Fall 2023!

In a collaboration with Rhodes and Centre, Sewanee is thrilled to offer Ghana on the World Stage, which examines the historical, cultural, and political intersections between Ghana, Memphis, and the world.

Quick Facts

Where: Memphis, Tennessee (two weeks) and Accra, Ghana (13 weeks)

When: July 31, 2023 - November 17, 2023

What: Studying in Accra will provide students with a life changing opportunity to live and study in a remarkable, historic city where coursework, home stays, and internships immerse them in the vibrant and awe-inspiring culture of Ghana. The program focuses on the complex intersections of the past and present, modern Ghana and the African diaspora.  We answer questions such as: Where are the connections between Ghana and the U.S.? How do both countries influence each other's music, food, innovation, and fashion? When did the connections in our politics and economics have their historical beginnings? Through the semester students will discover the historic and contemporary ties connecting western African to the U.S. diaspora, examining topics ranging from the west African slave trade to the Pan-African movement and beyond. Students from three institutions -- Rhodes, Centre, and Sewanee -- will take part in this unique liberal arts collaboration examining these intriguing and important questions. 

Cost: Students pay Sewanee comprehensive tuition and fees and will continue to receive Sewanee aid and scholarships during the Ghana on the World Stage program. 

Trip Leader: Amy S. Patterson, Ph.D. 

Contact for Additional Information: global@sewanee.edu 

How to apply: Set up an account and apply through Via.

Program Overview

The following courses are required for all students on the Ghana Program:

  • HIST 230 — Ghana and West Africa’s Pasts in the Black Atlantic (4 credits) - taught by Kofi Baku

This course provides an introduction to slavery in Ghana and West Africa and the Atlantic slave trade out of West Africa. The course combines lectures, class discussions, documentaries, and field trips to sites of enslavement, slave markets and resistance to slavery as well as student analysis of contemporary sources. The course is required for all students attending the Ghana on the World Stage program.

- Prerequisite: Open only to students admitted to the Ghana on the World Stage program.
- Program attributes: Pre-1700 History (HIPR), Non-European/Non U.S. History (HINW)
- General Education attribute: G7
  • POLS 227: Africa in World Politics: A Ghanaian Perspective (4 CREDITS) - TAUGHT BY Amy Patterson
This course examines the challenges, successes, and failures of the continent’s political development, with a particular focus on Ghana. It begins by investigating how colonialism and nationalism affected politics, society, and economies. It then examines post-independence governments, democratic transitions, political institutions, and significant political actors. Using the Ghana case, it questions how ethnicity, gender, and religious identities play into these dynamics, and it questions how Ghana has been able to develop a stable democratic system, while many other African countries have experienced authoritarian rule. Expanding beyond domestic politics, the course pays particular attention to the ways that the African Union, ECOWAS, and donor nations shape politics in Ghana. In the process, it links Ghanaian politics and society to diasporic factors and populations.
- Prerequisite: Only open to students admitted to the Ghana on the World Stage program.
- Program attributes: IGAF (IGS - Africa),  ITGS (IGS - Global Culture and Society)

In addition to the above courses, students may choose two of the following three courses. 

  • INGS 325 — Globalization and the Challenges of Development in Ghana (4 credits) - taught by Akosua Darkwah
Globalization and the Challenges of Development in Ghana explores the multifaceted ways in which globalization manifests itself around the world and examines globalization's complex impacts on Ghanaian citizens and on society as a whole.
- Prerequisite: Open only to students admitted to the Ghana on the World Stage program.
- Program attributes: IGAF (IGS - Africa) or  ITGC (IGS – Global Capitalism); PODV (Politics - Development and Political Economy concentration), POGI (Politics - Global Institutions and Policies concentration)
- General Education attribute: G4
  • MUSC 223 — The Emergence of "Highlife:" Ghanaian Popular Music (4 credits) 
Highlife music has emerged as one of the most popular world music genres from West Africa in the last century due to the influence of indigenous Ghanaian music heritage juxtaposed with ideas borrowed from the West. This course analyzes the musical varieties within the highlife genre and explores the numerous factors rooted in ethnicity, gender, identity, Pan-Africanism, and generational class relations that have contributed to contemporary understandings of Ghanaian popular music.
- Prerequisite: Only open to students admitted to the Ghana on the World Stage program.
  • Internship Placement and Seminar (4 credits) - available in various academic disciplines

Students will stay in groups of two or three with local families in homestay accommodations. These accommodations provide meals, laundry, and wifi.  

field trips and excursions

Several field trips and excursions are offered both in Accra and throughout four different regions of Ghana. 

Student Support

Comprehensive student support is offered through the Aya Centre. The Aya Centre is a "single-purpose, multi-service organization designed to enhance the learning experience and cultural awareness of persons traveling to Ghana." They provide the following support for our students: 

  • Airport pickup
  • On-site orientation upon arrival in Ghana
  • Cultural events
  • In-country Excursions
  • Farewell dinner
  • 24/7 Emergency support
  • Crisis-management preparedness
  • Fully trained on-site local staff
  • Classroom space
  • Internship and service-learning placements
  • Homestays
Dates (More details coming soon!)
  • 31 July – 12 August  (Memphis, TN) 
  • 12 August (Depart for Ghana)
  • 13 August (Students arrive in Accra, Ghana) 
  • 17 November (Final day of program) 


Get to Know the Program Director, Dr. Amy Patterson

Dr. Amy Patterson is Professor and Chair of Politics at Sewanee. She has led two semester-long study programs to Accra, Ghana, and she has conducted research on health policies and youth in the country. She is excited to return to Accra, where she has many connections. Dr. Patterson will teach the course, “Africa in World Politics: Ghanaian Perspectives.” The course examines challenges, successes, and failures of Ghana’s political development. It pays particular attention to the nationalist struggle, pan-Africanism, and the post 1992 democratic transition, as well as ethnic, religious, and class identities in politics, and it places Ghanaian politics in the context of regional and global political structures and power relations. It uses field trips and guest speakers to supplement course materials.

Sample Research

Africa and Global Health Governance: Domestic Politics and International Structures.                                       Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.

"Framing Global Mental Health: New Layers of Meaning with the COVID-19                                                  Pandemic?" Global Health Governance 17(1), Spring 2022.                            https://blogs.shu.edu/ghg/files/2022/05/Spring-2022-Issue.pdf. 

“African Responses to COVID-19: The Reckoning of Agency.”  African Studies ReviewFebruary 2021. https://doi.org/10.1017/asr.2020.122.

“What Motivates Young African Leaders for Public Engagement? Lessons from Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda.” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society. 2020.

“‘To Save the Community’: Carework as Citizenship in Liberia’s Ebola Outbreak and Zambia’s AIDS Crisis.” Africa Today, 66, 2 (2019): 29-54.

What Else?

Dr. Patterson was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal (forestry program). As a Fulbright scholar, she has lived, taught, and conducted research in Tanzania and Zambia. She speaks Wolof and (some) Swahili. She loves spicy food, reading,