nl en

The Field of African Studies and Interdisciplinarity Part 1. Aims and results of Africanist research


Admission requirements

Free and compulsory for students enrolled in the ResMA African Studies program and for students of 1-year MA African Studies. Those from other MA programs may be admitted with prior registration (contact coordinator)


The course contrasts the intellectual homogenization of Africa created by colonialism and post-colonial politics with the great diversity of the continent. The course addresses the epistemology of African Studies (construction of knowledge in/on Africa) in a series of related themes that all researchers in Africa need to know: (a) the imagery of Africa in different disciplines and the intertextual relationships with images and discourses in the arts; (b) local forms of knowledge in Africa; © the persistence and history of the dichotomy of the “modern” and the “traditional” (d) the longue durée of the ecology and economy of the African continent; (e) the study of society and environment in Africa and (f) armed conflicts and the state in Africa. These themes will be illustrated on the basis of ongoing and recently completed research.

Course objectives

The course provides students with insights into the various ways Africa was and is looked at throughout time. It makes them familiar with the nature and controversies of African Studies.


Schedule: Mondays: 13.00 – 16.30 ; Thursdays: 11.00 – 15.00

Mode of instruction

Lecture and workshop by students:
The course consists of seven weekly blocks. A block contains a double lecture on the Monday (13.00-16.30 hrs) after which precise assignments are handed out to students. In workshop meetings on Thursdays (11.00-15.00 hrs), the students present their assignment papers. The assignment papers are then revised on the basis of feedback during the presentations and submitted in written form for evaluation.

* The course comprises 10 EC and the total course load is thus 280 hrs * 53 hrs of these will be spent attending lectures and seminars (7 ½ hrs per week x 7 weeks) * 103 hrs to be spent on studying compulsory literature: 90 pages literature per week (~ 7 pages per hour) * 124 hrs research and writing assignment papers

Assessment method

Assessment of weekly submitted essays


Blackboard Available for registered students.

Reading list

Provided during the introduction meeting, a week before classes start and posted on Blackboard


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Students are requested to register for the course and the examination through uSis


Among the instructors listed above, Dr. Harry Wels will be the team leader and he will streamline the link among the various guest lectures and look into the evaluation of students’ papers and make sure they get comprehensive and timely feedback on their essays.

For all other information, contact:

Dr. Azeb Amha
Academic Coordinator
P O Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, NL
Tel. +31-71-527-3364