research that contributes to long-term improvements in the human condition. Many of the Pardee Center’s reports and conferences focus on Africa.

Francophone African Research Group (GRAF)

The Group de Recherches sur l’Afrique Francophone (GRAF) is a network for scholars working on French-speaking Africa. Its activities include a periodic newsletter.


Lab for Engineering and Development (LEED)