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One million euros in funding for African Studies: University of Cologne is partner in collaborative project

Project ‘Recalibrating Afrikanistik’ wants to thematically and strategically rethink African Studies

In the framework of the collaborative project entitled ‘Recalibrating Afrikanistik’, scholars from various universities want to further develop their subject. The VolkswagenFoundation granted the project with one million euros in funding over the next seven years as part of its “World Knowledge” initiative. The project aims to critically reflect African Studies, integrate neighbouring disciplines and make scholarship on Africa accessible through linguistics.

African Studies are regarded as a so-called ‘small subject’ and have remained an essentially linguistic discipline to this day. ‘One important concern is to communicate more clearly that the many different ways of thinking about language that exist alongside academic linguistics are also important ways of making sense of the world and our actions’, says Professor Anne Storch from the University of Cologne. She initiated the project together with her colleagues Rose Marie Beck (University of Leipzig) und Clarissa Vierke (University of Bayreuth).

‘We want to develop what all this can mean together with scholarship holders from Germany and African countries. We will also host winter and summer schools together’, adds Marie Beck. ‘Our agenda moreover responds to the wishes of many students and early-career researchers in Germany and Africa. They often lament that the existing degree programmes and teaching formats do not adequately address their interests in African life worlds or include perspectives critical of the academic status quo. Besides the three German universities in Leipzig, Bayreuth and Cologne, three African universities are involved in the project: in Stellenbosch (Südafrika), Eldoret (Kenia) und Wukari (Nigeria). The universities in Wukari and Cologne have collaborated closely since 2012, particularly in Cologne’s Global South Studies Center.

More information:

Media Contact:
Professor Dr. Anne Storch
Institute for African Studies and Egyptology
+49 221 470-3504

Press and Communications Team:
Mathias Martin
+49 221 470-1705