Members of the Institute are involved in three of the University of Leipzig's "research profile areas": Global Connections and Comparisons, Language and Culture in a Digital Age, Sustainable Systems and Biodiversity.

The research profile area "Global Connections and Comparisons" conducts interdisciplinary research on globalization. Africa has for centuries been part of transregional relationships and hence of global interconnections in the form of new spatial orders, regimes of migration, commodity exchange, urbanization, economic models and the circulation of ideas and technologies. We study these interconnections with regard to their precolonial, colonial and postcolonial conditions. We look at global models and processes and examine the potential and the forms of appropriation and agency on the local and regional levels.

As an institute we participate in:
Centre for Area Studies
• DFG-Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1199 „Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition"
• DFG-Priority Programme SPP 1448 „Adaptation and Creativity in Africa: Technologies and Significations in the Production of Order and Disorder"
Graduate School of Global and Area Studies in the Research Academy Leipzig

The research profile area "Language and Culture in a Digital Age" deals with the application, development and critical analysis of digital technologies and media in the humanities and social sciences, as well as of ways in which language, culture and the transfer of knowledge / cultural transfer in the Digital Age. From the perspective of African Studies there is a need for research in response to the dynamics of digitalization and to the expectations raised thereby, which are predominantly characterized by optimism regarding development and technology.

The Institute is a member of Netzwerk #digitalegegenwart.

The research profile area "Sustainable Systems and Biodiversity" analyses the transformation of energy systems and sustainable approaches to resource biodiversity. Africa is rich in natural resources, but new economic forms must be developed in order to exploit them in a sustainable way. Our interest focuses upon the interaction between humanity and resources.

Through SEPT the Institute is represented in this research profile area.