To celebrate the establishment of the Africana Studies department at the University of Notre Dame and encourage the rigorous interdisciplinary study of the histories, languages, and cultures of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora worldwide, Societas Africana was established in July 2005.
Societas Africana is an undergraduate honor society open to graduating seniors who have successfully completed a major or minor in Africana Studies. Students eligible for induction must have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better in courses required for completion of the major or minor.
Honorary membership in Societas Africana is also extended to graduate students and faculty members at the University of Notre Dame who have made significant contributions, through research and teaching, to Africana Studies.
Induction of members takes place annually at the departmental end-of-year graduation ceremony. Inductees receive a pin and certificate bearing the insignia of the Society—the Adinkra symbol Gye Nyame, emblematic of God’s ineffability and supremacy, placed at the cross-section of the arms of a cross. This insignia is a reminder of the integrative nature of Africana Studies; the importance of recognizing the role that spirituality has played in shaping ideals and values in Africa and the Diaspora; and the University’s identity as a Catholic center of research, teaching, and learning, in which all fields contribute to the search for truth.