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Annual Prizes

Students are invited to submit essays for the Center for Africana Studies’ annual prizes. Submission deadlines are posted at the beginning of the spring term.

The John Edgar Wideman Prize in Africana Studies

Named in honor of University of Pennsylvania alumnus, author and the first director of the Afro-American Studies Program, this prize is awarded annually for the best undergraduate Africana Studies (African American or Diaspora) essay in literature or the arts. Prize recipient is awarded $250. Students may submit an essay previously written for a course.

The Buchi Emecheta Prize in African Studies

Named in honor of celebrated Nigerian novelist, children's writer, screenplay writer and autobiographer, this prize is awarded annually for the best undergraduate essay on African language, literature (in any language, written or oral), music or the arts. Prize recipient is awarded $250. Students may submit an essay previously written for a course.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Prize in Africana Studies

Named in honor of University of Pennsylvania sociologist and Pan-Africanist, this prize is awarded annually for the best undergraduate Africana Studies (African American or Diaspora) essay in history or the social sciences. Prize recipient is awarded $250. Students may submit an essay previously written for a course.

The Nnamdi Azikiwe Prize in African Studies

Named in honor of the first president of independent Nigeria, this prize is awarded for the best undergraduate African Studies essay in any of the social or natural sciences. Prize recipient is awarded $250. Students may submit an essay previously written for a course.

The Sadie Tanner Alexander Prize in Africana Studies

Named in honor of Sadie Tanner Alexander, distinguished University of Pennsylvania alumna, this prize is awarded for a senior honors thesis of exceptional merit in Africana Studies. Prize recipient is awarded $300. Students may submit a draft of their thesis for consideration.

The African Studies Senior Thesis Prize

This prize is awarded for a senior thesis of exceptional merit in African Studies. Prize recipient is awarded $300. Students may submit a draft of their thesis for consideration.

The Raymond Pace Alexander Prize in Africana Studies

Named in honor of Raymond Pace Alexander, University of Pennsylvania alumnus, attorney, civil rights advocate and judge, this prize is awarded to an Africana Studies major or minor who has distinguished himself or herself academically, intellectually and in the area of leadership. For consideration, students should submit a one-page nomination statement and copy of their resume. Prize recipient is awarded $350.

The Sandra Barnes Prize African Studies

This prize is awarded to an outstanding African Studies student. Faculty will nominate students for consideration for this prize. Prize recipient is awarded $350.

The Center for Africana Studies Distinguished Student Prize 

This prize awards $500 toward graduate school expenses to an exceptional student who will pursue graduate study in Africana Studies (African continent, African American or Diaspora). For consideration, students should submit a one-page statement that discusses their proposed graduate study, research plans and a letter of support from a faculty member who is familiar with the student's work and graduate school plans.

Annual Student Prizes Submission Form

Graduate Student

Prize Award for Best Dissertation in African Studies

This prize is awarded for an outstanding Ph.D. dissertation focusing on the African continent. Prize recipient is awarded $400. Faculty should send a nomination email to africana@sas.upenn.edu and deliver a copy of the dissertation to the Center for Africana Studies administrative office.

Students should contact the Center for Africana Studies, 3401 Walnut Street, Suite 331A, for additional information on submission guidelines or for more information about the above prizes.