African Social Sciences at UC Berkeley

Image of publications by UC Berkeley faculty in the social sciences

The Africa-focused social sciences at UC Berkeley combine rigorous research and intellectual inquiry with practical applications, often aimed at transformative engagement for improving human wellbeing. Faculty with expertise across the continent publish work in top peer-reviewed journals and academic presses and serve as advisors to civil society organizations, national government, and international associations to improve the social impact of public policy. The social sciences at Berkeley not only foster a deeper understanding of African societies but also equip our students and faculty to contribute effectively to global conversations and social innovations.

Africanists in the social sciences at Berkeley benefit from belonging to a large intellectual community. The Social Sciences Division constitutes the largest academic division on campus with 20 percent of faculty and over 25 percent of student enrollment. Students are thus able to benefit from training in a wide range of theoretical approaches and methodologies. Our multidisciplinary curriculum allows students to blend social sciences with related areas in public health, environmental science, and other critical areas of intellectual inquiry and policymaking. Students further enrich their studies in African social sciences by pursuing language courses in Amharic, Igbo, Swahili, Arabic, Tigrinya, or Yoruba, either through classes offered at UC Berkeley or through our language course partnership with UCLA. There are endless possibilities for developing a personally tailored approach to study Africa through Berkeley’s social sciences.

Students in the social sciences at UC Berkeley can expand their knowledge of Africa by immersing themselves in a broad selection of academic programs, including anthropology, economics, geography, linguistics, political science, and sociology. Beyond the classroom, students benefit from an array of opportunities for hands-on learning through numerous campus initiatives and centers. Besides the Center for African Studies, the Center for Engagement and Global Action, the Blum Center for Developing Economies, the Public Service Center, the Human Rights Center, the Beatrice Bain Research Group, and the Environmental Politics Initiative are resources on campus enriching the student experience.

Berkeley’s Center for African Studies supports work in the African social sciences by sponsoring lectures and colloquia on campus and across the Bay Area. The Center aims to inspire the next generation of Africa-focused leaders, creators, scholars, and entrepreneurs by equipping them to engage with the richness and diversity of African societies and the salient issues affecting the continent. Rocca and Ezera fellowships to support graduate research in the African social sciences, funding both fieldwork and dissertation writing. Funding from the Geist and Rosberg grants is also available to undergraduate students for travel to Africa to conduct research on topics in the social sciences and gain experience in fieldwork such as archival work or interviewing in the field.

Further information on research and teaching in Africa-focused social sciences can be found by visiting the websites of the following faculty members:

African American & African Diaspora Studies
International & Area Studies
G. Ugo Nwokeji Peter Bartu
Agricultural & Resource Economics
Francis Annan Laurent Mayali
Alain Dejanvry John A. Powell
Jeremy Magruder Eric Stover
Elisabeth Sadoulet
David Sunding Larry Hyman
Sharon Inkelas
Mariane Ferme Peter Jenks
Donald S. Moore Hannah Sande
Stefania Pandolfo
Political Science
Jun Sunseri Leonardo Arriola
Thad Dunning
Jean-Paul Bourdier Scott Straus
Martha Wilfahrt
Jonathan Weigel
Public Health
City & Regional Planning
Sabrina Boyce
Charisma Acey

Jason Corburn

Jason Corburn Paul Gertler
Phuoc Le

Paul Gertler

Isabel Madzorera
Edward "Ted" Miguel Malcolm Potts
Energy & Resources
Ndola Prata
Youjin Chung Justin Remais
Daniel M. Kammen
Public Policy
Environmental Science, Policy & Management
Michelle Reddy
James Bartolome
Social Welfare
Justin Brashares James Midgley
Claudia Carr
Richard Dodd Ricarda Hammer
Wayne Getz

Jennifer Johnson-Hanks

Adina Merenlender Ann Swidler
Nick Mills
Vince Resh
Gender & Women's Studies
Paola Bacchetta
Sharad Chari
Gillian Hart
Michael Watts
Bruce Hall
Tabitha Kanogo