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Summer 2023: Coronavirus Information

Harvard Summer Program in Dakar, Senegal

  • Date

    June 18, 2023 to August 12, 2023

  • Apply By

    January 26, 2023

  • Cost


  • Housing


Dakar, Senegal

Learn about modern Francophone Africa while exploring the diversity of Senegal.

Program Director:

Ousmane Kane

About the Program

This program counts for one full-year course (8 credits) or degree credit.

In addition, concentration, secondary field, or foreign language citation credit may be available from Romance Languages and Literatures, if all coursework is done in French. Please consult the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures for more information.

AAAS S-137 Study Abroad in Dakar, Senegal: Belief, Culture, and Society in Francophone Africa

Ousmane Kane, PhD, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University
8 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

Offered in Dakar, Senegal, this course introduces students to francophone Africa by situating it in world history and political economy, and particularly its place in the slave trade. Lectures explore the formation and transformation of the religious landscape of Senegambia. How were Islam and Christianity introduced, appropriated, and transformed here? How did they interact with traditional African religions? What factors paved the way for their spread? How did they contribute to education and the production of knowledge? What impact have they had on gender and inter-generational relations? How have they informed arts and culture?
The course further examines the impact of Senegambia’s two educational systems, Arab-Islamic and French, that have persisted since colonial times, and looks at how interactions among Arabs, black Africans, and Europeans produced a culturally hybrid society in the postcolonial period. Focusing on novels, pamphlets, painting, cinema, crafts, and music, students explore this hybridity as well as the different expressions of social and political concerns. In addition to lectures, discussion, and movie viewing, students visit Islamic and Christian pilgrimage sites and African religious shrines, and get a flavor of Senegalese village life by attending wrestling matches and drumming performances.

Where You'll Live and Study

Dakar, Senegal’s capital and largest city, offers an ideal location to study West Africa’s colonial history and postcolonial transformations.


Students stay in apartments close to the West African Research Center where curricular activities are held.


To apply, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student
  • Be in good academic standing

Students enrolled at any accredited university are welcome to apply. See the How to Apply page for more information.

The Summer 2023 application is now closed. All admissions decisions will be released on March 3. Each program has unique requirements included in the online application. Beginning your application early is the best way to ensure that you have sufficient time to review and complete the application requirements by the deadline.

You may apply to no more than two programs; if applying to two programs, you will be asked to rank your two applications in order of preference (first and second choice). Any applications submitted in excess of the maximum of two will be automatically withdrawn. You will be notified of your admissions status in each program by early March.

A complete online application includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • A statement of interest
  • Your most recent transcript
  • Program-specific requirements (if applicable; may include letters of recommendation, etc.)

Interviews may be requested at the discretion of the program.

Harvard College students applying for funding from the Office of Career Services (OCS)Please note that the OCS funding application is separate. OCS funding awards are tied to a specific program, and cannot be transferred to another program.

If you have questions about the application, please contact the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Office by email at

Cost & Expenses

Additional Information