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Anthropology 6 (Klein)   Tags: africa, anth6, anthropology, klein  

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Research Project

This Research Guide is a resource for you in completing your research project. Use the tabs above to find help writing your annotated bibliography, finding articles and books, and citing sources. 


This paper is your chance to investigate a particular African nation, culture, and set of issues that are exciting and interesting to you. Throughout the semester, you will become the resident expert on your topic! You will start this project by doing library research and formulating a research question. Please choose from the following research questions to launch your research process. If you have another research question in mind, however, please contact the instructor. 

Sample Project Topics & Research Questions 

Research Questions:

 1. What historical conditions gave rise to a particular social issue that is important in a particular African nation today?

Some specific examples: What historical conditions gave rise to the struggles in Egypt that are part of the so-called “Arab Spring”?; What historical conditions gave rise to the popularity of hip-hop music in Ghana?

 2. How and why is a particular African nation or culture dealing with a particular development issue?

Some specific examples: How and why is South Africa dealing with the ongoing AIDS crisis?; How and why is Nigeria dealing with the local political and economic disputes around oil?

 3. How and why is a particular African nation or culture collaborating with another nation or organization to solve a social issue?

 Some specific examples: How are South Sudan and China collaborating in order to boost the economies of both nations?; How is Libya collaborating with human rights organizations in order to minimize human rights violations since the fall of Gaddafi?

4. How and why does a particular African nation or culture practice a particular art form?

Some specific examples: How and why do Nigerians perform organ and choir music in their churches?; How and why do Ghanaian modern artists express themselves through various modern art media?

 5. How and why is a particular African nation or culture dealing with gender inequality?

Specific example: How are Congolese women’s organizations dealing with history and legacy of the mistreatment of Congolese women during the civil wars?

General topic ideas:

Revolution in Northern Africa

  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Tunisia

Genocide, Civil War, Refugee Situations

  • Rwanda and Burundi
  • Sudan
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Sierra Leone

 Resource Extraction

  • Oil
  • Gold
  • Diamonds
  • Uranium
  • Cash crops

Women and Development

  • Women traders
  • Women farmers
  • Women and health
  • Women’s rights

Performing and Visual Arts

  • Popular music
  • Traditional art
  • African film
  • Video industries

Gender and Sexuality

  • Women’s life histories
  • Gay and lesbian cultures
  • Masculinity and femininity
  • Kinship and family
  • Polygamy

Nationalist and Independence Movements

  • Pan-Africanism
  • Afrocentrism
  • Africa and the African diaspora

International Development

  • Structural adjustment programs
  • World bank projects
  • US intervention and aid projects


  • Cultures of Islam
  • Pentecostalism
  • Traditional religions

Commodity Chains

  • Clothing and textiles
  • Food
  • Plastic
  • Cars


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