Working Groups Winter 2017/2018


"Forgotten Legacies. Possible Futures in Africa and Beyond."

Socialism informed the political visions and shaped the destinies of people in postcolonial Africa and beyond. The failure of socialist experiments in the 1980s and the demise of socialist utopianism left a big void. This workshop examines how political actors, social groups, intellectuals, students, and artists experienced socialism, reacted to its demise and reinvented themselves. Furthermore, it explores the imprints socialism left on states and its complex legacies within present-day struggles for democracy and human rights, education and economic justice, as well as in the realm of popular culture, literature and arts. The workshop finally explores how socialism is remembered, represented and debated today and examines its afterlives in contemporary social and national independence movements.

Find more information here.

Find the conference report here.

WG Education

"Learning for the Future  – Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Knowledge Transmission in Africa and beyond."

Learning as a process always refers to an (imagined) future as it equips the learner with skills, know-how, and theoretical knowing, and last but not least with a valuable resource to shape the future. In order to approach the thematic field of education and learning, we are working with a very broad definition of knowledge and its transmission, transgressing the boundaries of formal schooling. For us, knowledge can be textual, manual, exemplary, oral, embodied and is transmitted through different imagery; we look at childhood and adult education alike. It can have different forms (i.e. theoretical, practical, embodied knowledge) and various didactic methods can be used. From this wide array, we are particularly interested in the specific visions of the future, which inform concepts of learning and, vice versa, are informed by concepts of the future.

Find the poster here and more detailed information here.

Find out about the WG's symposium "Education & Visions of Future(s)" here.


"Ghosts and Zombies -- the formless matters. 'Hauntology' as a means to think through future."

'Future', the first funding period of the Bayreuth Academy has shown, is by no means a solid, stable concept or a temporal entity. On the contrary, 'future' emerges as a dynamic performance -- influenced by many factors: subject position, political agenda, relations etc. Taking up the threads from the first period of the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, the WG investigates the concept of 'hauntology'. We ask: How can the meandering between form and 'formlessness', the instability and resilience of 'ghosts' as a figure of thought be made useful for the variety of research questions and perspectives in the BA -- and how can it be thought together with the concept of 'future'?

The WG aims to explore the multiple aspects of the concept of 'hauntology' and discuss them with colleagues from the BA, Bayreuth University and beyond, organized in thematic sessions.

Find more detailed information here.