Deeply interdisciplinary, the numerous projects that Boston University faculty, students, and affiliated scholars are engaged in highlight the breadth of Africa-related research at the African Studies Center and across BU. You can learn about the work of individual faculty members or affiliated researchers in our directories. Read more below about some of the collaborative projects happening across campus.
Centuries before colonial powers brought European languages and writing systems to Africa, many Muslim Africans were writing their languages in Arabic script. Today, with most Arabic scholars unfamiliar with African languages and scholars fluent in African languages usually unfamiliar with Arabic, thousands of documents written in the modified Arabic script known as ‘Ajami in West Africa lie unstudied in archives across the continent. Fallou Ngom (Professor of Anthropology, former Director of the ASC) has led a number of ongoing research projects on ‘Ajami, both finding and preserving ‘Ajami texts and integrating ‘Ajami training into language instruction so that BU graduates can study both historical and current use of ‘Ajami. Read more about ‘Ajami projects at BU
Program for the Study of the African Environment
promotes interdisciplinary research in the environmental history and human ecology of Africa. The project’s goal is to develop a better understanding of the complexities of human interactions with the environment through the integration of research perspectives from the humanities, the social sciences, and the biological and earth sciences. The PSAE seeks to integrate the study of the African environment into research and training programs, and to develop cooperative programs with colleagues and students in Africa and at BU. This includes exploring environmental dynamics and human-environment interactions that illuminate issues of health, economic development, conservation and management of resources, cultural ecology, historical change, and aesthetic expression.
Diaspora Studies Initiative
The Diaspora Studies Initiative
explores the dynamics of transnational diaspora networks and communities in the current era of ever-increasing human and capital flows. The intensifying global mobility presents unique challenges as well as opportunities for migrant and diaspora contributions to the development of their countries of origin or heritage. Hundreds of millions of people are living outside their countries of birth, and the recent global refugee crisis has resulted in mass displacement of an unprecedented scale.
Working Group on Land Mortgage and Financial Inclusion
Lab for Engineering Education and Development (LEED)
The Lab for Engineering Education and Development (LEED)
is dedicated to creating the next generation of engineering scientists and scholars who are cognizant of engineering challenges in the developing world and are equipped with the appropriate knowledge to meet these challenges.