Recent Publications

Special issue on the Adamawa languages
Proceedings of the first Adamawa Conference (Mainz, September 9-11 2019)

Sabine Littig, Friederike Vigeland, Alexander Zheltov (eds)

The volume includes the proceedings of the first Adamawa conference, held in Mainz in 2019. All articles present new data on languages, some of which had hardly more than a wordlist with a few hundred items up to date. Some therefore are preliminary in nature since much more research is needed. Nevertheless, they are invaluable for further studies on the particular language or language group and for a better understanding of the Adamawa language family as a whole as the establishment of a comprehensive data base consisting of many Adamawa languages is important for future typological and classificatory research.

2020, 404 pp.

doi: 10.37892/2686-8946-2020-1-3

Language in Africa: Volume 1, Number 3, 2020

Jihadi Audiovisuality and its Entanglements
Meanings, Aesthetics, Appropriations

Christoph Günther and Simone Pfeifer (eds)

Through 12 case studies, this book examines the different ways in which Jihadi groups and their supporters use visualisation, sound production and aesthetic means to articulate their cause in online as well as offline contexts.

Divided into four thematic sections, the chapters probe Jihadi appropriation of traditional and popular cultural expressions and show how, in turn, political activists appropriate extremist media to oppose and resist the propaganda. By conceptualising militant Islamist audiovisual productions as part of global media aesthetics and practices, the authors shed light on how religious actors, artists, civil society activists, global youth, political forces, security agencies and researchers engage with mediated manifestations of Jihadi ideology to deconstruct, reinforce, defy or oppose the messages.

2020, 344 pp.

ISBN: 9781474467513

Edinburgh University Press

The Discourse of Intimacy and Transgression

Anne Storch und Nico Nassenstein (eds.)

Series: Culture and Language Use [CLU], 22

This study focuses on the language around sexuality and discourses about sex, labeled by the authors as metasex, from a broad crosslinguistic perspective. Unlike many existing studies on sexting that predominantly take into account the linguistic practices of teenagers often located in the Global North, this book offers a more holistic approach by discussing Southern concepts of body parts, their conceptualization and mediatization (“dick pics”), the interconnectedness of food and sex and its sensualization (“foodporn”) as well as processes of social cohesion around sex, sociability and conviviality (“bonding”). Based on an anthropological linguistic perspective, the authors analyze metasex practices from Nigeria, DR Congo, Uganda, the Mediterranean, and numerous other contexts. Africanist Agnes Brühwiler’s afterword on sex (talk) in Tanzania rounds off the various fresh insights this study offers.

2020, 132 pp.

ISBN: 9789027207616

John Benjamins

Verwandtschaft und Mittelklasse in Ghana
Soziale Differenzierung und familiärer Zusammenhalt

Andrea Noll

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 43

Social classes are usually considered entities that comprise entire families consisting of several generations. In African countries, most families are multi-class families. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Ghana, Liberia and New York, this study examines the diverse strategies and practices employed by members of three extended families from Ghana to encounter social inequality and class differences within their families. The local actors understand families as larger, flexible kinship networks that comprise several generations, numerous members and different lifestyles.

What does it mean for the kinship group when a small number of family members achieve upward social mobility through formal education and corresponding occupations? How is family redefined and how is support beyond one’s nuclear family negotiated? What factors facilitate or hinder a transgenerational transmission of the new middle-class status? To answer these central questions, the author analyses how the family members themselves remember their family history and thereby (re)construct family ties. It is a central concern of this book to show how social history and family history intertwine and how specific historic trends offer opportunities for upward social mobility or bring about social decline.

2019, 279 Pages.

ISBN: 978-3-89645-844-5

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

Erforschen, Verhandeln, Aufführen im Sinne von Carola Lentz
Festschrift für Carola Lentz

Edited by: Jan Beek, Konstanze N’Guessan, Mareike Späth

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 42

Ethnizität, Bodenrecht, nationale Erinnerungspolitik und Mittelklasse – Carola Lentz hat viele ethnologische Themenfelder entscheidend weiterentwickelt. Ihre mehrfach ausgezeichneten Bücher basieren auf Feldforschungen in Westafrika, vor allem in Ghana und Burkina Faso. Auch, wenn sich ihr Werk sicher nicht auf einen Begriff reduzieren lässt, zieht sich ein ausgeprägtes Interesse an „Zugehörigkeiten“ wie ein roter Faden durch ihre Forschung.

