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Studiegids

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Researching Africa in the 21st Century

Vak
2020-2021

Admission requirements

Students of the MA African Studies. Others after consultations with the instructor.

Description

African studies is a multi- and inter-disciplinary field of knowledge production. This means that students have to learn different “languages” of doing research that are accompanied by different methods and methodologies. In this course we will discuss these languages and especially see how we apply them to understand a problem, or an object of study. In our curriculum we aim at some acquaintance with the following disciplines: History, Politics, Economics, Geography, Culture Studies, Linguistics and Anthropology.
Each discipline has its methodology and methods, so it is important for an Africanist to understand the various methods of the other disciplines and to be able to work with them. In this course we will introduce mixed methods and especially discuss the implication of methodological choices for the formulation of research and choices for theory and methods, and hence the ‘data’ that are gathered and form the ‘corpus’ for the research outcomes.

The research environment has changed with the advancement of the digital. First of all the digital has transformed the ‘field’. The digital and physical spaces are an integrated part of many lifeworlds and we cannot separate these. This has implications for the way we see and interpret the world (methodology and theory) and the way we approach the world as researchers (methods). The tools to do research have expanded with easy audio, photo and video; computer, i-pads etc. make text also a different experience than a pen and paper. The field has expanded to digital archives, big data, social media, etc.

In this course we will give attention to:
1. What are the disciplinary approaches that are used in multi- and inter-disciplinarity and how does this work in practice; What are the epistemological puzzles? How do these approaches change in the digital?
2. What is the field in Africanist research combining the physical and the digital spaces?
3. What is mixed methods, which (digital) techniques go with it? How does method go with types of data? How do digital and non-digital data relate?

This course will discuss: methods, ethical questions, understanding epistemology in relation to a world that increasingly virtualizes/digitizes. We will discuss the process of research and the relation between research questions- data- fieldwork- mixed methods- written and visualized texts. The form of this part of the course will be partly lectures and partly has a seminar structure. Students are expected to have an active and participatory attitude.

Course objectives

Knowledge and understanding

Upon successful completion of this course, the student has obtained:

a. Africa studies and interdisciplinarity and epistemologies that go with it

b. Knowledge of societal relevance

c. Knowledge of multi- and interdisciplinary research

d. Knowledge of digital skills and digital learning environment

Applying knowledge and understanding

e. The ability to apply knowledge, insights, concepts and research methods relevant in

Upon successful completion of this course, the student has obtained:

Knowledge and understanding:

a. Africa studies and interdisciplinarity and epistemologies that go with it
b. Knowledge of societal relevance
c. Knowledge of multi- and interdisciplinary research
d. Knowledge of digital skills and digital learning environment

Applying knowledge and understanding

e. The ability to apply knowledge, insights, concepts and research methods relevant in African Studies in independent research

Ability to formulate judgements

f. Take into account social and cultural, academic and ethical aspects relevant to the analysis of complex questions and the formulation of judgements.
g. Reflect on methodological, historical and ethical-social aspects of African Studies.

Communication skills

h. Oral skills to clearly communicate the outcomes
i. Written skills to clearly communicate the outcomes
j. Visual skills to clearly communicate the outcomes

Learning skills

k. Has the learning skills to continue further study at a professional level / start a PhD
l. Is able and aware of the necessity to keep abreast of relevant developments in the academic and practitioners’ field.
m. Is able to assess where his/her own research/work can contribute to academic or practitioners’ fields.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the website of the MA African Studies ResMA African Studies

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

  • Practical skills training

  • Data collection

Assessment method

Reading and summary of literature, oral (in class): (10%)
Presentation of assignments (in multi-media product) (40%)
And the reflective paper (individual) that goes with this: (30%)
Active participation (20%)

Exam review

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

Will follow; the reading for the course will be put on blackboard three weeks before the course starts

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Prof. M.E. de Bruijn

Coördinator of studies: D.Y.M.Wackers

Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats

Remarks

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