The African Studies Center supports U-M faculty to conduct research in and about Africa in many different ways: we organize workshops and conferences on our campus and on the continent, we sponsor presentations by visiting African scholars, we bring African scholars to campus through our UMAPS program.

Another way we provide direct support for faculty research is through a seed grant program, administered through our disciplinary initiatives (AHHI, ASRI, STEM-Africa). Over the past decade, ASC has supported more than 80 faculty-led research projects, covering the full breadth of research conducted at U-M. A recent example is a collaborative project lead by Elizabeth King (School of Public Health) and Samrawit Solomon (St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College, Ethiopia) on the HIV-risk faced female sex workers in Addis Ababa. We also recently supported a project led by Gaurav Desai (English Language and Literature) and James Ocita (Makerere University, Uganda), focusing on the history of East Asian settlement in Africa.

Naomi André (DAAS, Residential College, Women’s Studies) and Brenda Mhlambi (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) have been collaborators since Mhlambi’s residence in Ann Arbor as a UMAPS scholar in 2012. Their collaboration has focused on Black South African opera, and has resulted in the publication of a cluster of articles on “New Voices in Black South African Opera” in African Studies. Their collaboration was recently further supported by a seed grant, enabling them to bring together scholars to explore the intellectual legacy of Professor James Stephen Mzilikazi Khumalo, a leading South African opera composer and scholar. In January 2020, Mhlambi talked about her collaboration with André at a U-M alumni reception hosted in Johannesburg, commenting on the value of cross-Atlantic collaborations made possible by the ASC’s seed grant and UMAPS programs.

This year, AHHI and ASRI are soliciting submissions for seed grants, with application deadlines of March 31. Information about the grants and how to apply are available on the websites for AHHI and ASRI.