Carola Lentz reflektiert Erforschen als Interaktionsprozess, bei dem die angenommene oder verweigerte „Zugehörigkeit“ der Ethnolog*in zu den Erforschten wichtige Einsichten bringt. Insbesondere bei den Themenfeldern Ethnizität und Erinnerungspolitik untersucht sie, wie Akteure unterschiedliche „Zugehörigkeiten“ herstellen und verhandeln. Unter dem Begriff Aufführung hat sie performative Praktiken erforscht, die diese unterschiedlichen Formen von „Zugehörigkeit“ mit Leben füllen.

Dieser Sammelband, der Carola Lentz und ihr wissenschaftliches Werk anlässlich ihres 65. Geburtstags würdigt, vereint Beiträge von Kolleginnen und Kollegen aus verschiedenen Forschungskontexten. Auf ganz unterschiedliche Weise und in vielen Fällen auch inspiriert von bzw. geprägt durch die Forschung und universitäre Lehre von Carola Lentz spiegeln die Beiträge ihr Interesse am Erforschen, Verhandeln und Aufführen von Zugehörigkeiten.

2019, 339 Pages.

ISBN: 978-3-89645-843-8

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

Histories of Independence in Côte d’Ivoire
An Ethnography of the Past

Konstanze N'Guessan

Histories of Independence in Côte d’Ivoire: an Ethnography of the Past, deals with memory work in Côte d’Ivoire and bridges an ethnographic approach with the insights of newer theoretical approaches in historiography. Adopting a long-term perspective from the late 1950s to the present, I attempt to disentangle the condensation of meanings of the lieu de mémoire “Ivorian independence” and explore how different practices of recalling the past complement and/or contradict each other. Histories of independence in Côte d’Ivoire looks at national-day celebrations, academic historiography, oral tradition and memory politics in order to understand how (political) actors mobilize the past in order to produce pleasant presents and futures.

Leiden: Brill (2020).

Swearing and Cursing
Contexts and Practices in a Critical Linguistic Perspective
Edited by: Nico Nassenstein und Anne Storch

While most of the more recent influential work on swearing has concentrated on English and other languages from the Global North, looking at forms and functions of swear words, this contribution redirects the necessary focus onto a sociolinguistics of swearing that puts transgressive practices in non-Western languages into the focus. The transdisciplinary volume contains innovative case studies that address swearing and cursing in parts of the world characterized by consequences of colonialism and increasingly debated inequalities. Turning away from more conventional and established methodologies and theoretical approaches, the book envisages to address transgressive linguistic practices, performances and contexts in Africa, Asia, America and Europe –including individuals' creativity, subversive power and agency. Due to its interdisciplinary and non-mainstream focus, this volume is an essential addition to the field of studies.

Reihe: Language and Social Life [LSL], 22

L'enquête et ses graphies en sciences sociales
Figurations iconographiques d’après société

Katrin Langewiesche, Jean-Bernard Ouédraogo (eds.)

Le travail d’analyse sociale pose toujours aux chercheurs la question de la transcription des données et des résultats obtenus. Les modèles canoniques privilégient l’usage de l’écriture orthographique et relèguent souvent les formes d’écritures iconographiques dans la perception sensible, l’allusif et le flou symbolique, à l’extrême opposé de la rigueur démonstrative et argumentative de l’écriture. Dans le processus de production et de diffusion des connaissances en sciences sociales, le moment de l’enquête, en particulier, est une situation de transcription idéale pour examiner le passage d’un ordre de fait à un autre et pour retracer sa fonction dans le projet scientifique. L’ouvrage interroge les modalités d’implication de l’image dans la fabrication, la transformation et la présentation des données issues de l’enquête de terrain.

Dans la première partie Roger Cornu et Milton Guran questionnent la constitution des mémoires et des identités individuelles et collectives. La photographie se tient au seuil de la mémoire et perpétue une interrogation sur les conditions d'exercice de la mémoire individuelle et collective. La contribution de Sylvaine Conord rappelle que l’image oblige les chercheurs plus que tout autre mode de présentation à s’interroger sur leur position.

La deuxième partie est consacrée à l’épistémologie des images. Que les images soient produites par le chercheur lui-même ou récoltées lors du terrain ethnographique leur représentation est d’une importance cruciale mais ne va pas de soi. Sylvain Maresca s’interroge sur les différentes manières dont le matériel est traité dans des publications scientifiques. Ioulia Podogora analyse le traitement que Bergson réserve aux images dans ses travaux tandis qu’Albert Piette nous propose une réflexion large sur l’art comme ressource pour penser la figure humaine comme objet premier de l’anthropologie et non pas les configurations sociales et culturelles.

