nl en

Anthropology and Sociology of Sub-Saharan Africa


Admission requirements

The following categories of students may register for this course:

  • Students enrolled for BA “Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology” at Leiden University, including the CA-OS Pre-Master’s students

  • Students enrolled for the Minor CA-OS

  • Students enrolled for BA programmes of Leiden University

  • Erasmus Exchange students and Study Abroad students who have been expressly admitted to this course

  • Contract-students

See below for the correct registration procedure per category.

Course Description

This course consists of weekly thematic lectures connected with the literature from the reading list. The lectures and literature have been organised around three main themes:

  1. a critical reflection on the concepts used by anthropologists who have been studying Africa;
  2. attention for the individual's own positioning when doing research in and about Sub-Saharan Africa;
  3. a critical examination of the ideas and processes through which "aid" and "development" have been constructed and claimed.

These topics are tackled in the context of post-colonial North-South relations and from both theoretical and practical points of view.

Learning outcomes

Students who complete this course will have a deeper anthropological and sociological insight into both historical and contemporary forms of tradition and modernity in Africa, and the local, national, and global connections within which they take place.

Time table

Dates and room numbers can be found on our website, under "2e Jaar, Semester 2, Hoorcolleges".

Methods of instruction

10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu):

  • Lectures 12 × 3 hours (54 sbu)

  • Excursion 1 × 3 hours (4,5 sbu)

  • weekly assignments, in total 6000 words (80 sbu)

  • literature as part of the assignments 840 pp (140 sbu).


  • Weekly written assignments of which no more than two may be graded lower than 6,0 (=fail). Failure to submit an assignment will lead to the award of grade 1,0

  • Active participation in class: Students must attend no fewer than10 of the 12 lectures. Failure to attend lectures on more than two occasions will result in subtraction of 0.25 from the final grade awarded. Failure to join the excursion will result in subtraction of 0.5 from the final grade awarded.

Only the final grade will be registered in Usis.

Exam registration

Students do not need to register for the exam through uSis because this course does not have one final (classical) exam.

Study material

Books (for sale at Itiwana) ▪ Adichie, C.N. (2014) Americanah (New York, Anchor Books). ▪ Ellis, S. (2012) Season of Rains. Africa in the World (London, Hurst & Co Publishers) ▪ Ferguson, J. (2006) Global Shadows – Africa in the Neoliberal World Order (Durham, Duke University Press).

Recommended: ▪ Luirink, B. & Maurick, M. (2015) Homosexuality in Africa: A Disturbing Love. (Soesterberg, Uitgeverij Aspekt).


Students granted admission to this course must register for it on Blackboard where they will find the syllabus and assignments. The Blackboard module will be open for enrolment 2 weeks before the start of the course.


  • Registration in Usis is obligatory for the lectures (H) for all participants. Please consult the course registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions. Students do not need to register for the exam because this course does not have one final (classical) exam.

  • Exchange students officially admitted to this course by the Admission procedure will be registered in Usis by faculty’s administrative department.

  • Those interested in following this course as a contract student should apply following the procedure described on the website of the Faculty of Social Sciences: English version or Dutch version


Dr. Sabine Luning Merel van 't Wout MA