A.C. Jordan Lecture

The Archibald Campbell Jordan Lecture is an annual lecture in fulfillment of the prize established for the best paper in African Studies in honor of A.C. Jordan’s trailblazing career in the field.  The lecture is presented by the awardee graduate student as part of the Africa at Noon lecture series at the African Studies Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Archibald C. Jordan (1906-1968) was a South African writer and teacher and one of the first faculty members in the UW-Madison’s Department of African Languages and Literature. The lecture prize offered in his name was established immediately after his untimely death. A.C. Jordan earned his BA in English from the University College of Fort Hare in 1934 and his MA (1943) and Ph.D. (1957) from the University of Cape Town. He taught at the University of Cape Town from 1946 until 1962, when the ramifications of the events at Sharpeville forced him into exile at Wisconsin. His most famous work is Ingqumbo ye Minyanya (The Wrath of the Ancestors), published in 1940, later translated by the author into English. Other works include Toward an African Literature.

Nominate a paper


Since 1969, the African Studies Program has awarded the A.C. Jordan Prize to a UW-Madison graduate student for the year’s best paper on Africa.


Papers must be nominated and submitted to the African Studies Program by a UW-Madison faculty member. Current graduate students from any academic department are eligible to receive the award. Nominated papers must meet the following criteria:

  1. The paper must be authored by a current UW-Madison graduate student. Students who intend to graduate in May 2024 or later are eligible.
  2. Papers of all types and from all fields are eligible. Master’s theses, stand-alone chapters of a Ph.D. dissertation, qualifying exams, published or soon-to-be-published papers will be considered.
  3. Papers must be submitted in English.

Prize Details

Prize winners receive $1000. The winner of the Jordan Prize is invited to present an Africa at Noon seminar. The names of Jordan Prize winners are inscribed on a plaque in our office. Past winners include Joseph Miller (1969), Catherine Newbury (1970), Tom Spear (1971), Michael Schatzberg (1972) and many other well-known figures in African Studies.

Nomination Deadline

Applications for the 2024 awards are due Weds, May 22 2024 at 11:59 PM CST

Nominate a Paper

To nominate a paper, please upload the following documents as a single PDF . You will need to login using your Wisc NetID and password.

  1. Your nominating cover letter
  2. The paper

Nominate a paper

Check out other grants, fellowships, and awards

2023 Erin Kitchell

“Collective Action as Political Negotiation: Institutional Competition and Coordination in Pastoral Governance”

2022   Vincent Ogoti

“The Poetics of Unbreakable Bodies in Ebrahim Hussain’s Kinjeketile

2021       Justyn Huckleberry

Displacing Farmers and their Non/Human Relations through Internationally Funded Copper Mining in Botswana

2020      Iréne Tombo

“Dimensions of Citizenship: The Case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo”

2019      Kathryn Mara

“Jenoside, Génocide, Genocide: Socialization into Naming the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi”

2018      Kaden Paulson-Smith

“How Nonnormative Gender and Sexuality Became a Target of Violent Political Repression”

2017       Sarah Stefanos

“Shaky Deals?: Domestic/Diasporan Agro-Investors and Tensions Between Developmentalism and Neopatrimonialism in Ethiopian Land Concessions”

2016       Niwaeli Kimambo

“More People, More Trees: Social and ecological factors for tree cover and distribution and their implications for forest connectivity in Southern Tanzania”

2015       Rachel Silver

“Brokers in an Unequal World: African Middle Figures from Colonialism to Neoliberalism”

2014        No award given

2013        Philip Janzen

“Caribbean Colonizers: Assimilation and Diasporic Imagination in the French Empire, 1880-1960”

2012        Patrick Otim, History

“The Emergence of Local Intellectuals: Lacito Okech and the Writing of Early Twentieth-Century Acholi History in Northern Uganda”

2011          Sofia Samatar, African Languages and Literature

“Charting the Constellation: Past and Present in Things Fall Apart”

2010         Sean Bloch, History

“Snakes and Shifta: Violence and Modernity in Mid-Twentieth Century Kenya”

2009         Lacy S. Ferrell, History

“Educative Practices in Taleland, 1900-1940”

2008         Jessica Krug, History

“Social Dismemberment, Social Remembering: Contested Kromanti Identities, Nationalism, and Obeath, 1675-present.”