La troisième partie aborde la question de la restitution des données issues de l’enquête de terrain à travers l’analyse des photographies prises par l’auteur lui-même au début des années 1990, juste après la chute du mur de Berlin. Pour Ralf Marsault la valorisation du document ne s'oppose point à l'idée d'œuvre-création interrogeant les liens entre arts et sciences. La partie «poétique» qui réintroduit la question du sujet dans sa méconnaissance est pleinement assumée. Kilian et Abossolo Mbo plaident pour une analyse des rythmes, rare en sciences sociales, afin de saisir les complexités de l’urbanisation globale et de la restituer par les techniques de théâtre grâce à une approche du sensuous scholarship. Tandis que Mathieu Triclot applique une autre forme de rythmanalyse durant ses recherches sur les jeux vidéo et le mode d’engagement des joueurs.

Avec les contributions de Sylvaine Conord, Roger Cornu, Milton Guran, Cassis Kilian et Emil Abossolo Mbo, Sylvain Maresca, Ralf Marsault, Albert Piette, Ioulia Podogora, Mathieu Triclot.

2019, 208 pp

ISBN: 9782359260786 PB; ISBN: 9782359260793 E

Edition Amalion, Dakar

Anthropology as Homage
Festschrift for Ivo Strecker

edited by: Felix Girke, Sophia Thubauville, Wolbert G.C. Smidt.

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 41

This volume celebrates the life and work of the anthro­pologist Ivo Strecker, who has studied with the Hamar of southern Ethiopia since 1969. Through this decades long engagement, as well as his ethnographic films and his work in spearheading the international Rhetorical Culture Project, Ivo has been highly influential, both in advancing anthropological theory and encouraging nu­merous students to commit to fieldwork in and around Hamar. While alluding to various facets of Ivo’s syn­thetic thinking and his unique personality, the contri­butions to this Festschrift also make important state­ments on fieldwork, visual anthropology, rhetoric, and other fields that relate to his œuvre.

2018, 447 pages.

ISBN: 9783896458421

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

Remembering Independence

by Carola Lentz and David Lowe

Remembering Independence explores the commemoration and remembrance of independence following the great wave of decolonisation after the Second World War. Drawing on case studies from Africa, Asia, and with reference to the Pacific, the authors find that remembering independence was, and still is, highly dynamic. From flag-raising moments to the present day, the transfer of authority from colonial rule to independent nation-states has served as a powerful mnemonic focal point.

Remembering independence, in state as well as non-state constructions, connects to changing contemporary purposes and competing politic visions. Independence is a flexible idea, both a moment in time and a project, a carrier of hopes and ideals of social justice and freedom, but also of disappointments and frustrated futures.

This richly illustrated volume draws attention to the broad range of media employed in remembering independence, ranging from museums and monuments to textual, oral and ritual formats of commemorative events, such as national days. Combining insights from history and anthropology, this book will be essential reading for all students of the history of empire, decolonisation, nation-building and post-colonial politics of memory.

2018, 244 pages.

ISBN: 9781138905733


Katrin Bromber, Book Review: Carola Lentz and David Lowe: Remembering Independence , in: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research, 18.10.2018,

Christoph Marx: Rezension zu: Lentz, Carola; David Lowe: Remembering Independence. New York 2018, in Dhau 4 (2019). Jahrbuch für außereuropäische Geschichte. Christoph Marx und Tilman Frasch (Hrsg.). 169-173.

Geert Castryck: Rezension zu: Lentz, Carola; David Lowe: Remembering Independence. Abingdon  2018, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 03.01.2020, <>.

Vom Reichtum eines armen Landes
Nationalfeiern und Nationenbildung in Burkina Faso

Svenja Haberecht

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 40

In 2010 Burkina Faso celebrated his fiftieth independence jubilee – a milestone in the process of nation building. The anniversary celebration gave rise to memorize the country's history and proudly to take stock of previous achievements. But it also raised a discussion about the status quo of independence, recent challenges and future development paths.

The present book examines the process of nation building in Burkina Faso along the history of its national days since 1960. Based on comprehensive archive material concerning past celebrations of national days, participatory observation and numerous interviews about the anniversary celebration of 2010, the author analyses the political staging as well as the social counterdrafts of nation. The examined anniversary celebrations demonstrate that in between the five decades of independence a national consciousness emerged, which – in full consciousness of the country's material poverty – imposes its cultural diversity as the nation's wealth.

2017, 270 Seiten.

ISBN: 9783896458407

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag


Nicht nur Raubkunst!
Sensible Dinge in Museen und universitären Sammlungen

Edited by Anna-Maria Brandstetter & Vera Hierholzer

Public collections often preserve things that are nowadays considered ‘sensitive’ for ethical reasons. For some years, the focus has been on Nazi looted art and is now increasingly being directed at cultural assets brought to Europe as part of colonisation. There are, however, many other types of sensitive things, such as mortal remains, religious artefacts, illegally traded antiques and wildlife products that fall under the protection of endangered species. This volume chooses to take on a decidedly comparative perspective in investigating how to appropriately deal with these objects across disciplines and institutions. For the first time, through the exchange of experience between scientists from museums and universities, it also systematically examines the topic for university collections, which, due to their heterogeneity, cover a particularly wide range of potentially sensitive objects.


1. Auflage 2018
327 Seiten mit 46 Abbildungen gebunden
ISBN 978-3-8471-0808-5
Mainz University Press bei V&R unipress

La vitrine du pays
Staat machen in Togos Außenministerium

Nora Brandecker

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 39

The Togolese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAEC) should be considered as the vitrine du pays, the “display window of the country”, and it is of utmost importance in providing representatives of foreign govern­ments and international organizations as well as potential investors with a positive first impression of Togo, as official sources proclaim. The high staffing level of the ministry seems to bear out these state­ments, but a closer look reveals fine cracks in the storefront of the vitrine du pays. Most of the employees of this ministry do not “do” foreign policy, but frequently nothing at all – at least at first glance –, and the chronic shortage of office supplies even hampers fulfilment of the few arising tasks.

Aside from the great number of staff that is utterly underemployed, there are others who appear to be completely over­burdened. Based on this paradox, the leading question of this ethnography of the Togolese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is how its diplomats organize their daily work routine, having to deal with the tension between the great importance of the ministry that is officially stressed and the factual insignificance that they often experience, and – in doing so – how they “do the state” while dressing the “display window of the country”.

2017, 283 pp.

ISBN: 9783896458391

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

Police in Africa
The Street Level View

Edited by Jan Beek, Mirco Göpfert, Olly Owen and Jonny Steinberg

State police forces in Africa are a curiously neglected subject of study, even within the framework of security issues and African states. This book brings together criminologists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, political scientists and others who have engaged with police forces across the continent and the publics with whom they interact to provide street-level perspectives from below and inside Africa’s police forces. The contributors consider historical trajectories and particular configurations of police power within wider political systems, then examine the ‘inside view’ of police forces as state institutions – the challenges, preoccupations, professional ethics and self-perceptions of police officers – and finally look at how African police officers go about their work in terms of everyday practices and engagements with the public.

The studies span the continent, from South Africa to Sierra Leone, and illustrate similarities and differences in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone states, post-socialist, post-military and post-conflict contexts, and amid both centralisation and devolution of policing powers, democratic transitions and new illiberal regimes, all the while keeping a strong ethnographic focus on police officers and their work.

2017, 376 pp.

ISBN: 9781849045773


Producing Stateness
Police Work in Ghana

Jan Beek

Jan Beek’s book explores everyday police work in an African country and analyses how police officers, despite prevailing stereotypes about failed states and African police, produce stateness. Drawing on highly readable ethnographic descriptions, the book shows that Ghanaian police practices often involve the exchange of money (bribes), the use of violence and the influence of politicians. However, such informal practices allow police officers to deal with the inconsistent necessities and the social context of their work. Ultimately, Ghanaian police officers are also inspired by a bureaucratic ethos and their practices are guided by it. Stateness, the book argues, is a quality of organizations, gradually emerging out of such everyday encounters. Producing Stateness allows a close look at the realities of police work in Africa and provides surprising insights into the rationalities of policing and state bureaucracies everywhere.

2017, 237 pp.

ISBN13: 9789004332171
E-ISBN: 9789004334908


Deportation, Anxiety, Justice
New ethnographic perspectives

Edited by Heike Drotbohm and Ines Hasselberg

Series: Research in Ethnic and Migration Studies

This book provides new ethnographic perspectives on the intersections between deportation, anxiety, and justice. As an instrument for controlling international migration, deportation policies may be justified by public authorities as measures responding to anxieties over (unregulated) migration. At the same time, they also bring out uncertainty and unrest to deportable and deported migrants as well as to their social and institutional environments, in which this act of the state may appear deeply unjust.

Providing new and complementary insights into what ‘deportation’ as a legal and policy measure actually embraces in social reality, this book argues for an understanding of deportation as a process that begins long before (and carries on long after) the removal from one country to another has taken place. It provides a transnational perspective over the ‘deportation corridor’, covering different places, sites, actors, and institutions. Most importantly, it reasserts the emotional and normative elements inherent to contemporary deportation policies and practices, emphasising the interplay between deportation, perceptions of justice, and national, institutional, and personal anxieties.

Written by leading experts in the field, the contributions cover a broad spectrum of geographical sites, deportation practices, and perspectives, bringing together a long overdue addition to the current scholarship on deportation studies. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

2017, 136 pp.

ISBN 978-1-13822-273-1


The Lion and his Pride
The Politics of Commemoration in Cameroon

Kathrin Tiewa

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 38

Cameroon was the first of seventeen African countries to celebrate its golden jubilee of independence and reunification on May 20th 2010. ‘Unity’ was the leading motto for the festivities, a controversial choice that provoked debate across
the nation. Cameroon’s bi-colonial heritage has been a challenge to the country since independence; various antagonisms, such as those between the Francophone and Anglophone populations, stood in stark contrast to the unity propounded and
staged by the government. Adherents of the ruling party felt the motto fit well with the political vision President Paul Biya has propagated since his election in 1982 and hoped that it would further his nation-building efforts. Members of the
political opposition disagreed, accusing the government of distracting from the continued privileging of the Francophone population. The coincidence of the Cinquantenaire celebrations with the run-up to Cameroon’s presidential elections further stoked the debate, with the governing party resounding the jubilee motto as part of the election campaign, while members of the opposition criticized that the event’s organization lay entirely in government hands. And yet, paradoxically,
this heated debate engendered a process through which a sense of nationhood did actually emerge.

Together with a team of Cameroonian students, the author conducted fieldwork in different localities throughout the country during the same time period, enabling her to observe the various fields and techniques through which unity was pro moted
in different settings. In this study she shows how the government staged unity as part of an attempt to bridge the country’s Francophone-Anglophone antagonisms. The case offers an ethnographically rich example of politically controlled, top-down strategies of nation-building.

2016, 253 pp, Format: 170 x 240 mm

ISBN 978-3-89645-838-4

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

White Elephant
Die Aushandlung von Kultur in der tansanischen Videofilmindustrie

Claudia Böhme

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 37

Anfang der 2000er-Jahre hat sich in Tansania eine Medienrevolution ereignet, als sich Künstler verschiedener Metiers das neue, kostengünstige Medium Videofilm aneigneten, um auf Swahili ihre eigenen Geschichten in Spielfilmen und Soap- Operas zu erzählen. Angefangen mit wenigen Comedys, hat sich inzwischen eine Kulturindustrie mit Hunderten von Produktions- und Distributionseinheiten entwickelt, die nahezu täglich neue Filme auf den Markt bringt, die inzwischen auch international vertrieben werden und über Satellitenfernsehen, das Internet und die sozialen Medien global Beachtung finden. Von 2006 bis 2012 hat Claudia Böhme die Filmemacher, Videofilmhändler, Zuschauer und Kulturschaffenden, auch als Schauspielerin in mehreren Filmen und Fernsehserien, teilnehmend begleitet. Die Ethnografie beschreibt die Videofilmkultur von ihren historischen Wurzeln über die Aneignung des Mediums Video bis zur Entwicklung einer durch Globalisierung und Transnationalisierung geprägten
Filmindustrie mit eigenem Starkult. Ein besonderes Augenmerk wird dabei auf kulturelle und politische Aushandlungsprozesse gelegt, die sich auf verschiedenen Ebenen der Produktion, Distribution, Rezeption beobachten lassen. Die Auseinandersetzungen der aufstrebenden Filmemacher mit etablierten Kulturpolitikern und lokalen Journalisten, ihr Ringen um wirtschaftliche Existenz, Anerkennung und Zugehörigkeit lesen sich dabei in ihrer Dramatik nicht selten selbst wie der Stoff für ein filmreifes Drehbuch. Das Buch liefert nicht nur erstmalig eine umfassende Betrachtung der Videofilmindustrie in Tansania, sondern ist auch als Beitrag zur medienethnologischen Debatte über die Aneignung neuer Medien und die Entstehung lokal spezifischer Medienkulturen in einer zunehmend mediatisierten und vernetzten Welt zu verstehen.

2016, 367 pp, Format: 170 x 240 mm

ISBN 978-3-89645-837-7

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag