Sub-Saharan Africa

The Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University has researchers with expertise in various countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa - Global

Prof. Peter Pels (1958) is professor in the anthropology of sub-Saharan Africa at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University. In 1993 he graduated in social anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, on a study of Catholicism in East Africa. Between 1995 and 2003 he worked at the Research Centre Religion and Society of the University of Amsterdam. Peter Pels is one of the coordinators of the research profile Global Interactions of of Civilizations and Languages.

He is a specialist in the study of religion and politics in situations of colonial contact, the history of anthropology, the anthropology of magic, and social science ethics. He was the editor-in-chief of Social Anthropology / Anthropologie sociale, the journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, between 2003 and 2007.

He supervises research on religion and cyberculture, the comparative study of images of the future, colonial photography and cinematic representation, water conservation and natural heritage, brand advertising and nationalism, and is an advisor on religion and materiality to the Çatalhöyük Research Project, led by world-leading archaeologist Ian Hodder, since 2007.

He is currently finishing a book entitled The Spirit of Matter. Religion, Modernity and the Power of Objects, and supervises a research project financed by the Dutch National Research Foundation entitled “The Future is Elsewhere: Towards a Comparative History of the Futurities of the Digital ®evolution” (2010-2014).

Keywords: Global Politics, Ethics, Religion and Magic, History of Anthropology, Colonial History, Anthropology of the Future, Global Africa, Tanzania


Benin

Dr. José van Santen is Senior Lecturer and Researcher. She did her PhD research (1986-1988) on processes of Islamisation in West Africa in general and Cameroon in particular. She has followed the ongoing processes of fundamentalism and its implications for the construction of gender. Her research in the NWO project ‘Islam in Africa, moving frontiers’, examines the way Muslims, both leaders and followers, are engaged in the re-construction of their identities in the context of dissimilar forms of globalization and modernization.

José van Santen pays special attention to the process of re-construction of youth identities. Recent publications concern issues about the moral discourse and the construction of Islamic identities in local, national and transnational perspectives. Due to the link between Islam and the ethnic identity of the cattle-keeping Islamic Fulani (Fulbe) in Cameroon, she has been intrigued by the relationships and/or clashes (often related to access to resources) between agriculturalists and cattle-keepers/nomads in relation to religion and political processes.

José van Santen was previously joint director of CNWS (PhD school of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies) scientific Director at the Centre of Environment and Development of the University of Dschang, antenne de Maroua, in Cameroon and she remains involved in issues concerning ‘Developmentalism’ and the Environment.

With her NWO research on 'Islam in Africa, moving frontiers' (2006-2009) she was part of the NWO programme 'The future of the religious past'. She was a NIAS/KNAW-fellow (Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences) from 2011 till 2012.

Keywords: Islam, Globalization, Gender, Ethnic and Religious Identity, migration, landaccess, West Africa

Burkino Faso

Dr. Sabine Luning's PhD research dealt with the social dynamics of ritual practices in Burkina Faso, a topic at the crossroads of religious ideas, politics and social identities. She continued studying the contemporary situation of chiefs as well as local perceptions of the natural environment In particular how these are shaped in wider social arenas such as national elections and development projects. Ever since her first professional experience as anthropologist in a large DGIS project, she has retained an interest in the social relations, power dynamics and organizational culture of development initiatives.

Mining
Her current research focuses on economic anthropology, in particular the booming business of goldmining in West Africa. Sabine Luning investigates interactions between (representatives of) multilateral organizations, the state, international companies, national entrepreneurs, artisanal miners and local communities as well as the moral discourses that accompany and shape these interactions. Her research is part of the VIDI project I.C.E. in Africa: the relationship between people and the Internal Combustion Engine in Africa, headed by Jan-Bart Gewald.

Keywords: value of gold, resource politics, relations between autochthones and (international) migrants, religious ideas, economics, landtitles, miners and mining companies, corporate social responsibility.  

Cameroon

  • Prof Gerard Persoon holds the IIAS chair for Environment and Development in particular in relation to indigenous peoples in Southeast Asia. He has a background in anthropology and environmental science. His research focus is on human-environment interaction in various types of environments but mainly of forest-dwelling peoples in Indonesia and the Philippines. He has been involved in numerous research and training projects in the Southeast Asian region and he has also been involved in nature conservation projects. He has published on development processes among indigenous peoples, co-management and conservation of natural resources, and issues related to island societies.

