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What We Do

ARC Mission Statement

The mission of the ARC is to encourage and support research and scholarship on Africa and its Diaspora that will (a) enhance the lives of persons of African descent in the United States and throughout the Diaspora, and (b) serve as a catalyst for promoting an enabling environment where cultural production and discourse on diversity can be nurtured to advance the research, teaching, and outreach missions of Penn State.

Fund Research For Students

Calls for research proposals go out in early fall semester.  Students whose primary research centers on the African Diaspora may receive up to $1,500 in funding.  Information about research funding and the application process is available here.

Provide Co-Sponsorship For Cultural Or Scholarly Programming

Official student organizations and academic and administrative units may apply for up to $500 in support.  Major co-sponsorships (over $500) should be requested in the prior fiscal year.  Programming must advance the ARC mission.  An organization may receive only one co-sponsorship award per year.  The application form for co-sponsorship is available here.

Sponsor The Nelson Mandela Lecture

In 2005, the Africana Research Center and the Department of African and American Studies initiated the Nelson Mandela Lecture Series to recognize and introduce the Penn State community to the scholarship of an African human rights activist.  The lecture is named for Nelson Mandela who not only changed the sociopolitical structure of South Africa but also challenged the world to have a conscience in addressing human rights.

Sponsor The Barbara Jordan Lecture

In 2004, the Africana Research Center and the Department of African and African American Studies initiated the Barbara Jordan Lecture Series to recognize and introduce the Penn State community to the scholarship of an African American civil rights activist. The lecture is named for Barbara Jordan because she was a modern day "giant" in activist scholarship and action before her untimely death in 1996.

Support College Of The Liberal Arts Postdoctoral Fellows

In its effort to increase the presence of faculty from underrepresented groups on campus, each year the ARC provides professional development and research support for three junior scholars from universities other than Penn State. Candidates are selected from a pool of applicants and must participate in the spring Emerging Scholars Speaker Series. Information on the Post-Doctoral Fellowship program can be found here.

Support College Of The Liberal Arts Dissertation Fellows

We offer dissertation fellowship awards for Humanities graduates who are working on African Diaspora-related topics in their dissertations.  The ARC augments the College of the Liberal Arts’ Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release Awards by providing $1,000 to support research and related activities. Information on the Dissertation Fellowship program can be found here.

Host Undergraduate Research Exhibitions

We accept nominations of undergraduate students who have written outstanding papers or who have conducted research related to Africa and its Diasporas.  Please request a nomination from your professor. Winners at the URE will receive funding plus the opportunity to present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).  Information about our URE can be found here.