Since 2002, Carola Lentz has been Professor at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies of Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (JGU). Through her research projects and her teaching as well as her commitment to doctoral training and various collaborative research programmes she has contributed significantly to the department’s national and international reputation. The award of one of the few senior research professorships in Rhineland-Palatinate is in recognition of these merits. She is the first member of the Faculty of History and Cultural Studies (Fachbereich 07) and the first woman at JGU to receive this senior professorship.
Before becoming a professor in Mainz, Lentz taught and conducted research at the Free University Berlin and Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main. She was a fellow at various international institutes such as Northwestern University, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, the International Research Center ‘Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History’, Humboldt University Berlin, and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Furthermore, as part of the ERASMUS program, she taught at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Marseille and Roskilde University in Denmark. From 2011 until 2015, she was the president of the German Anthropological Association. As a member of the DFG research group ‘Un/doing differences: Practices in Human Differentiation’ at JGU (2013-19), she investigated African national-day celebrations and independence jubilees. In June 2014, she was elected as Ordinary Member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, at which she served as Secretary of the Class of Social Sciences from 2016 until 2018. Since October 2018, she has been the Academy’s Vice-President. She received the renowned Melville J. Herskovits Prize of the American African Studies Association for her monograph Land, Mobility and Belonging in West Africa (2013). Her latest book Remembering Independence (2018), co-authored with Australian historian David Lowe, deals with the decolonization and postcolonial politics of remembrance in Asia and Africa. In September 2019, Carola Lentz was elected President of the Goethe-Institut. She will assume this office in fall 2020.
Her current research interests include the relationship between ethnicity and nationalism, memory studies, and the emergence of middle classes in the Global South. Her main regional focus is on West Africa, especially Ghana and Burkina Faso. Together with Isidore Lobnibe, a Ghanaian anthropologist, she is presently working on a book project entitled „Imagining Futures: Memory and Belonging in an African Family“ that explores the history of remembering in a West African extended family. She will also be conducting a science policy research project about “Early career funding in German-African academic cooperation“.
The Department of Anthropology and African Studies congratulates Carola Lentz most warmly to the recognition of her outstanding achievements acknowledgment by the State of Rhineland-Palatinate und is looking forward to further scholarly exchange with her.