|Programs > Summer Programs > Ghana|
The program is intended to investigate aspects of the historical, literary and artistic bases of West African civilization. It offers a special opportunity for all students interested in classical and contemporary African history, politics, literature, music, dance and theater to learn about these subjects through academic study and personal cultural experiences. The program is based at the University of Ghana, Legon-Accra.
The courses are taught by Dr. Niambi M. Carter, Assistant Professor, and Dr. Iyelli Ichile, Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Study of the Department of African American Studies at Temple University, and coordinated by local faculty at the University of Ghana. Courses are supplemented by lectures given by faculty members from the University of Ghana in Legon, one of the most reputable higher education institutions in the region.
The Republic of Ghana, roughly equivalent to Oregon in size, lies almost in the center of the countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea. To the east lies Togo, beyond which are Benin and Nigeria. On the west is Cote d’Ivoire, and to the north, Burkina Faso. Ghana’s coastline on the south stretches for a distance of about 560 kilometers. Mountains are few, but there are several hills that rise to a maximum of 900 meters. These include the Akwapim-Togo ranges that extend from Pokoasi, a few kilometers north of Accra. Formerly a British colony, Ghana attained independence on March 6, 1957 and became a republic within the British Commonwealth on July 1, 1960. Although English is the official and commercial language, several African languages and dialects are spoken in Ghana, including Twi, Fanti, Ga, Ewe, Dagbani, Hausa, Gonja and Nzima.
Since the attainment of its independence, when the Gold Coast became Ghana, efforts have always been made to preserve the country’s rich cultural history and traditional institutions, which can be traced to the ancient Ghana Empire. For this reason, the institutions of chieftaincy and the ceremonies attached to it are kept very much alive. Various ethnic groups hold traditional festivals periodically that include drumming, singing and dancing. Traditional crafts include kente and adinkra, wood carving, brass and bronze carving, and pottery. In addition to a rich oral literary tradition which features tales, legends, proverbs and songs, Ghana has a corps of talented novelists, poets and dramatists such as Kofi Awoonor (formerly Ghana’s Ambassador to the United Nations), Ayi Kwei Armah, Attuwei Okai, Kofi Aniyidoho, Ama Ata Aidoo, Efua Sutherland and Mohamed Ben Abdallah, who have made significant contributions to world literature.
Accra is Ghana’s capital and largest city. Originally a small fishing village, Accra became the capital of the Gold Coast in 1877. Probably because of its 300-year contact with the European world, the city was the first to develop foreign business offices, hospitals and schools. Luxury items arrived at Accra’s docksides before being transported on to other colonial towns. Modern Accra, with a population of about one million, is the key city for all of the nation’s governmental and business activities. Major roads, airlines, railways, buses and ocean liners serve the capital, connecting it to most other large cities in Ghana, such as Cape Coast, Takoradi, Kumasi, Keta, Wenchi and Tamale. Merging with several other coastal towns, Accra has developed into the Accra-Tema metropolis, forming the country’s chief commercial, industrial and transportation center. The indigenes of this area and their language are called Ga.
Undergraduates enroll in two courses, African American Studies 4115: African Aesthetics (3 credits) and African American Studies 2201: African Civilizations (3 credits), for a total of six credits.
Graduate students enroll in two courses, African American Studies 8007: African Aesthetics (3 credits) and African American Studies 8002: African Civilizations (3 credits), for a total of six credits.
Students who have already taken these courses or have special needs due to their major/disciplinary requirements may discuss the possibility of an independent study with the program director prior to applying to the program.
The first course, African Aesthetics, seeks to explore the philosophical, cultural and aesthetic expressions of African peoples on the continent, and their impact on the communities and artistic expressions of Africans in the United States and the Caribbean. Readings from textbooks are augmented with lectures, observation and participation in traditional and contemporary theater and other artistic performances such as oratory, singing, music and dance, as well as the arts and crafts of kente cloth weaving, carving and batik.
The second course, African Civilizations, provides an intensive investigation of the origins of several major African civilizations in West Africa from ancient to contemporary times. Emphasis is placed on the medieval empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai. Because of the program location in Ghana, topics to be addressed include the transatlantic slave trade, the impact of colonialism, independence and contemporary issues in Ghana.
Weekly field visits to important historical monuments, cultural sites and commercial enterprises in Ghana enrich the academic program.
Students have access to the University of Ghana’s Balme Library, the special library of the Institute of African Studies, the DuBois Center and the Padmore Research Library, as well as the United States Information Services and the British Council Libraries.
Temple undergraduate students who successfully complete this program automatically satisfy the World Society (GG) requirement of GenEd.
Dr. Niambi M. Carter is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies. She received her BA in African American Studies from Temple University and her MA and PhD degrees from Duke University where she focused on African American politics and political thought of the African diaspora. She is also an alumnus of the Temple University Ghana summer abroad program.
Dr. Iyelli Ichile earned her doctorate degree in History from Howard University, with a concentration on the African Diaspora. Her research interests include: spiritual traditions of Africa and the African Diaspora; black musical traditions; black folk cultures; African and African Diaspora history; and gender and womanhood in the African Diaspora.
Students have the opportunity to visit such historic and cultural sites as the ancient slave castles at Cape Coast and Elmina; Kakum National Park, a wildlife and fauna preserve; various sites around Accra, such as the W.E.B. DuBois and Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleums; The National Theater, which is home to three companies; local beaches; Aburi Botanical Gardens; and traditional markets.
Housing and meals are arranged in comfortable university facilities at Legon and in
Although the University of Ghana is not normally in session during the summer, the university often hosts a number of special summer programs for both local and international participants, and many campus recreational facilities are available to summer program students.
*Per university policy, Temple students who are considered “upper division” are charged additional tuition ($21 per credit) in the summer. “Upper division” is defined as an undergraduate student with a minimum of 60 earned credits, regardless of how obtained. This policy does not affect non-Temple students.
**The Ghana Fee includes housing, program excursions, and a few group meals. Please note that this fee is an estimate and will be updated.
Dates are tentative and subject to change
Please see General Summer Information to read about pre-departure information and orientation; passports and visas; scholarships; costs and payment policies; accreditation; and transfer of credits.
Please see Eligibility and Application Procedures for program eligibility, application requirements, and application procedures that apply to all summer programs. In addition, for the Ghana program, the following is required: