Sewanee: The University of the South

Amy S. Patterson


B.A., Trinity University (Political Science and International Relations); PhD, Indiana University, Bloomington (Political Science and African Studies)

Amy S. Patterson

Amy S. Patterson received her B.A. in political science and international affairs from Trinity University and her Ph.D. in political science and African studies from Indiana University-Bloomington. She teaches courses on international relations, African politics, global health and development, and democratization. Before obtaining her Ph.D., Patterson was a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Senegal, where she worked on agroforestry programs.

 Patterson’s research has examined the role of civil society in Africa, including how local organizations promote democracy and address issues such as HIV/AIDS. She has also investigated African state reactions to HIV/AIDS. She is editor of The African State and the AIDS Crisis (Ashgate, 2005) and author of The Politics of AIDS in Africa (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2006) and The Church and AIDS in Africa: The Politics of Ambiguity (FirstForum Press, 2011). She has published articles on HIV and AIDS, civil society, and gender in Africa in Africa Today, Journal of Modern African Studies, Canadian Journal of African Studies, African Journal of AIDS Research, Contemporary Politics, and African Studies Review. She has conducted fieldwork in Senegal, Ghana, and Zambia. As a Fulbright Scholar in 2011, she conducted research on political empowerment and social capital among members of secular and religious support groups for people living with HIV and AIDS in Zambia. She also serves as a member of the Governing Board for the International Research Network on AIDS and Religion in Africa.

Before coming to Sewanee, Patterson taught at Calvin College for eleven years.  There she led semesters abroad and research trips to Africa with students.  She has been fortunate to live, teach, and conduct research in Africa with her daughters and husband.  In her free time, Patterson likes to run, read, and cook.

Patterson C.V.

Areas of Expertise

  • African Politics
  • HIV/AIDS Policy
  • Politics in Ghana, Zambia, and Senegal
Sewanee: The University of the South