The ABI is one of Germany’s major research centers in the domain of both comparative area studies and transregional studies. It is an independent, non‐profit research institute associated with the University of Freiburg. The institute was founded in 1960 by Arnold Bergstraesser, at that time professor of political science and sociology at the University of Freiburg. It is housed in its own building with conference rooms as well as office space for visiting researchers. Core funding is provided by the state of Baden‐Württemberg. Additional third party funding is sourced from scientific institutions and International cooperation organisations.
The institute‘s research focuses on questions of power transformations, state institutions and societal conflicts in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. The current research falls into three clusters:
The institute follows a comparative, interdisciplinary, mixed‐methods approach. Strong emphasis is placed on field research, in‐depth regional expertise and area‐specific contexts. As a research institute based in the Global North that has been doing research on developments in the Global South for over 60 years, addressing the consequences of violent and racist colonialism and resulting global inequalities plays a central role in our work. We are not only concerned with the scientific topics of our work, but also with the reduction of global knowledge asymmetries.
The ABI library hosts one of the largest area studies and development collections in Germany. Specialised in political, social and cultural transformations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, it contains around 85,000 monographs and subscribes to 120 periodicals and journals. The catalogue of the library's collection is accessible online.