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Theories and the Empirical in African Studies


Admission requirements

Free and compulsory for students enrolled in the RESMAAS program. Those from other MA programs may be admitted with prior registration (contact coordinator)


In this stage of the programme of the research masters the students have to prepare their theoretical orientation for their research. In order to facilitate their choices, but also to ‘discover’ what theory is the students will be introduced to the conceptual/ theoretical considerations and choices of various senior researchers. How did they relate to theory while developing their research? What were guiding theories and concepts for them? And how did they work for them during the analysis or even the data gathering. This should however be linked to more general literature on the concepts.

Course objectives

Students will learn how theoretical insights can be integrated to their field research. The course is designed to deepen each student’s understanding of Africa, and simultaneously to provide a forum in which the development of his/her research topic can be furthered. By the end of the course, each student should be able to begin writing a full proposal, and should therefore have both decided on the topic and mastered the most important literature on the subject.


African Studies research

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Four assignment papers

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.


Available for registered students. Blackboard

Reading list

Provided on the first meeting of class and posted on Blackboard


Enrolment through uSis for the course and the examination or paper is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply


Jan Bart Gewald

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies: Else van Dijk