Vacancy: PhD (4 yrs) in African Studies with focus on Kenya & either Nigeria or Liberia, University of Bayreuth, Germany

The University of Bayreuth is a research-oriented university with internationally competitive, interdisciplinary focus areas in research and teaching. The Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bayreuth is funded by the Excellence Strategy of the German Federal and State Governments. The Cluster aims to figure out how to reconfigure African Studies. As part of this mission, the interdisciplinary project “African Knowledges and the History Publication since the 1970s,” which makes up one of the Cluster’s Junior Research Groups (JRG), is looking to appoint a doctoral student eager to apply decolonial and intersectional approaches to studying academic publishing, especially its place in shaping
knowledge production and transfer processes.

To suggest an alternative understanding of knowledge production than that typically espoused by academia and publishing industries, and to work against the reproduction of only a narrow slither of knowledge (typically from the Global North) the JRG will implement the use of “publication” in the broadest sense – to refer to historical knowledge being brought to the
public in multiple forms. This reflects the Cluster’s understanding of learning as going beyond formal educational settings such as schools or universities. With this conceptualisation in mind, it will/seeks to theorise the contributions of African and Africa-based scholars to the production
of historical knowledge about Africa. This will include examining dissertations, journal publications, literature but crucially also non-textual histories such as historical documentaries, television shows, and art at and around four institutions in Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya and South
Africa. In doing so, it approaches African and Africa-based knowledges in their multiplicity – as institutional, but also as individual and intergenerational.
Therefore, this particular project will centre the individual African scholar (a citizen of an African nation) as history “publisher.” This includes taking into account the impacts of transnational im/mobility on his/her/their ability to acquire, process, (re-)produced and disseminate knowledge. The aim of this project will be to develop an understanding of the
kinds of contributions made by professional historians representing a mix of ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations and religious backgrounds to African historiography, and to be more specific, to our understanding of the human condition. It will draw examples from scholars attached to Moi University (Kenya) and at least one other institution (e.g. University
of Lagos, Nigeria, or University of Liberia), tracing the various forms of history production they were involved in, examining changes and continuities in time and place. An elevated understanding of Swahili will be required, as well as an interest in digital humanities. English is the working language of the Cluster.
Tags: the localisation of knowledge, “bushfalling,” repatriation, “brain-drain/-gain”, North-South exchanges & collaboration.
Your profile: MA in social anthropology, sociology, literature or related fields required.

Please send application materials (Letter of motivation, full CV, 1- to 2-page research statement) to Dr. Cassandra Mark-Thiesen at by 15 February 2021. Job starting date:
1 July 2021. Questions regarding the position should also be directed to the email address above.

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