African studies in a multipolar world: is there a European perspective?
Gregor Dobler (Institut für Ethnologie)
Elisio Macamo (University of Basel)
Start time:
28 June, 2013 at 16:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

What is the role of European African studies in a world that becomes increasingly multipolar? Has there ever been a European perspective in African studies; if so, what does it consist of, and what future does it have in a world that gradually leaves the colonial era behind?

Long abstract:

In its fifth international conference, AEGIS is analysing shifts in the global order. Paradoxically, AEGIS looks at these changes as a distinctly European group of institutions - embedded in an international research landscape, but building on often clearly visible national research traditions. This combination calls for reflection: why should there be a European conference on African Studies in a world in which Europe's place becomes increasingly less important? Has there ever been anything like a 'European perspective' in African studies? If so, does a new multicentrism necessarily create new concepts, or can an old model of science maintain its claim to a monopoly of interpretation? The panel, which is organised by the editors of AEGIS' book series, asks for two different types of papers. On the one hand, it looks for contributions that, in a retrospective or analytical view, reflect on distinctive traits of European African studies and their different traditions. On the other, it invites papers that, in a projective way, address the challenges for African Studies connected to the current rebalancing of international relations. Papers may be historical, comparative or conceptual, and may take critical, polemical, affirmative or speculative outlooks. All of them, however, should contribute to a debate about the way knowledge about Africa is created today, and about the place of European social science and social scientists in this.