Here’s Your Chance to Centre Africa and the Black Diaspora in Your Studies

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This Africa Day, we celebrate the launch of a brand new undergraduate degree at SOAS, the BA Africa and Black Diaspora, starting this September.

With a commitment to decoloniality, inclusiveness and interdisciplinarity, this innovative programme enables students to centre Africa and its multiple diasporas within their studies. Students will get the opportunity to engage with their own understanding of contemporary themes, including migration, colonialism, economic change, climate change and popular culture. While having the chance to study one (or more!) African languages, including Swahili, Zulu, and Yorùbá.

As we’re close to launching, we asked SOAS academics to share what this new BA means for SOAS and what makes it so exciting. Meet some of the academics committed to putting the A back into SOAS.

Dr Wayne Dooling, Senior Lecturer in the History of Southern Africa and Co-Convenor

What excites you about this new BA?
We are very excited to launch a reinvigorated African Studies and Diaspora degree. In the context of global developments of the last few years — the resurgence of democratic movements on the African continent, Black Lives Matter, and the Covid-19 pandemic, to name but a few — it is abundantly clear that the study of the histories and cultures of Africans and people of African descent have a vital role to play in understanding the present and addressing contemporary issues. 

What you are most looking forward to when teaching this programme?
We are especially looking forward to engaging with student’s personal experiences and understanding of the African past and present and of the fraught and heroic histories and consequences of the African Diaspora.

Why should students apply?
The degree programme and its combinations offer students the opportunity to engage with a truly interdisciplinary field of study at the world’s leading institution for the study of Africa and Asia, as well as to be taught by leading experts in their respective fields. 

Anything else you would like to tell someone interested in it?
The possibility of combining the study of languages with a host of disciplines makes this programme on Africa and the African Diaspora truly unique. We look forward to welcoming students from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Dr Ida Hadjivayanis, Lecturer in Swahili (Education) and Co-Convenor

What excites you about this new BA?
SOAS is engaging with the way that Africa is taught, perceived and thought of on a global stage. It shows that the school is committed to bringing back the ‘A’ at SOAS.

What you are most looking forward to when teaching this programme?
This is an inter-disciplinary and trans-regional programme hence it will be amazing to see students learn from a range of experts across the school and not just one department.

Why should students apply?
This is a programme where students can focus on a region as well as a discipline. Students can combine BA Politics, BA Social Anthropology, BA Language and Cultures, BA Economics, BA Arabic with BA Africa and Black Diaspora. They can also travel to their regions of interest and gain credits for that.

Anything else you would like to tell someone interested in it?
If you are interested in becoming a global change maker, if you are interested in Africa and its diasporas, this is the programme for you. 

Professor Lutz Marten, Professor of General and African Linguistics

What excites you about this new BA?
Its focus on Africa and on the global network and trajectories of people and ideas relating to the continent. And its comprehensive, unblinkered approach combines humanities, critical social sciences and language-based area studies.

What you are most looking forward to when teaching this programme?
To draw on the extensive expertise available at SOAS, our close links with colleagues and partners in Africa, to learn from colleagues and students, and to develop a state-of-the-art, shared academic understanding of Africa

Why should students apply?
This is a conceptually strong, innovative programme which provides a rich environment for engaging with Africa and the African diaspora in many different ways. The programme will appeal to students with a background in or relation to Africa or the African diaspora, with an interest in African cultures, histories, and languages, in African societies and politics, and students who wish to engage more closely with Africa in the future, as part of their personal, professional, academic or other plans. 

Anything else you would like to tell someone interested in it?
SOAS provides a supportive, stimulating and enthusiastic academic environment with a rich programme of events relating to Africa and the diaspora. We are a truly global community of students and scholars, and we are very excited about this new programme which speaks to one of the core interests of the university. 

Find out more about the BA Africa and Black Diaspora programme and apply. 

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