African Studies


"Africanology" & "African Studies"
During the founding of the university in 1975, the Structural Advisory Board included "Africanology" as a regional studies focus in the constitution of the university. Since then the name "African Studies" has become established to refer to this focus. The term "Africanology" has been preserved in the name of the "Africanology post-graduate and part-time programme“.

The Mission Statement of the University of Bayreuth refers to African Studies as one of the cross-discipline research priorities of the university.

The special focus on African Studies (formerly: Africanology) has been continuously expanded and developed in four of the six faculties since the founding of the university:
1984 – 1997:
SFB 214 "Identity in Africa"
Interdisciplinary cooperation between different subjects culminated in the setting up in 1984 of the collaborative research centre SFB 214 "Identity in Africa – Processes of Its Development and Change". This successful SFB was funded by the DFG for the maximum period of 13 years (1984 – 1997).
Founding of the IAS
During the term of SFB 214, the Institute of African Studies (IAS) was founded on 18 May 1990 by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts as a central academic institution of the University of Bayreuth.
Interdisciplinary Africa-related research, teaching and support for junior researchers have continued since then in many different ways.
1991 – 1999:
Graduate research group "Intercultural Relations in Africa"
First there was the graduate research group "Intercultural Relations in Africa" which ran from 1991 to 1999, thus benefitting from  the maximum funding period.
1992/93 - 2003/04
Management of the African Law Society
From 1992/93 to 2003/04 the African Law Society was managed and organized from Bayreuth.
Since 1993:
Swahili Colloquium
The Swahili Colloquium is organized by African Linguistics and has taken place in Bayreuth every year since 1993. It is the most important forum for international Swahili research.
1995-2004: Graduate research group "Rural Regional Development in Maghreb" The graduate research group "Rural Regional Development in Maghreb", under the auspices of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ),  was also very successful: it was run jointly by the Universities of Rabat (Morocco) and Bayreuth from 1995-2004 and provided practical solutions for space-related planning projects.
1995 – 2002:
Several Bayreuth research projects represented African Studies in the Bavarian Research Forum for Area Studies (FORAREA, 1995 – 2002).
1999: Founding of ZENEB In 1999 the "Centre for Development and Natural Risks“ (ZENEB) was founded.
2000-2004: University Development Plan confirms position of Africa-related research

The University Development Plan 2000-04 confirms the high synergy effects achieved by the African Studies research priority (subsection 8.1.):

 "Since its founding, the University of Bayreuth has officially laid special emphasis on Africanology in research and teaching, both within disciplines and across disciplines, understood as the study of structures and processes in Africa. The research priority encourages investigation of the interrelation and correlation of various factors such as ecology, geography, religion, language, literature, history, law, economic development and social structure, related to the situation and problems in African countries. In the understanding of the University of Bayreuth, Africanology includes all Africa-related research and training activities carried out within different academic disciplines and also across disciplines through cooperative projects. Africa-related research at the University of Bayreuth thus includes both pure and applied interdisciplinary research. High synergy effects are achieved by cooperation between scholars from different disciplines working in a common region of Africa.“

Since 2000: SFB/FK 560 The collaborative research centre / cultural research school SFB/FK 560 "Local Action in Africa in the Context of Global Influences" has existed since the year 2000.
Since 2001: BA and MA degree programmes BA degree programmes in "Applied African Studies“, have been offered since the winter semester 2001/02, and shortly afterwards the corresponding MA programmes were also introduced.
March 2005 The Mittelstrass Commission rated Africa-related research at the University of Bayreuth as excellent.
January 2007 The University of Bayreuth's application for the second round of the Initiative for Excellence of the Federal Government and the Länder has achieved a first success, opening up good prospects for the future: it is possible that the Bayreuth application for an international graduate school in African Studies may qualify for the attractive grants offered by the Initiative for Excellence.
October 2007 The application of the "Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies" (BIGSAS) was accepted in the Second Round of the Excellence Initiative.
June 2012 The application of the "Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies" (BIGSAS) was accepted for another five years.
October 2012 The Bayreuth Academy of Advanced Studies (funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) is founded and begins working on its first project "Future Africa".