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ISITA is the first research center in North America specifically devoted to the study of Islam in Africa. Its founders, John O. Hunwick and Rex Sèan O’Fahey, built upon their career-long efforts to document and study the Islamic intellectual tradition in Africa, and also on Northwestern University’s longstanding tradition of excellence in this area.

A history of distinguished faculty, combined with the Herskovits Library of African Studies’ unique collection of Arabic manuscripts from West Africa has established Northwestern as the undisputed hub for research and graduate training in the field of Islam in Africa. Read more about ISITA's history.

Since October 2017, ISITA is directed by Zekeria Ahmed Salem. Learn about the director and the rest of the faculty and staff that enrich ISITA.

Learn about ISITA’s programming, or browse publications resulting from ISITA’s conferences, research and fellowships. Funding is available to Northwestern University faculty and graduate students through the John Hunwick Research Fund.

Read about the calligraphy featured on our homepage.