The African Studies Center has been one of Boston University’s focal points for bringing together scholars, students, artists, and activists engaging Africa since its founding in 1953. For visitors interested in learning a more detailed history of the center, we recommend pairing two sources:

  1. The historical sketch of the ASC drafted in 2007 by James McCann covers the early origins of the center, its founding faculty and staff, and its long history of funding by the federal government and philanthropic societies. Professor McCann is former Director of the ASC, where he is currently the Associate Director for Development as well as Professor of History.
  2. The 2014 African Studies Association Presidential Lecture by James Pritchett contextualizes the mid-20th century establishment of African studies programs like the one at BU with earlier engagement with African students and scholars in US higher education institutions, particularly at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The late Professor Pritchett is former Director of the BU ASC and later served as Director of the African Studies Center at Michigan State University and President of the African Studies Association.