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Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Research Grant

The Northwestern University Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies is one of the largest separate African studies libraries in existence. Established in 1954, its subject matter ranges from art, history, literature, music, science, technology and religion to communications, engineering, management and cookery to name a few. The library’s extensive holdings include numerous rare and archival collections as well as substantial collections of photographs, ephemera, newspapers, government documents, NGO reports, and conference papers published or distributed by various organizations on the continent of Africa.

This travel grant was established in 2021 to facilitate and support research projects that significantly benefit from substantial onsite use of the unique, special and archival collections of the Herskovits Library. The grant is available to researchers whose projects explore new lines of inquiry, interdisciplinary and multi-layered research and contribute to the deeper understanding of the diverse peoples and countries of the African continent. Projects should emphasize the need for extensive onsite use of the library's collections.



How to apply

To apply, please submit the following:

  1. A project proposal (1,200 words max) that:
    • Describes the proposed research
    • Explains the significance of the collection materials to the project
    • Proposes specific outcomes (e.g., dissertation, article, book, creative or artistic work) that will result from this research
  2. A curriculum vitae
  3. A detailed budget indicating total amount requested with itemized list of projected expenses for transportation, accommodations, meals, and other related/qualified expenses. Applicants should indicate any other sources of funding that will be applied to the project, if applicable. For additional information on planning a budget, see allowable expenses and Out-of-Town Visitor Resources.
  4. Applicants should arrange for one (1) letter of recommendation from someone qualified to judge the quality, feasibility, and significance of the proposal and the qualifications of the applicant to successfully complete the project to be sent in support of their proposed project. Those writing recommendations should submit their letters directly to

Applicants should submit the research description, curriculum vitae, and budget by e-mail attachment (PDF format) to

Please note: The selection committee is unable to provide feedback with regard to unsuccessful applications.