Departmental Bulletin Paper African Studies between Area Studies Tradition and Global Entanglement Approaches: Perspectives from The University of Cologne

GREINER, Clemens  ,  BOLLIG, Michael

54pp.15 - 28 , 2018-03 , The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
In the face of growing global interconnections, entanglements and conflicts as well as increasing awareness that such inter-continental linkages have considerable historical depth, African Studies—as well as other Area Studies—have increasingly come under pressure to re-contextualise their academic agenda as well as their place within their host institutions and the wider academic landscape. In Germany, African Studies encounter such challenges in a period in which comprehensive funding for Area Studies is available in highly competitive processes necessitating collaborations between area specialists, humanities scholars and more theoretically orientated social scientists. The key challenge is thus to maintain and develop strong regional expertise without neglecting a comparative and theoretically ambitious agenda. The University of Cologne has reacted to these challenges by establishing the Global South Studies Center (GSSC), an organisational framework that merges research from classical area studies disciplines and from the social sciences and humanities to open up new alleys for crossareal and interdisciplinary collaboration, and facilitates public outreach to a variety of audiences.This article traces the establishment of this new organisational unit, its potential and the challenges it faces in giving special attention to African Area Studies.

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