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Anthropology and Sociology of Sub-Saharan Africa


Admission Requirements

The following categories of students may register for this course:

  • Students enrolled for the bachelor’s programme CADS of Leiden University

  • Students enrolled for bachelor’s programmes of Leiden University

Course Description

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

  • A critical reflection on the concepts used by anthropologists who have been studying Africa

  • Attention for the individual's own positioning when doing research in and about Sub-Saharan Africa

  • 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 postcolonial North-South relations and from both theoretical and practical points of view.

Course Objectives

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 are produced.


For dates, see our website.

Methods of Instruction

10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu):

  • Lectures 13 × 3 = 39 hours * 1,5 = 59 sbu

  • Written assignments, in total 7,500 words = 100 sbu

  • Additional literature to the assignments (830 pages) = 121 sbu

Assessment Method

  • Bi-weekly written assignments of which one may be graded lower than 6,0 (=fail). Failure to submit an assignment will lead to the award of grade 1,0

  • Final assignment

  • Reviews of (online) visits to Research Labs

Registration in uSis

Registration in uSis is required. Once registered for the course, students need not register for an exam because this course has no final classroom exam.

  • The registration closes five days before the start of the course.


Brightspace is the digital learning environment of Leiden University. Brightspace gives access to course announcements and electronic study material. Assignments will also be submitted in Brightspace. Announcements about and changes to courses are given via Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace daily to keep informed about rooms, schedules, deadlines, and all details of assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace.

  • How to login

The homepage for Brightspace is: Brightspace

Please log in with your ULCN-account and personal password. On the left you will see an overview of My Courses.

For access to courses in Brightspace students must be registered for those courses in uSis.

Course Literature

Adichie, Chimamanda N. 2014 Americanah. New York, Anchor Books.

Articles from electronic journals and encyclopaedias are available through the digital university library (to be announced).

Luirink, Bart, and Madeleine Maurick 2015 * Homosexuality in Africa: A Disturbing Love* Soesterberg, Uitgeverij Aspekt.


Dr. Jan Jansen Dr. Sabine Luning Wiebe Ruijtenberg