    PhD research projects that are supervised by him include the role of indigenous peoples in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management in Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan, the exploitation of non-timber forest products, the management of marine and inland fisheries, and the modernization of pastoralism. He is a member of the Dutch governmental committee for sustainable timber and a number a other organizations in the field of environment and development.

    Keywords: Environmental anthropology, nature conservation, human-environment interactions, natural resources management.
  • is Senior Lecturer and Researcher. She did her PhD research (1986-1988) on processes of Islamisation in West Africa in general and Cameroon in particular. She has followed the ongoing processes of fundamentalism and its implications for the construction of gender. Her research in the NWO project ‘Islam in Africa, moving frontiers’, examines the way Muslims, both leaders and followers, are engaged in the re-construction of their identities in the context of dissimilar forms of globalization and modernization.

    José van Santen pays special attention to the process of re-construction of youth identities. Recent publications concern issues about the moral discourse and the construction of Islamic identities in local, national and transnational perspectives. Due to the link between Islam and the ethnic identity of the cattle-keeping Islamic Fulani (Fulbe) in Cameroon, she has been intrigued by the relationships and/or clashes (often related to access to resources) between agriculturalists and cattle-keepers/nomads in relation to religion and political processes.

    José van Santen was previously joint director of CNWS (PhD school of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies) scientific Director at the Centre of Environment and Development of the University of Dschang, antenne de Maroua, in Cameroon and she remains involved in issues concerning ‘Developmentalism’ and the Environment.

    With her NWO research on 'Islam in Africa, moving frontiers' (2006-2009) she was part of the NWO programme 'The future of the religious past'. She was a NIAS/KNAW-fellow (Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences) from 2011 till 2012.

    Keywords: Islam, Globalization, Gender, Ethnic and Religious Identity, migration, landaccess, West Africa

Gambia

Dr. Jan Jansen (1962, PhD Leiden 1995) has a special interest in oral tradition in Sub-Sahara Africa. He conducted extensive fieldwork in the region southwest of Mali's capital Bamako. Jan Jansen’s anthropological studies focus on the relationship between historical discourses and local politics.

He has published extensively on the history of the Mali Empire and on local systems of education by apprenticeship. He has produced - often in collaboration with Malian scholars and local male elites - numerous text editions of oral history accounts.

Jan Jansen’s current research projects focus on the eighteenth century political history of the West African Sudan and on the epistemological and methodological consequences of applying new recording and documentation technology.

Since 2010 Jan Jansen is (managing) editor of History in Africa - A Journal of Method (published by the African Studies Association). He is a founding editor of African Sources for African History (published by Brill, Leiden) and Mande Worlds (published by LIT Verlag, Munster/Hamburg).

Keywords: Oral history, education, local politics, gender, Africa

Guinea

Dr. Jan Jansen (1962, PhD Leiden 1995) has a special interest in oral tradition in Sub-Sahara Africa. He conducted extensive fieldwork in the region southwest of Mali's capital Bamako. Jan Jansen’s anthropological studies focus on the relationship between historical discourses and local politics.

He has published extensively on the history of the Mali Empire and on local systems of education by apprenticeship. He has produced - often in collaboration with Malian scholars and local male elites - numerous text editions of oral history accounts.

Jan Jansen’s current research projects focus on the eighteenth century political history of the West African Sudan and on the epistemological and methodological consequences of applying new recording and documentation technology.

Since 2010 Jan Jansen is (managing) editor of History in Africa - A Journal of Method (published by the African Studies Association). He is a founding editor of African Sources for African History (published by Brill, Leiden) and Mande Worlds (published by LIT Verlag, Munster/Hamburg).

Keywords: Oral history, education, local politics, gender, Africa

Mali

Dr. Jan Jansen (1962, PhD Leiden 1995) has a special interest in oral tradition in Sub-Sahara Africa. He conducted extensive fieldwork in the region southwest of Mali's capital Bamako. Jan Jansen’s anthropological studies focus on the relationship between historical discourses and local politics.

He has published extensively on the history of the Mali Empire and on local systems of education by apprenticeship. He has produced - often in collaboration with Malian scholars and local male elites - numerous text editions of oral history accounts.

