The Institute

100 years of scientific study of Africa in Leipzig led to the establishment of the Insitute of African Studies. From the very beginning, Leipzig’s research on Africa was characterised by multi-disciplinarity.

Still today, African Studies in Leipzig is follwoing a broad understanding of area studies. In order to understand the continent’s cultural, historical, political, social and linguistic conditions in the present and past (with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa), Leipzig African Studies privileges a combination of humanities and the social sciences. Thus, teaching and research at the Institute of African Studies is made up of three fields:

• African Languages and Literatures
• History and Culture in Africa
Society, Politics and Economy

A fourth field of work is constituted by the practical and theoretical learning of an African language.

Furthermore, the international research and training programme SEPT - Small Enterprise Promotion and Training is part of the Institute of African Studies.

Courses of Study

The University of Leipzig’s interdisciplinary spectrum is mirrored by the Bachelor’s programme “Afrikastudien” (African Studies) as well as by the Master’s course “African Studies”. The Insitute’s syllabus also omprises the international MBA programme SEPT - Small Enterprise Promotion and Training.

Furthermore, the Institute collaborates closely with the European Master “Global Studies” and the DFG graduate research training group 1261 “Critical Junctures of Globalisation” as well as with the international PhD programme (IPP) “Transnationalisation and Regionalisation”.  


The Institute has a number of close cooperation partners. In Germany this includes the Max-Planck-Insitutes (MPI) in the Halle/Leipzig area: the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology and the MPI of Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences as well as the MPI for Social Anthropology; and in Africa this includes, inter alia, the universities of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Stellenbosch (South Africa).


Since 1996, the Institute has been editing the Occasional-Paper-Series "University of Leipzig Papers on Africa" (ULPA) with five sub-series.