Rutgers University, home of the African Studies Association Secretariat, has a long history of commitment to the teaching of Africa through curricular and faculty development. CAS informs a broader public through a vigorous outreach program of community projects and educators' workshops for K-12 teachers and coordinates a large number of Africa-related courses in various units throughout the university system. Building on its commitment to international education, Rutgers supports faculty research in Africa and encourages linkages with Africa-based scholars, institutions of higher learning, and non-governmental organizations.
With a number of CAS faculty members specializing in literatures of Africa in Arabic, English, French, Hausa, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili, Rutgers is an extraordinary center for the study of literatures of Africa. Rutgers also has unusual strength in African linguistics, as well as in African social and cultural history. There are CAS faculty members who work directly on African history and numerous others whose work in comparative, global, imperial or Diaspora history contribute in direct ways to a deeper understanding of African history. Students of the contemporary African environment also benefit from interdisciplinary CAS member faculty in Geography, Human Ecology, and Anthropology.
Individuals interested in women and gender in Africa have the benefit of many interdisciplinary CAS faculty who work on gender combined with the extraordinary strengths in gender research, teaching, and activism at the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, The Institute for Research on Women, the Institute of Women's Global Leadership, and the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literatures. CAS faculty research touches upon health, religion, war, ethnicity, and politics.
Rutgers has built a strong constituency of scholars specializing in North Africa. The CAS faculty membership includes an extraordinary range of scholars of virtually every region of Africa who serve as consultants to public officials, businesses, schools, and non-governmental organizations both within the U.S.A. and internationally.
Science and technology in Africa is an important domain that the Center for African Studies is pleased to promote. Many African universities are seeking sustained partnerships with American universities in the areas of health, agriculture and food science, natural sciences and environmental studies, and engineering. All of these are areas for which Rutgers University is well known internationally and to which it can make great contributions. Recent examples include the following. The Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation which seeks to apply nanotechnology in developing clean energy generation and storage and in coordinating an educational exchange program between the United States and Africa. IGERT grants support fellowships for studying policy and economic issues related to clean energy development through the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The grant also underwrites the effort at the Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment, which is working with universities in the United States, Brazil, China, and South Africa to replace fossil fuels with economically sustainable fuels. The Global Institute of BioExploration (GIBEX) promotes natural products research through international collaborations, while linking those efforts to sustainable development and conservation worldwide. Rutgers University is a leading promoter of Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plants Products (ASNAPP). ASNAPP is a network currently active in African countries such as Zambia, Rwanda, Ghana, and Senegal with satellite projects in Mozambique, Malawi, and Angola. Rutgers University is also known for its leadership in African medicinal plants research.
Additionally, Rutgers-Newark’s School of Nursing stands out for its great commitment to HIV-related research in several African countries. The School of Social Work through the Center for International Social Work has developed partnership initiatives with African social work networks in countries like Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Kenya with the aim to promote global citizenship, child welfare workforce, and the exchange of visiting faculty from Africa to Rutgers University.
A Brief History of CAS
In 1996 the national Secretariat of the African Studies Association (ASA) announced its intention to relocate from Emory University in Atlanta. When the Association put out a call for bids to host its headquarters, a committee of ten Africanist faculty members from Rutgers University developed a proposal to bring the Secretariat to New Jersey. Thanks to timely and substantial financial support from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers was ultimately chosen over several other more well-established African Studies programs to host the largest professional organization of Africanist scholars in the world.
Rutgers administrators were quick to try and build on this initial success by providing additional support for African Studies on campus. In 1997, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences formally established the Rutgers African Studies Coordinating Committee (ASCC). In 1998 the Dean helped the ASCC set up new office space, appointed Rutgers' first Director of African Studies, and authorized funds to hire a full-time Assistant Director and part time secretary. In 1999, the ASCC was dissolved and the Center for African Studies (CAS) was formally established in its place.
Since 1999 the Center has been sustained through generous support from Rutgers University and through external grants from such agencies as the Department of Education, the Ford Foundation, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
CAS Statement Adopted May 12, 2009
The Center for African Studies does not collaborate with military or intelligence agencies of any government in any fashion. Our mission – to develop and disseminate knowledge regarding Africa and Africans – cannot be reconciled with either the goals, the methods, or the structure of such institutions. We urge our members and the bodies to which we belong to adopt a similar principle.