- Last Updated on 03 November 2016
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This edition of ASA News features a spotlight on the Association of African Studies Programs (AASP). If you will be at the 2016 Annual Meeting and want to learn more about AASP, you can attend their business meeting on Friday, Dec. 2 from 12:30-1:30pm, or you can attend their roundtable, "The Roles and Challenges of African Studies Programs in the United States", on Friday, Dec. 2, from 2:00-3:45pm.
The Association of African Studies Programs (AASP) is an organization that was created specifically to strengthen communication and ties between African Studies programs in the United States and to further goals such as the promotion of the study of African study and research. The AASP believes the study of Africa to be critical to students of the 21st century because it is central to their better understanding of not only world and global histories, but also of American history and contemporary affairs.
The AASP comprises Deans, Directors, Chairpersons, Committee Heads, and individuals who have the responsibility for or interest in organizing or leading the African Studies program at their respective colleges or universities. Members range from Directors of the large Title VI centers to colleagues, but all are dedicated to increasing grassroots awareness of and interest in Africa by mobilizing student populations and promoting the study of Africa on their campuses.
In order to further the study of African issues and affairs on college campuses, the AASP keeps all members up to date on major national developments that impact African Studies programs across the country. The AASP accomplishes this communication in several ways. Firstly, a listserv has been developed to facilitate communication between all interested African Studies program leaders. Secondly, AASP meets twice a year, once in conjunction with the annual meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA), and then again in April for a three-day meeting held at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. The April meeting annually brings together speakers from US government departments and agencies to update AASP membership on new or changing funding programs, leaders from the NGO sector working on African issues present on members’ campuses, and increasingly, staff members from Capitol Hill offices to talk about current policy debates facing congress. Membership helps set the agenda.
The AASP’s activities are supported by extremely modest dues, which vary dependent upon the size of the African Studies program. The main work of the AASP is carried out on a voluntary basis by the Chair and Vice-Chair and Secretariat of the AASP who serve two-year terms. AASP members may lead African Studies programs or carry out their Africanist activity within programs that may include African and African-American Studies, Black Studies, Multicultural Studies, or Global Studies. AASP’s primary concern is to reach out and support all Africanists who shoulder campus responsibility for African-related activities and provide any assistance possible to help in the building and strengthening of African Studies programs across campuses in the United States. We encourage not only the nascent small programs with an interest in building a program, but even the middle size programs who may be struggling with enrollments to join our organization. The AASP’s primary goal is to share knowledge about improving programs and maximizing efforts on respective campuses.
Dr. Macrina C. Lelei