The Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria Nsukka, was established as a graduate teaching centre, a Research Library, an ethnographic unit, cinematographic and technical unit, and a Museum which is the most equiped in this part of the country. The Institute also provides appropriate institutional base to visiting scholars from other universities around the world, and creates sustainable environment for partnership with other research centers. Finally, the Institute coordinates works and research related to African Studies in other academic areas.

The Institute has two research publications: Ikenga: International Journal of African Studies attempts to cover the entire spectrum of African Studies both in Africa and Diaspora, while Ikoro: Journal of African Studies is an organ for the dissemination of information in current research activities in all areas of African Studies around the globe.

The Institute also engages in occassional publications in different areas of Africa Studies including African Indigeous Laws, Literature, Religion, Music, Health Care, Politics, and Gender. Additional mandate of the Institute include the provision of regular Seminars, Workshops, and Lecture Series.

The establishment of the Hansberry College of Africa Studies was approved by the Governing Council of the University of Nigeria in 1962. During the 1964 academic session, the College was renamed Hansberry Institute of African Studies.

William Leo Hansberry

Significanty, the College was named after William Leo Hansberry, an eminent African American Historian and Anthropologist, who was designated its first director. William Leo Hansberry (1894-1965), studied at Harvard, Oxford, and University of Chicago was known as an exemplary scholar-activist and was known to influenced scholarship in African History, and painstakingly disseminated knowledge in this academic area far beyond the formal classroom environment. In 1922, he set the record of being the first academic to introduce a course on African history in a University in the United State of America. From then, he taught ancient and contemporary African history in Howard University for forty two (42) years, and indefatigably gave lectures, workshops, ans seminars in this area outside the classroom.

It is significant to note that William Leo Hansberry served as researsch associate to W.E.B. DuBois, and recorded unprecedented results and breakthroughs. He also had meaningful intelletual relationships with Marcus Mosiah Garvey, founder of the United Improvement Association, James Weldon Johnson, and Carter G.Woodson. Many of the students who passed through this extraordinary academic include Chancellor Williams, the author of the renowned book, the Destruction of Black Civilization (1987), and John Henrik Clarke, a voracious author who provided the blue print for Africana Studies at Cornell University. Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and an avalanche of distinguished professors, leading theorists, and academic giants still making waves in different parts of the globe.

This Mississippi-born scholar was the first person to propose the development of African Studies as an interdisciplinary academic area, and laid bare the groundwork for its accomplishment in the university system. Today, the avalanche of programs in African Studies in universities around the globe started from the works of this extraordinary American academic. Because of the addition of Diaspora Studies in our programme, the Institute will propose for the change of its name to Institute of African and Diaspora Studies.