The African Studies Association offers a Distinguished Africanist Award in recognition of lifetime distinguished contributions to African studies. The Award is presented at the Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony, and consists of a plaque and a lifetime membership in the African Studies Association.


Any member of the Association is eligible to nominate a candidate. The nomination must include a vitae of the nominee, a detailed letter of nomination outlining how the nominee meets the criteria for the Award, and three similar letters from ASA members seconding the nomination. At least two of the latter must be affiliated with institutions other than that of the nominee. All nomination materials must be provided in English. The complete dossier of the candidate must be submitted on letterhead as a PDF emailed to Criteria for the Award are the distinction of contribution to Africanist scholarship, as measured by a lifetime of accomplishment and service in the field of African studies. Contributions to scholarship within and without the academic community are considered.

The Distinguished Africanist Award Committee is composed of the Past President, the President, the Vice President, and two ASA members designated by the Executive Committee of the ASA Board of Directors. The non-Board members of the committee serve three-year terms. The recommendation of the Committee is presented to the Board of Directors at its Spring Meeting, and the final choice is made by the Board.

Dossiers of candidates not selected for the award are kept by the ASA Secretariat and circulated for five consecutive years to the committee. The Distinguished Africanist Award Committee has the option of keeping candidate files open indefinitely.

The ASA Distinguished Africanist Award was established in the 1980’s to recognize and honor scholars who have contributed a lifetime record of outstanding scholarship in their respective field of African studies and service to the Africanist community.


Past President:
Professor Ato Quayson (Stanford University), Chair

Professor Carolyn Brown (Rutgers University)

Vice President:
Professor Ousseina Alidou (Rutgers University)

Professor Michelle Moyd (Indiana University)
Professor Wale Adebanwi (Oxford University)

Distinguished Africanist Award Winners

2020: Frederick Cooper

2019: Pearl T. Robinson

2018: E. Gyimah-Boadi

2017: Iris Berger

2016: Sara Berry

2015: Goran Hyden

2014: Boubakar Barry

2013: Allen Isaacman

2012: Jane Guyer

2011: Toyin Falola

2010: Terence Ranger

2009: David Robinson

2008: Edmond J. Keller

2007: John Middleton

2006: Bogumil Jewsiewicki

2005: John Hunwick

2004: Francis M. Deng

2003: Joseph E. Harris

2002: Peter Geschiere

2001: Bethwell Ogot

2001: Martin Klein

2000: J.H. Kwabena Nketia

2000: Bernth Lindfors

1999: Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch

1998: Ivor G. Wilks

1997: Akin Mabogunje

1996: Thandika Mkandawire

1995: Ali A. Mazrui

1993: J. Ade Ajayi

1992: Philip D. Curtin

1991: Howard Wolpe

1990: Crawford Young

1989: Roland Oliver

1988: Elizabeth Colson

1987: Joseph Greenberg

1986: Jan Vansina

1985: Elliott Skinner

1984: Gwendolen M. Carter

Distinguished Africanist Award Winners