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SIT Study Abroad no longer offers Ghana: Origins of African Identity. Students interested in studying abroad on this program may wish to consider the SIT Study Abroad Ghana: Social Transformation and Cultural Expression program as an alternative.
“The experience with research and the introduction to Ghana afforded by the SIT program in Cape Coast has shaped the trajectory of my life. Because of my experience with SIT Ghana, I was able to go back to Ghana on a Fulbright after I finished my undergraduate studies and now am working on a PhD on governance and the state in Ghana.”
Erin Metz McDonnell, former SIT Ghana student
Current Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology
Study African diasporas and global African identities through direct exposure to local communities and sites and through a critical review of contemporary scholarship and resources.
This program examines the global dispersions of peoples and cultures of African ancestry, including their growing impact on world economies, politics of ethnicity and belonging, aesthetic and material cultures, and ideologies.
Students learn how forced and voluntary migrations from West Africa have shaped the memories; survival strategies; and cultural, literary, and artistic expressions and responses of African diasporants living across the globe, including those of secondary and incipient diasporas.
Topics of study include histories of ethnicities, slavery migrations, archaeology, and contemporary national politics of culture and identity. Students also consider problematic notions of “home” and “return” projects, by hearing directly from Ghanaians, Béninois, expatriate communities, and other West Africans.
The program provides a unique opportunity to learn about a wide variety of cultures and societies with which segments of the African diaspora are intertwined. Students reflect on Ghana’s unique historical and sociocultural legacies, as well as its contemporary initiatives and leadership roles in Africa and the world at large.
The structure and contents of the program are designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of students and departments with various inter- and multidisciplinary offerings pertaining to African diaspora, Africana, and African American studies; cultural anthropology; ethnic studies; globalization studies; and contemporary trans-disciplinary issues of identity.
Experience Cape Coast, Accra, Kumasi, and sites in Benin.
The program is based in Cape Coast, a vibrant coastal community and Ghana’s education capital. The city affords easy access to key historical sites and monuments and, above all, communities of African diaspora returnees.
In addition to Cape Coast and other sites in Ghana, including Elmina, Accra, Kumasi, and northern Ghana, the program travels through Togo en route to Benin for a two-week excursion. While in Benin, the program is based primarily in Ouidah and Cotonou, with secondary visits to Porto-Novo, Abomey, Ganvie, and other coastal sites significant to the study of African diasporas.
In Benin, students will further develop their understanding of African diasporas through interactions and discourse with expatriate and returnee communities, particularly Afro-Brazilians, as well as through visits to culturally relevant sites including Ouidah, the lake village Ganvie, and voodoo temples, among others.
Live with Ghanaian host families.
Time with homestay families — in urban and rural settings — immerses students in Ghanaian communities while providing additional context and meaning to Fante language study and thematic coursework. Learn more.
Engage with Ghanaian and Béninois university faculty, archaeological and cultural sites, and village and community leaders.
In-country resources and program partners generally include:
- University of Cape Coast
- University of Ghana
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
- Université d’Abomey-Calavi in Cotonou, Benin
|Vibrant Culture, Complex History
Ghana, a country rich in natural resources, is characterized by its complex history. In 1957, Ghana was the first African nation to achieve independence from colonial powers after winning independence from the United Kingdom. Tragically, Ghana also served as the departure point for a vast number of enslaved Africans shipped to the "new" world. The slave castles lining the Ghanaian coast serve as contemporary reminders of the historical atrocities of enslavement and the forced migration which transpired on the country's shore. Today, Ghanaian society continues to wrestle with the long-reaching effects of the slave trade.
View Student Evaluations for this program: