Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between DAAS and ASC?

The Department of African and Afroamerican Studies (DAAS) is the curricular home for African studies within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA), providing African studies courses that encompass the social sciences, humanities, and African languages, as well as coordinating the Africa Workshop Series.

The African Studies Center (ASC) administers African studies initiatives funded through the University of Michigan Office of the President. ASC is primarily research- and grant-focused. The center concentrates on creating connections between scholars on U-M’s campus with a common interest in Africa and between U-M and partnering African institutions. 

Why does the U-M President’s Office have an African Initiative?

President Mary Sue Coleman’s decision to lead a University of Michigan delegation to Africa in February 2008 came about because the university is dedicated to internationalization with equity. U-M seeks to bring comprehensive diversity to its educational, research, and artistic connections and is committed to deepening its ties with countries throughout the globe.

Why begin with a focus on Ghana and South Africa?

The choice to visit Ghana and South Africa resulted from the University of Michigan’s historic relationship with partners in both countries. Two U-M presidents had visited South Africa before President Coleman, paving the way for a post-apartheid partnership. The depth of the university’s health, IT, and heritage connections with Ghana made the country a natural first point of entry for this trip.

U-M’s long-term goal is to expand its relationship with other African countries, an idea endorsed by higher education stakeholders from both Ghana and South Africa who were already developing such ties.

How were ASC’s presidential initiatives chosen?

The African Studies Center’s (ASC) presidential initiatives were chosen in cooperation with our African colleagues. Projects were selected that already had multiple partners on the African continent, had significant growth/expansion potential, and were judged of special importance by U-M and African higher education leaders alike.