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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.


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 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 on the next Monday.

Course Load

  • The course comprises 10 EC and the total course load is thus 280 hrs

  • 52 hrs of these will be spent attending lectures and seminars (7 ½ hrs per week x 7 weeks)

  • 100 hrs to be spent on studying compulsory literature: 90 pages literature per week

  • 118 hrs research and writing assignment papers

  • 6 hrs will be spent in group feedback sessions on assignment presentation

  • 4 hrs will be spent on mentor classes

Assessment method

Assessment of submitted essays


Yes. Available for registered students.

This course is supported by Blackboard. Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course. Please see:

Reading list

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


Enrollment through uSis for the course and the examination or paper is mandatory.

Prospective students, please check the Study Abroad/Exchange website
for information on how to apply.


Among the instructors listed above, one will be the course instructor and s/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