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Research Perspectives

In the course of the discussion about decolonialism and anti-racism in Germany, which were initiated in academia in part as a result of the growing Black Lives Matter movement, staff members and the ABI's leadership entered into an intensive dialogue in 2020. In order to make underrepresented perspectives as well as disadvantages based on structural inequalities central to the work of all ABI staff, the Institute examined its own practices in a variety of ways.

With variations in details and emphasis, the ABI found a broad consensus on a number of issues. The discrimination against BIPoC and racialized people is unacceptable for our own work, which is based on the principle of equal treatment. In addition, social hierarchies such as gender are structural problems we reject and address within the institute. Most importantly for us, this means that building on reciprocal, jointly designed research on Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, the discrimination of scholars from the Global South must be addressed. The goal here is to reduce global knowledge asymmetries. We thus actively reflect upon our methodological practices and engage in collaborative and reciprocal formats of cooperating with our partner colleagues and institutions.

Moreover, we find that embracing a decolonial stance means developing explanatory and interpretive approaches beyond established theories and dominant paradigms. Our aim is to recognize and, ideally, revise supposedly universalistic, but essentially Eurocentric ways of thinking, and to enhance the plurality and visibility of voices engaging in knowledge production. Central for our work is a continuous critical reflection of our own approaches, trajectories, and positionalities.


Projects and cooperations

Postcolonial Hierarchies in Peace & Conflict / BMBF (2022-2026)

Pandemic (Im)mobility: COVID-19 and Migrant Communities in the Global South / MWK Baden-Württemberg (2021)

Prekäre Provenienz – Menschliche Überreste aus dem kolonialen Erbe Afrikas vor 1919 in wissenschaftlichen Sammlungen Baden-Württembergs / MWK Baden-Württemberg, Deutsche Stiftung Kulturgutverluste (since 2021), in cooperation with University of Tübingen and Linden-Museum Stuttgart

Research training group "Empires: Dynamic Change, Temporality and Post-imperial Orders“ / DFG (2020-2025), in cooperation with professorships at the University of Freiburg

Umgang mit der Alexander Ecker Sammlung der Universität Freiburg / Deutsche Stiftung Kulturgutverluste (2021-2023)

The Africa Centre for Transregional Research (ACT) at the University of Freiburg, Competence Centre for Transregional, Reciprocal African Studies and Societal Exchange / (since 2020) 

Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA) / BMBF (2018-2026)

Forced Displacement in Africa / DSF (2018-2022)


Recent Publications

Mehler, Andreas/Nyamnjoh, Francis B. (2022): Academic Cooperation in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Post-COVID Future, In: Greiner, Clemens/Wolputte, Steven Van/Bollig, Michael (eds): African Futures. AEGIS Series, Leiden: Brill, 367-374. DOI:

Mehler, Andreas/Apoh, Wazi (2020): Mainstreaming the Discourse on Restitution and Repatriation within African History, Heritage Studies and Political Science, In: Contemporary Journal of African Studies (CJAS) 7.1: 1-16.

Jenss, Alke/Lehmann, Rosa/Boos, Tobias (2021): Sozialstrukturen in Lateinamerika. Dynamiken und Akteure im 21. Jahrhundert, Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Zanker, Franzisca (2021): African perspectives on migration: Re-centring Southern Africa, In: Migration Studies, June, online first.


ALMA Reviews Blog

This blog series aims to discuss, highlight, and engage with scholarship from the regions of Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and Asia (ALMA) that ABI staff and associates have particularly enjoyed reading. It is determined to both challenge the hierarchies of academia in the Global North, and create more equal partnerships with our colleagues in the Global South. Read more.


We provide reading lists on different political contexts