Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

AFIAfrican Feminist Initiative

Academic Programming

Academic Programming

Mentoring Program

The AFI Mentoring program fosters international and intergenerational conversations to support our member’s professional and personal growth. Twice every year, we partner students, junior scholars, and other early-career professionals who are AFI members with more senior colleagues for a 6-month mentorship. Mentorship and solidarity are key at any career stage, and mentors learn from their mentee’s expertise and experience as well; we encourage all AFI members to apply!

Mentors and mentees commit to checking in monthly to advise on a project of the mentee’s choosing. A suggested topic and reading are sent each month (e.g. work-life balance; publication pipelines; applying for jobs), but mentors and mentees are encouraged to find their own rhythm and priorities for the conversations! At the end of the six months, some of our mentoring pairs choose to continue working together, while others choose to continue in the program with new partners to grow their support community.

Conversations include life, work, joys, and challenges of navigating your career and thinking and practicing African feminism in or outside of the academic profession. For more information, please contact Dr. Abigail Celis. The next session will begin December 1, and we especially encourage mentors to apply!

Professional Development Program

The AFI is expanding their programming to include professional development for members of the community. The discussions will cover topics such as:

  • Converting a Ph.D. thesis into a published monograph
  • Submitting an essay to an academic journals
  • Self care for thriving in academia
  • Applying for external research funds

Members should watch the list serv for updates. For those interested in joining, please fill out the list serv or contact Susanne Klausen.  

Teaching African Feminisms

In an effort to expose new generations of students to the richness and diversity that is African feminisms, we have developed three new academic courses. These include two graduate courses: (1) African Feminisms and (2) Gender and Islam in Africa, and one undergraduate course: Women, Gender, and Feminisms in Africa. We expect to develop additional courses in the near future. Our long-term goal is to create a dual-title Ph.D. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and African Studies.

Feminist Residency

As part of our mission to create productive and equitable partnerships with African feminist scholars and activists, we created a Feminist Residency at Penn State. Although “Feminists in Residence” spend most of their time working on scholarly or creative projects, they also have opportunities to network with members of the larger Penn State community, through either classroom visits, guest lectures, or one-on-one meetings. Past residents include Dr. Mary Hames (University of the Western Cape, September 2016), Dr. Zimitri Erasmus (Wits University, April 2018), and Sanja Nivesjo (Stockholm University, August-December 2018). Please check back for additional details on future residencies as they become available.