Grants, Language Study, and Employment

On this page, you will find information on grants awarded by the Committee on African Studies, general information and funding opportunities for language programs both on and off campus, as well as external sources of funding such as campus employment opportunities, including two new teaching opportunities in Dakar for 2018

African Studies Grants: University of Chicago

 Graduate Student Small Grants

These grants are for student-initiated projects that will advance the research agendas and professional training of graduate students.  Graduate students may use these awards either alone or in combination with African Language Funds to support independent research and travel related to dissertation field work and language study. Priority will be given to projects that are carried out on the continent and that are likely to enhance the applicant’s ability to obtain outside funding. It is also possible to use small grants for other initiatives, such as on-campus dissertation writing workshops or mini-conferences. Consistent and committed participation in the African Studies Workshop is required of all awardees. Please submit your application, which should include a one paragraph summary of the proposed research and a budget, to Jennifer Cole (jcole@uchicago.edu) and Emily Lynn Osborn (eosborn1@uchicago.edu) by February 1, 2017.

The Graduate Student Small Grants are made possible by support from the Office of the Provost.

Language study

African Language Fund. The African Language Fund (ALF) offers limited support for students preparing for doctoral research. These funds may be used to defray the costs of tuition or tutoring fees, textbooks and other language-learning materials, and portions of costs for travel to language programs offered elsewhere, including in African countries. In exceptional circumstances, ALF may also be used for other scholarly projects. If you wish to apply, please write a brief letter of application which includes a paragraph on your proposed doctoral research, as well as a discussion of your need for language training, your plans for undertaking it, and a budget. Please send applications to Jennifer Cole (jcole@uchicago.edu) and Emily Lynn Osborn (eosborn1@uchicago.edu) by February 1, 2017. No budget should exceed $1,500, and actual awards may be less. Disbursements will be made on the basis of both the merit and need of the application pool as a whole.

The African Language Fund is made possible by support from the Dean of the Social Sciences.

Summer intensive language study at Ohio University. An intensive summer African languages program at Ohio University provides beginner and intermediate-level courses equivalent to one academic year of instruction. Classes meet 5 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and are taught by native speakers of the respective languages. Available languages include Akan (Twi), IsiZulu, Somali, Swahili, and Wolof. Availability may be altered depending on student interest. NON-Ohio University Students will need to complete a NON-DEGREE application in order to register for classes. The same tuition fees apply.

The Summer Institute for the Languages of the Muslim World (University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign). SILMW provides a unique opportunity to explore the languages and cultures of the Muslim World and interact with experts in this region. In addition to classroom instruction, SILMW will offer a variety of extracurricular activities designed to enhance classroom instruction, provide additional channels for language contact and practice, and expose learners to the traditions of the Muslim World communities. These extracurricular activities include research forums, picnics, conversation tables, cooking classes, music & dance performances, movie screenings, field trips, lectures and other cultural activities. Languages include Arabic, Swahili, and Wolof.

Grants and Fellowships: External Resources

Graduate Student Affairs. An extensive list of external funding opportunities is maintained by Brooke Noonan and the Graduate Student Affairs committee. 

Boston University's West African Research Association (WARA) Grants and Fellowships. WARA offers several exciting funding opportunities to both U.S. and West African scholars.

Boren Fellowship. Boren Fellowships provide graduate students with up to $30,000 to add an important international and language component to their graduate education through specialization in area study, language study, or increased language proficiency.The African Languages Initiative (AFLI) offers Boren Scholarship and Fellowship applicants the unique opportunity to learn African languages and cultures in a domestic and an overseas programs. In 2013, the program will expand to fund the study of Akan/Twi, Swahili, Wolof, Hausa, Yoruba, and Zulu, with overseas programs available in Tanzania, Mosambique, Nigeria, and South Africa. More information on the AFLI available here. Contact Jessica Smith to set up a campus advising session. 

Employment: On Campus

NEW: Graduate Assistant in Dakar, Senegal for Winter 2018. The College’s winter-quarter “Dakar: African Civilizations” program seeks a Graduate Assistant (GA) to serve as a program and course assistant in Dakar during the Winter 2018 quarter.  The GA will arrive in Dakar in early January and remain with the program through late March.  The program includes three intensive African Civilizations courses taught in English by two University of Chicago faculty members and a faculty member from University Cheikh Anta Diop. More information available here.

African Studies Workshop Coordinator. Every year, a graduate student coordinator works with the ASW faculty advisors to manage the logistics and organization of the workshop.  Duties include working with faculty advisors to organize the ASW schedule; coordinating with with presenters and recruiting discussants; distributing papers and setting up each ASW meeting; managing the ASW email list and Chalk site; coordinating visits of and publicity for outside visitors, including those who come to speak in the Distinguished African Studies Lecture series; working with Northwestern for the bi-annual Red Lion seminars; maintain ties with the Committee for Advanced Study (CAS) and the Center for International Studies (CIS); soliciting applications for the African Language Fund (January 15) and publicizing faculty and graduate student Small Grants; working with webmaster to ensure that ASW and Lecture Series pages are updated; working with faculty coordinators to prepare and submit workshop renewal forms. For more information on the duties of workshop coordinators, see the CAS website

Research Assistantships, Work-Study. Faculty members often hire individual graduate students to help with their research and other projects. If you are eligible for work-study, contact your department and also talk with faculty members with whom you would like to work.