Prof. Dr. Rose Marie Beck

Prof. Dr. Rose Marie Beck


Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum
Beethovenstraße 15, Room 2205
04107 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97-37031
Fax: +49 341 97-37048


Professor of African Studies (Languages and Literatures)

Dean of the Faculty of History, Art and Area Studies

Speaker of Deans, Member of Pandemic Crisis Management Team

Award 2010, "KfW-Förderpreis für praxisrelevante Entwicklungsforschung”, category “Exzellenzpreis”

I am interested in PhD candidates with a general interest around the sociology of language, especially postcolonial linguistics, language philosophy, Science & Technology Studies. They are expected to work with empirical data from an ethnographic perspective that takes into account Actor-Network-Theory, Non-Representational Theory, ethnomethodology or praxeology in the fields of urbanity, medicine, verbal and popular art, education, politics, philosophy and science.

Professional career

  • 02/2020 - 10/2022
    Member of Crisis Management Team of Leipzig University
  • 02/2021 - 03/2022
    interim director of the Museum of Musical Instruments of Leipzig University at the Grassi Museum, member of directorate of Grassi Museum
  • 10/2019 - 10/2022
    Speaker of Deans at the Rectorate
  • 04/2018 - 10/2022
    Dean of Faculty of History, Art and Regional Studies
  • since 09/2010
    Professor of Afrikanistik (African Languages and Literatures), Institute of African Studies, Leipzig University.


  • 03/2000 - 07/2008
    Habilitation & Venia Legendi in African Languages, University of Frankfurt.
  • 09/1994 - 02/2000
    Ph.D in African Languages, University of Cologne
  • 04/1986 - 09/1993
    M.A. African Languages, German Languages and Literatures (Germanistik), Education Studies, University of Cologne.

Prof. Dr. Rose Marie Beck is a linguistic anthropologist with interests in the sociology of knowledge practices and postcolonial linguistics. She has extensively published on “speaking objects” (PhD 2001) and media in popular culture, HIV/AIDS prevention in Eastern Africa, on urban languages, language and development and language philosophy. Her research interests have progressed from interaction and conversation analysis to ethnomethodology, to praxeology and more recently to postdisciplinary approaches such as Science and Technology Studies, Actor Network Theory, Nonrepresentational Theory and Posthumanist Theories. Regionally she focuses on Eastern Africa and Swahili, Herero (Namibia), but has also interests in Central and Southern Africa.

Particularly she is interested in the "invention" of language and the ideas and practices that are inherent in the notion of language itself. This interest materializes in the project Recalibrating Afrikanistik (2019-2026, Volkswagen Foundation "World Knowledge - Rare Subjects") that aims at opening the discipline of Afrikanistik, the study of languages and literatures originating in colonial times, towards the Area Studies.

The research project "Doing the City - Sociospatial navigation in Urban Africa" looks at urban practices of knowledge practices and knowability of cities. The aim is to contribute to urban theory "from the South".

  • Recalibrating Afrikanistik (RecAf)
    Beck, Rose Marie
    Duration: 10/2019 - 09/2027
    Funded by: Stiftungen Inland
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Afrikanistik; Graduiertenzentrum Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften
    show details
  • Doing the City. Socio Spatial Navigation in Urban Africa
    Beck, Rose Marie
    Duration: 11/2017 - 10/2020
    Funded by: DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Afrikanistik
    show details

more projects

  • Beck, R. M.
    2016. Tusidanganyane - let's not fool ourselves! Knowledge production and HIV prevention in Nairobi (Kenya)
    Sociolinguistic Studies. 2016. 10 (1). pp. 15-43
    show details
  • Beck, R. M.
    Language as Apparatus: Entanglements of Language, Culture and Territory and the Invention of Nation and Ethnicity.
    Postcolonial Studies. 2018. 21 (2). pp. 1-24
    show details
  • Beck, R. M.
    "Deep Language" Crossing Borders
    In: Beck, R. M.; Kai, K. (Eds.)
    Abdilatif Abdalla : Poet in Politics. Tanzania: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers. 2015. pp. 3-10
    show details
  • Beck, R. M.
    Sorting Wire Spaghetti in Zanzibar Stone Town
    In: Pellow, D.; Scheld, S. (Eds.)
    Africa and Urban Anthropology. Theoretical and Methodological Contributions from Contemporary Fieldwork. Milton Park & New York: Routledge. 2022. pp. 321-339
    show details
  • Beck, R. M.
    Über Restitution: Die Brücke (2019)
    show details

more publications

  • Publikationspreis: KfW-Förderpreis für praxisrelevante Entwicklungsforschung 2010, Kategorie Exzellenzpreis
    Beck, Rose Marie (Afrikanistik)
    awarded in 2010 by Verein für Socialpolitik, KfW.
    show details

more awards

  • Current Courses

    Introduction to African Studies (BA 03-AFR-1100, MA 03-AFR-1711)

    Postcolonial Theory, Theory from the South (03-AFR-1302)

    Culture and Technology (03-AFR-1605, 03-AFR-2109)

    Urban Africa (03-AFR-2112)

    MA- and doctoral colloquia

    Research Colloquium of the Institute of African Studies

  • Past Courses

    2020: Winterschool "Postcolonial Debates: Politics of Knowledge Practices in and around African Languages and Literatures" ("Recalibrating Afrikanistik")

    2018: Achille Mbembe's Critique of Black Reason (03-AFR-1711)

    2017: Summerschool "Seeing the self through the lens of the other" (StiL, Universität Leipzig)

    2016 Knowledge production in times of Ebola

    2016 Multilingualism (University of Stellenbosch)

    2014 Discourses about HIV/AIDS in Africa

  • Other Topics

    Introduction to African Languages

    Urban Languages in Africa


    Popular Culture and Verbal Art

    Performance & Performativity

    Science & Technology

    Knowledge production