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The Politics of Identity, Heritage and Culture in Ghana

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | Social Science Ghana


This program takes students on a critical journey of self-reflection in Ghana. Students will explore the politics of heritage, identity, and culture and the complex ways these are discussed, understood and represented within the country, both through visits to and interactions with historical and symbolic sites, and engagements with program contributors (including artists, religious leaders, linguists, political leaders, historians, and more). Engagements are located in Ghana’s capital city of Accra, within the cultural center of Kumasi, and in Ho in the Eastern Volta, facilitating interaction with the Ewe, Fante, Nzema and Ga Dambe peoples, cultures and traditions.

Through intentional historical context building, providing opportunities for connection with contributors from various walks of life, and including purposeful moments for deep reflection, this program inspires students to not merely see, but grapple with Ghana — to think through the ways the sites and voices they encounter speak to them, through them, and even perhaps for them, and to explore the ways in which their own social and personal backgrounds impact these conversations.

Why Ghana?

Contemporary Ghana is the product of a wealth of historical forces that have had profound effects on identity, heritage and culture in the country and, indeed, in the world at large, making it an ideal location for this program. Ghana’s human population dates back to 10,000 BCE, and the country’s current name derives from a medieval trading empire. Trade with Europeans began in the 15th century and, while originally focused on gold (hence the name, “Gold Coast”), the focus shifted to humans in the 1700s and led to the formation of the transatlantic slave trade. The forts and castles that line the country’s coast were built by Europeans to facilitate these trade interests and are chilling testaments to the inhumanity that characterized the colonial era.

In 1957, under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana became the first African nation to gain independence from colonialism and the country shaped many international narratives of Pan-Africanism. Today, Ghana is often lauded as an economic powerhouse and is home to peoples from different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. The vestiges of its long and complex past, however, remain evident in various monuments and structures, as well as its peoples’ collective memories.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to:

  • Reflect on the complexities of identity, heritage and culture in the context of Ghana
  • Understand the transcontinental impact of colonialism and slavery
  • Consider the impact of colonialism on the preservation of indigenous knowledge
  • Critically explore their personal identities
  • Demonstrate intercultural empathy and respect
  • Increase awareness of indigenous African knowledge and belief systems
  • Apply their experiences and skill development to their career objectives

Note: Specific learning outcomes and activities can be constructed in collaboration with EDU Africa’s dedicated curriculum development team.

Customize Your Program

Our friendly and experienced team will work closely with you to develop your custom faculty-led program from conceptualization to execution. We believe every journey to Africa gives students the opportunity to learn and transform and we pride ourselves in our ability to create unique, sustainable and truly African transformative learning journeys.

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