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Call for Participation in the African Humanities Map [Update: Deadline Closed]

In 2014, CHCI convened a special meeting at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, which brought together scholars, activists, writers, musicians, and public humanists to reflect on the humanities in Africa. This first meeting led to a period of significant intellectual exchange and, in 2016, a multiyear grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation designed to support two projects: a preliminary mapping of the humanities in Africa and a series of workshops, particularly for emerging scholars across the Continent. We now invite participants in the first phase of the CHCI African Humanities Initiative: the African Humanities Map.

What do we seek to learn?

Yaoundé, Cameroon. Photograph: Édouard Tamba.

CHCI is particularly interested to learn about and document the activities of humanities centers and institutes across the African Continent (especially outside of South Africa), as well as those projects and programs that share the function of humanities centers and institutes, whether undertaken inside or outside of the university by NGOs, university departments, research groups, cultural organizations, journals, publishing houses, museums, or galleries. At this stage, the project is not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to generate in-depth case studies that represent diverse institutional formations.  We are interested in learning about projects in the public and academic humanities that support ongoing activities through which scholars and students from across disciplines converge or through which scholarly and non-scholarly communities intersect, including activist and artistic communities. We are interested to learn more about the locations, histories, missions, and organizational structures of these projects.

Who can participate?

We seek to identify 8-10 organizations to participate in the project’s first phase. Participants may come from any country and work in English, French, Portuguese, or Arabic languages. At this stage, we wish only to receive applications from organizations outside of South Africa. Participation will involve sharing information with CHCI over a 6-9 month period. This information might include: topics, themes, and areas of programming; a catalogue of programs offered (or desired); funding streams; challenges; institutional histories, etc. This is not a program evaluation, but rather an opportunity to better document and understand the institutional formations of the humanities in Africa.

How to Apply?

Phalaborwa, South Africa. Photograph: Geran de Klerk.

If your organization is interested in participating in this project, please use the form below to send us a very brief description of your organization including its activities and key contact information. Applications should include the year in which the organization was founded and the role of the humanities in the organization if this information is not immediately obvious.

Are there benefits to participation?

The 8-10 organizations selected to participate in the project will receive $3,000 grants that can be used to support local programming or other activities, as well as 1 year complementary CHCI membership. We also invite 1-2 representatives of each organization to attend the 2018 CHCI annual meeting which will take place at the University of Virginia, USA.  We will consider all submissions received by September 25, 2017.

What is the selection process?

Upon receiving applications to participate, the CHCI African Humanities Initiative Program Committee (Jean Allman, Washington University [USA]; Elizabeth Wolde Giorgis, Addis Ababa University [Ethiopia]; and Premesh Lalu, University of the Western Cape [South Africa]) will select the 8-10 organizations with whom to work in the program’s initial phase. Upon selection of participants, Upenyu Majee, CHCI African Humanities Initiative Research Associate, will work with participating organizations and members of the CHCI Board and staff to gather and present the information outlined above. 

What are next steps?

The African Mapping Project is only the first phase of CHCI’s African Humanities Initiative, and information obtained during this phase will help to inform future projects. There will be dedicated session of the CHCI Annual Meeting in Cape Town focused on the African Humanities Workshops. For those who are not able to attend the Cape Town meeting or who have more urgent inquiries, please contact Upenyu Majee, CHCI African Humanities Initiative Research Associate, at, or Guillaume Ratel, CHCI Director of Programs, at