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Research in Present-day Africa


Admission requirements

This course is for BA African Studies students in their first year.


In this course, students of the BA African Studies will be introduced to the practice of doing research in Africa, and in particular, to how connectivity within and with Africa has been researched by Africanist scholars. Through concrete examples from various fieldworks and literatures, and through practical exercises and assignments, students will learn about interviewing, participant observation, discourse analysis and other methods often applied in contemporary ethnographic research practice, as well as about how to present academic research findings.
The assignments build up to a small, step by step, research project, in which students develop their own project related to the themes of Africa in the world, the world in Africa, or connectivity within and across Africa. Throughout the course, special attention will be given to developing ethnographic sensibilities and to the use of digital, audio-visual tools in research and the presentation of research findings.

Course objectives

Knowledge and insight:
After this course, students will:

  • have become acquainted with various methodological approaches in the field of African studies, particulary ethnography;

  • have gained insight into current debates about and the actual production of academic knowledge about Africa in African Studies;

  • have gained knowledge about specific themes and concepts in research in Africa;

  • have gained knowledge about some of the recent developments in the study of Africa.

  • be able to collect relevant scientific literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques and being able to critically analyse and judge their quality and reliability;

  • be able to use scientific literature to develop a clear, well defined problem statement and research question;

  • be able to carry out a small research project, selecting and using a variety of relevant research methods, being able to explain and justify the selection and use;

  • have practices various ways of analysing research findings;

  • have gained experience in oral presentations using digital/visual tools to support the presentation of research plans and findings;

  • actively participate in in-class academic debates related to research in Africa

  • give and receive constructive feedback


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  • Research proposal and presentation: 15%

  • Active participation and cooperation in class/group: 10%

  • Research assignment and presentation: 75%


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


In case the research plan and presentation or research assignment and presentation are not sufficient, one resit for each of these subtests will be organised.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

The compulsary and recommended list of literature and where to purchase of find it, will be disclosed on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats