African Studies: Ghana

Instructor Name: 
Kofi Agorsah,
Course Description: 

Experiencing African Culture  in Ghana  Accra the capital city, and Cape Coast in the Central Region, will be the main rendezvous sites. Participants will spend much of their time interacting with communities in other cities, towns and villages in at least three other regions with over sixty ethnic, language and dialect groups. There will also be opportunities to observe Ghana’s vibrant agricultural system, and local and small-scale textile, basket, woodcarving, pottery and leather industries. These experiences will give participants the opportunity to observe the distinct differences in Ghana’s several ethnic groups.  Participants will be housed in hostels and student dorms in Accra, Cape Coast and other cities, towns and villages outside the rendezvous sites – double, triple and quad occupancy, depending on local conditions will apply. Home-stays will be explored to provide participants with more interactive experience.  Participants who plan to stay in Ghana beyond the end date of the program should notify the Program Director in order to coordinate logistical arrangements.

The program has three main components, which overlap in many ways:

** Cultural/Learning Experience - will provide opportunities for first-hand interaction with traditional leaders, office bearers, chiefs, queens and queen mothers and also for exploring of a wide variety of traditional cultural events in African countries (Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Togo, Cote D'Ivoire etc) areas as well as attend village and town events to observe and take part in such traditional activities as festivals and festivities, ritual, drumming music and dance, craft and other creative aspects of African culture. These festivities or events will give PSU students the opportunity to obtain a deeper insight into the cultural concept and values of the groups or societies they will be living in. The initial sites will be those in Ghana, West Africa where a pilot project conducted in 1998 proved very successful.

** Historical/ Learning Experience - this will involve participation in educational excursions and tours of historical and traditional cultural sites such as museums, shrines, historical towns such as Kromantse, monuments, forts and castles of the trans-Atlantic slave trade (Fort Abandzi, Elmina and Cape Coast Castles for example), cultural centers, palaces, traditional herbal institutions and selected educational institutions.

** Academic Experience - students participate in talks, seminars and demonstrations on traditional social, political and religious expressions, to be given by academic and traditional specialists of both rural and urban Ghana; also undertake a field project on an approved topic or subject based on direct interaction, interviews, archival, museum and/or library research, to be written up at the end of the program. The goal will be to study and experience the social and cultural life of people in Ghana and adjoining countries. The central theme of African culture.

Groups of 10 to 12 will travel to Ghana (for a total of 21days), landing in Accra, the capital city and after a day's orientation and familiarization session, travel by road from Accra to Cape Coast with five stops of half-hour each at selected historical monuments along the route. Students will have a choice of being housed with local students or individual home stays with selected families in the Cape Coast and will be given the opportunity to make contact with a cross-section of the population and attend at least eight (four at the University) presentations by experts from a variety of fields. There will be a mixture of group program and internships for the first four days. The group will tour three selected regions where student projects will be based. Thereafter, students will be placed according to their interests and regions, in brief internships with professors, researchers, museum staff, chiefs and traditional elders. It will be an opportunity to experience first hand the changing traditional culture of Ghanaian society and also contribute to breaking down stereotypes on both sides of the Atlantic. By listening to the local views, of the young and old alike, the differences in cultural values and experience will become apparent in the individual PSU student's intimate contacts with their host friends, families and others. Supervised individual mini field research assignments will be required from each student in order to properly document field data and the experience for the PSU service-learning program through presentations, seminars or cultural and other relevant activities, on return.

Please contact Kofi Agorsah,, for more information.