Jan Jansen’s current research projects focus on the eighteenth century political history of the West African Sudan and on the epistemological and methodological consequences of applying new recording and documentation technology.

Since 2010 Jan Jansen is (managing) editor of History in Africa - A Journal of Method (published by the African Studies Association). He is a founding editor of African Sources for African History (published by Brill, Leiden) and Mande Worlds (published by LIT Verlag, Munster/Hamburg). 

Keywords: Oral history, education, local politics, gender, Africa

Senegal

Dr. José van Santen is Senior Lecturer and Researcher. She did her PhD research (1986-1988) on processes of Islamisation in West Africa in general and Cameroon in particular. She has followed the ongoing processes of fundamentalism and its implications for the construction of gender. Her research in the NWO project ‘Islam in Africa, moving frontiers’, examines the way Muslims, both leaders and followers, are engaged in the re-construction of their identities in the context of dissimilar forms of globalization and modernization.

José van Santen pays special attention to the process of re-construction of youth identities. Recent publications concern issues about the moral discourse and the construction of Islamic identities in local, national and transnational perspectives. Due to the link between Islam and the ethnic identity of the cattle-keeping Islamic Fulani (Fulbe) in Cameroon, she has been intrigued by the relationships and/or clashes (often related to access to resources) between agriculturalists and cattle-keepers/nomads in relation to religion and political processes.

José van Santen was previously joint director of CNWS (PhD school of Asian, African and Amerindian Studies) scientific Director at the Centre of Environment and Development of the University of Dschang, antenne de Maroua, in Cameroon and she remains involved in issues concerning ‘Developmentalism’ and the Environment.

With her NWO research on 'Islam in Africa, moving frontiers' (2006-2009) she was part of the NWO programme 'The future of the religious past'. She was a NIAS/KNAW-fellow (Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences) from 2011 till 2012.

Keywords: Islam, Globalization, Gender, Ethnic and Religious Identity, migration, landaccess, West Africa

South Africa

Dr. Erik Bähre is an economic anthropologist specialized in South Africa. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork, as well as conducted surveys, in the townships and squatter settlements of Cape Town. His main research interest is how dramatic economic changes affect social relations, and particularly why they cause particular tensions within households, among kin and neighbours. He has done research on financial mutuals among neighbours and migrants, on the provision of commercial insurances, social grants, and entrepreneurship.

In 2002 Erik Bähre completed his PhD at the ASSR (now AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam. He has worked at the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu Natal) (1999-2000), University College Utrecht (2002-2005) and at the University of Amsterdam (2004-2007). He was researcher at the department of anthropology at the London School for Economics and Political Science, taking part in a Economic and Social Research Council funded research project on economic change in South Africa. He has been awarded a KNAW NIAS fellowship that enables him to write a monograph manuscript on insurances in South Africa (2011-2012).

Keywords: Economic anthropology, conflict, emotions, methodology, emerging markets, Netherlands, South Africa

Tanzania

Prof. Peter Pels (1958) is professor in the anthropology of sub-Saharan Africa at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University. In 1993 he graduated in social anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, on a study of Catholicism in East Africa. Between 1995 and 2003 he worked at the Research Centre Religion and Society of the University of Amsterdam. Peter Pels is one of the coordinators of the research profile Global Interactions of of Civilizations and Languages.

He is a specialist in the study of religion and politics in situations of colonial contact, the history of anthropology, the anthropology of magic, and social science ethics. He was the editor-in-chief of Social Anthropology / Anthropologie sociale, the journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, between 2003 and 2007.

He supervises research on religion and cyberculture, the comparative study of images of the future, colonial photography and cinematic representation, water conservation and natural heritage, brand advertising and nationalism, and is an advisor on religion and materiality to the Çatalhöyük Research Project, led by world-leading archaeologist Ian Hodder, since 2007.

He is currently finishing a book entitled The Spirit of Matter. Religion, Modernity and the Power of Objects, and supervises a research project financed by the Dutch National Research Foundation entitled “The Future is Elsewhere: Towards a Comparative History of the Futurities of the Digital ®evolution” (2010-2014).

Keywords: Global Politics, Ethics, Religion and Magic, History of Anthropology, Colonial History, Anthropology of the Future, Global Africa, Tanzania

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