The Jordan Prize


Since 1969, the African Studies Program has awarded the A.C. Jordan Prize to a UW-Madison graduate student for the year’s best paper on Africa.


To be considered for the prize, a paper must be nominated and submitted to the African Studies Program by a UW-Madison faculty member. If you have received or expect to receive an outstanding paper on Africa submitted by a graduate student during the 2020-21 academic year, consider nominating it for the Jordan Prize. Nominated papers must meet the following guidelines:

  1. The paper must have satisfied a UW-Madison academic requirement (e.g., a course, seminar, or master’s thesis requirement) any time between May 14, 2020, and May 14, 2021.
  2. Most submissions are seminar papers, but any kind of paper on Africa in any field is eligible. Master’s theses are eligible.
  3. Ph.D. dissertations are not eligible.
  4. Published or soon-to-be-published papers will be considered as long as they were produced to satisfy an academic requirement between May 14, 2020, and May 14, 2021.

Award Details

Prize winners receive $1000. The winner of the Jordan Prize is invited to present an Africa at Noon seminar. The names of Jordan Prize winners are inscribed on a plaque in our office. Past winners include Joseph Miller (1969), Catherine Newbury (1970), Tom Spear (1971), Michael Schatzberg (1972) and many other well-known figures in African Studies.

Nomination Deadline

Applications for the 2021 awards will be due June 1, 2021.

Nominate a Paper

To nominate a paper, send the following electronic documents to Aleia McCord (

  1. Your nominating cover letter
  2. The paper (or thesis)

About Archibald C. Jordan

Archibald C. Jordan (1906-1968) was a South African writer and teacher and one of the first faculty members in the UW-Madison’s Department of African Languages and Literature. The prize offered in his name was established immediately after his untimely death. A.C. Jordan earned his BA in English from the University College of Fort Hare in 1934 and his MA (1943) and Ph.D. (1957) from the University of Cape Town. He taught at the University of Cape Town from 1946 until 1962, when the ramifications of the events at Sharpeville forced him into exile at Wisconsin. His most famous work is Ingqumbo ye Minyanya (The Wrath of the Ancestors), published in 1940, later translated by the author into English. Other works include Toward an African Literature. His son Pallo Jordan serves as South Africa’s Minister of Arts and Culture.

List of Jordan Prize winners

Photos of Jordan Prize winners

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