The US Federal budget released last week is of great concern to the field of African Studies. The President’s FY2018 budget proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, African Development Fund, Institute for Library and Museum Services, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. It also proposes the complete elimination of Title VI and the Fulbright-Hays program.

The ASA is working actively to identify ways that we as an Association can mobilize against these proposed budget cuts, which challenge the very core of our mission. Through our membership in the National Humanities Alliance and Coalition for International Education, we are closely monitoring the process of legislation of the new budget. We are combining forces with other learned societies and area studies associations to ensure that legislators in Washington are aware of the importance of these programs and of the contributions that they make to the broader higher-education landscape in the United States.

The leadership of the ASA is cognizant of the direct impact that the elimination of these budget line items could have on our members and on the future of African Studies. The elimination of Title VI centers, the National African Language Resource Center, Group Projects Abroad, and other key programs would severely reduce the resources available to students and faculty of African Studies in the United States. Without these programs, our efforts to promote the dissemination of knowledge about Africa, to promote scholarly exchanges with African universities, and to bring African scholars to the United States would be severely impacted. Many of you have benefited from the presence of these institutions and we hope that your voices will be heard as we mobilize to speak out about their importance.

In the coming weeks, the ASA will compile and share specific advocacy resources and strategies related to African Studies. In the meantime, we encourage each of you to participate in the advocacy initiatives of the National Humanities Alliance and to contact your congressional representatives to ensure that they understand the negative impacts of these proposed cuts.

Suzanne Moyer Baazet,
Executive Director, African Studies Association