We examine 'Africa' in its global interdependence, historical and contemporary dimensions and social, political, economic and linguistic dynamics. Our current research projects deal with spatialization processes, city and urbanization, governance, the circulation of knowledge and technologies, with postcoloniality and theories from the South, and with new concepts of language. We are concerned with global models and processes and interested in possibilities and forms of appropriation and agency at local and regional levels.

enlarge the image: Selfie of four PhDs and one staff member of IfA at Forodhani Garden, Zanzibar.
Phds with a staff member of IfA during field research, Foto: Patrick Mlinga.
  • Recalibrating Afrikanistik
    2019 – 2026 (VW Foundation, World Knowledge – Rare Subjects)
    Rose Marie Beck
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  • Interregionalism and Security in the Sahel: The African Union, ECOWAS, and the European Union
    2020 – 2023 (2nd phase, SFB 1199, B07)
    Ulf Engel
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  • Language as archive: European linguistics and the social history of the Sahara and Sahel in the eighteenth and nineteenth century
    2019 – 2023
    Ari Awagana
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  • Local Self-Governance for the Provision of Security: Vigilantes in Burkina Faso
    2019 – 2022 (DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
    Katja Werthmann
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  • Precarious and Informal Labour in South Africa and Nigeria
    01.2019 – 12.2019
    Dmitri van den Bersselaar
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  • Doing the City. Socio-Spatial Navigation in Urban Africa
    2017 – 2020 (DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
    Rose Marie Beck, Irene Brunotti, Katja Werhmann
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  • Gold Mining and New Regulations of (Sub)National Spaces in Africa. Katja Werthmann
    Duration: 01.2016 – 12.2019
    Institute of African Studies

  • Baada ya Kimbunga, Shuwari.Ushairi wa mtungaji Haji Gora Haji – After the hurricane, the calm. The poetry of Haji Gora Haji. Irene Brunotti
    Duration: 2016 – 2017
    Institute of African Studies, Univeristy of Naples L'Orientale (Prof. Dr. Flavia Aiello)

  • New Dynamics in Swahili Studies. Rose Marie Beck
    Duration: 06.2014 – 12.2016
    Institute of African Studies, Afrikanistik

  • ATAKS – Afrikanetzwerk Tansania – Äthiopien – Kamerun – Südafrika. Rose Marie Beck
    Duration: 01.2012 – 12.2015
    Institute of African Studies, Afrikanistik

  • The Critical Junctures of Globalisation. Ulf Engel
    Duration: 2006 – 2015
    Institute of African Studies, Geografy, EasternEuropean Studies, Japanese Studies, Sociology, Political Science, History, Oriental Studies
  • Swahili Forum is a peer-reviewed open-access journal which provides a unique platform for research articles on Swahili language, literature as well as on Swahili-speaking cultures and societies in Eastern Africa and the diaspora.
  • Afrikanists Assemble is a Video Podcast produced by Recalibrating Afrikanistik, a collaborative research project of six partnering universities in Europe and Africa. In every monthly episode of Afrikanists Assemble contributors from various academic backgrounds answer a question related to the field of Afrikanistik and African Studies.
  • Shuwari, Haji Gora Haji (2019), edited and translated by Irene Brunotti and Flavia Aiello, with a video project by our students Yann Labry and Jakob Zeyer.

  • Relanguaging Language from a South African Township School, Lara-Stephanie Krause (2021). Using data from a long-term ethnographic study of English language classrooms in a South African township, this book highlights linguistic expertise in a setting where it is not usually expected or sought. Rather than being 'peripheral and unskilled', South African township teachers and learners emerge as skilled (re)languagers central to the workings of South African education, and to our understanding of how language classrooms work. This book foregrounds the heterogeneity, flexibility and creativity of day-to-day language practices that African urban spaces are known for, and conceptualises language teaching not as a progression from one fixed language to another, but as a circular sorting process between linguistic heterogeneity (languaging) and homogeneity (a standard language).  

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