2007         Leela Hazzah, Environmental Studies

“Living Among Lions: Community Attitudes Towards Conservation Initiatives and the Motivations Behind Lion Killing in Kenyan Maasailand”

2006         Reem M. Hilal, African Languages and Literature

“The African (Arab) American Muslim Slave Narrative: Identities in Transition”

2005         Mara Goldman, Geography

“Tracking wildebeest, locating knowledge: Maasai and conservation biology understandings of wildebeest behavior in northern Tanzania”

2004        Daniel Magaziner, History

“One Word: Listening to Violence in Early Colonial Sierra Leone”

2003        Ryan Ronnenberg, History

“Advance the Clock Once and for All: A Problem of Timing in Late Colonial Kenya”

2002        Chris Duvall, Geography

“Symbols, Not Data: Rare Trees and Vegetation History in Mali”
2001         Meredith E. Terretta, History

“A Women Can No Longer Be Kept on One Side: Cameroonian Women and the Creation of a Popular Nationalism, 1949 1960”

2000          Stephen Volz, History

“A Chief of a Heathen Town: Kgosi Sechele and the Arrival of Christianity among the Tswana”

1999           Stephen Corradini, History

“A Chief Luka and the Lari Massacre: Contrary Notions of Kikuyu Land Tenure and the Mau Mau War”

1998            Leah Thayer, History

“I Am Not What You Are Searching For: Frameworks, Perceptions, and The Construction of the Liberian Refugee in Côte d’Ivoire, 1989-1997”

1997            Novian Whitsitt, African Languages and Literature

“The Literature of Balaraba Ramat Yakubu and the Emerging Genre of Littatafai na Soyayya: A Prognostic of Change for Women in Hausa Society”

Karl Hassrick, African American Studies

“Derek Walcott: The Descent from Monkey Mountain”

1996            Marie Krüger, African Languages and Literature

“Female Characters in Contemporary Kenyan Women’s Writing: Independent Figures or Subdued Voices?”

Sean Hanretta, History

“Changes in Gender Relations among the Zulu in the Nineteenth Century”

1994            Susan O’Brien, History

“Spirit Possession as Historical Source: Gender, Islam and Healing in Hausa Bori”

1991         Sauda Underwood Smith, African Languages and Literature

“Ebo and Ori: Mythic Consciousness in Death and the King’s Horseman and The Strong Breed”

1990          Gretchen Bauer, Political Science

“The Legacy of the Colonial State in Namibia”

1987          Pier M. Larson, History

“Slavery in Central Madagascar: Imerina in the 19th century”

1986          Charles Gaddy, Political Science

“A Case for a Development Strategy for Africa’s Refugees”

1982          Elizabeth Schmidt, History

“Competing for Power: An Analysis of Conflicting Interests in South African Society, 1924-1948”

1981           John Sigel, African Languages and Literature

“Hausa Trickster Tales”

1979           David S. Newbury, History

“Kamo and Lubambo: Dual Genesis Traditions on Ijwi Island”

1978           Marc Dawson, History

“The History of Plague in Kenya: The Changing Epidemiology of the Disease Prior to 1920”

1976           Deborah D. Foster, African Languages and Literature

“Blood Knot and The Islands as Anti Tragedy”

1975           Paul Cox, Agricultural Economics

“Recent Changes in Land Tenure and Rural Development Policies in Tanzania”

1974           John L. Bernsten, History

“Maasai and Iloikop: Ritual Experts and their Followers”

1973            William Starns, Jr., History

“Land Tenure among Rural Hausa”

1972            Michael G. Schatzberg, Political Science

“The Coup and After: Continuity or Change in Malian Politics?”

1971            Thomas T. Spear, History

“Zwangendaba’s Ngoni, 1821 1890: A Political and Social History of a Migration”

1970           M. Catharine Atterbury, Political Science

“Revolution in Rwanda”

1969          Joseph C. Miller, History

“Cokwe Expansion, 1850 1900”


Check out the A.C. Jordan Prize winners on Flickr