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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 BA “Culturele antropologie en ontwikkelingssociologie” at Leiden University, including the pre-master students of CA-OS

  • 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 explicitly admitted to this course

  • Contract-students
    See below the actual registration procedure per category.

Course Description

This course consists of weekly thematic lectures connected to 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 one's own positioning when doing research in and about the 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 the post-colonial North-South relations and from both theoretical and practical point of view.

Learning outcomes

After finishing this course the students will have a deeper anthropological and sociological insight in both historical and contemporary forms of tradition and modernity in Africa, and the local, national, and global connections within which this takes place.

Time table

Dates and room numbers can be found on our website, under "2e Jaar, Hoorcolleges S2".

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 two of which may be graded lower than 6,0 (=fail). Not submitting an assignment means getting a grade 1,0

  • Active class participation: presence at min.10 of the 12 lectures. Missing a lecture more than 2 times will result in the reduction of 0.25 from the final grade; missing the excursion will result in reduction of 0.5 from the final grade

Only the final grade gets 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

The reading list will be made available upon the start of the course through Blackboard.


Students who have been granted admission must register for this course on Blackboard where they will be able to access the syllabus and to make assignments. Blackboard module will be open for enrollment 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 through uSis because this course does not have one final (classical) exam.

  • Exchange students who have officially been admitted to this course during their Admission Procedure, will be registered in Usis by the faculty-administration.

  • 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