The Bayreuth Academy of African Studies provides a framework for ground-breaking research projects into major themes of current interest. This research can take part in and shape inter-disciplinary, multi-national debates.

Researching the Future - Visions in Time

The Academy allows research into Africa and the African diaspora to enter a scientific dialogue with other fields of study. Through this, African studies show that they are able to provide substantial impulses for inter-disciplinary scholarly debates beyond the so-called Area Studies. At the same time, Africa itself is an object of study in regards to its global context, the relations to its diasporas as well as with other regions and histories of the world. The Bayreuth Academy emphasizes the fact that Area Studies are always doing systematic work as well, in the same way that the so-called systematic disciplines need to find their empiric material in certain regions. The main research focus of the Bayreuth Academy are Cultural and Social Sciences, but it is open for other disciplines as well. Its work is inter-disciplinary and focuses on one overarching project for a period of several years. During its first phase, from 2012 – 2016, its main project will be “Future Africa – Visions in Time”.

Structured yet creative - avenues of research

The Bayreuth Academy is conducting its own research towards its main goal. This research is divided into several sub-projects. These are led by University professors of different scientific or regional backgrounds, but mostly conducted by post-docs, who use disciplinary and trans-disciplinary methods. The research conducted in this way is the foundation of the Working Groups, which are formed for one semester each and allow a forum for debates about the main topic. The fellows of the Working Groups mostly are members of the sub-projects, but also include invited guest fellows from local, national and international backgrounds. The first Working Group in the sommer semester of 2013 made an appraisal of new debates about the topic of “Future” from a variety of regional and systematic angles. It asked about the possible contribution towards these debates by Africa-focused research. Through invitations to the working groups as well as to the series of lectures, workshops and conferences conducted by the sub projects and working groups, the Bayreuth Academy is making an important contribution towards a closer interconnectedness in the African-focused studies of the University of Bayreuth, as well as with other fields of study, research facilities and projects both within the University and outside of it. The results of this type of networking will be visible in research findings and contributions to debates. They will also lead to more third-party funded initiatives in the Academy’s environment.

Graphik Structures and Activities

Another essential aim of the Academy is a kind of broadcasting of its research findings into the fields of cultural work, public relations, as well as the broader public and politics. Workshops, roundtables, readings, film screenings and exhibitions will serve as fora for a dialogue with actors from the fields of politics, the economy and culture. The Bayreuth Academy sees itself as a sort of “research workshop” with an international, national and local impact, whose results spring from a continuous dialogue between sub-projects, working groups and their respective environments.