The African Studies Association (ASA) recently announced the creation of two exciting ventures – the Ken Harrow ASA Film Fund to support scholarship on African film in honor of late African cinema scholar Kenneth Harrow as well as the Sembène-Kelani Film Prize, awarded to an outstanding film by an African filmmaker.

Established in 1957, the African Studies Association is the flagship membership organization devoted to enhancing the exchange of information about Africa. Based in the US, the ASA provides access to path-breaking research and key debates in African studies and facilitates interdisciplinary exchanges with African scholars and institutions.

The Ken Harrow ASA Film Fund will foster scholarship, art, and the exchange of ideas about African film. It will support the new Sembène-Kelani Film Prize, formerly the ASA Film Prize, awarded to an outstanding film, whether fiction or documentary, made by an African filmmaker. The Prize is named in honor of two prominent African filmmakers, Senegalese Sembène Ousmane and Nigerian Tunde Kelani.

The Film Fund will also support scholarly research and the dissemination of knowledge about African film by providing film festival attendance grants to African Studies Review Film Review Editors and Sembène-Kelani Film Prize committee members. The Fund will finance the relocation of the Harrow library, including over 1000 titles and 450 films, in partnership with Michigan State University and Université Gaston Berger.

The Ken Harrow ASA Film Fund was made possible by a generous gift from Kenneth Harrow and Elizabeth Harrow. Professor Kenneth Harrow (1943-2024) was Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English at Michigan State University for the past 52 years. He served on the board of the African Studies Association and helped establish and organize the ASA Film Prize. In 2023, he received the ASA Distinguished Africanist Award. Read our obituary on Harrow here.

If you wish to support this work or make a gift in Prof. Harrow’s memory, donate here.