Recent Publications

Life Course, Work, and Labour in Global History

Edited by: Josef Ehmer and Carola Lentz

Series: Work in Global and Historical Perspective, Band 18 

This multidisciplinary volume offers unique perspectives, across the globe and throughout the centuries, on the complexity of the nexus between work and the life course. For industrialized regions, from Germany and Western Europe to China and Japan, it questions the widespread notion of an overall growing working life course instability, since the 1970s. For unindustrialized or industrializing regions, from West Africa to state socialist East Central Europe, as well as for transnational and transcontinental labour migrations, it shows the enormous influence of the extended family and wider kin on individual pathways into and out of work. For early modern Europe, India, and China, and up to twentieth-century state socialism and to current welfare states, it stresses and concretizes the crucial impact of age and gender for both societal labour relations and individual work-related decision making. With all chapters based on original research, the volume reflects a close cooperation between historians, anthropologists, and sociologists. Its multidisciplinary approach finds expression in its methodological plurality, reaching from archival research and sophisticated statistical analyses to biographical interviews and participant observation. This mix allows to grasp the interaction between societal change and individual agency.

De Gruyter
ISBN: 9783111147529 (E-Book) / 9783111145907

A History of Mali’s National Drink
Following the Tea Ritual from China to West Africa

by Ute Röschenthaler

Reihe: African History, Band: 11

Green tea, imported from China, occupies an important place in the daily lives of Malians. They spend so much time preparing and consuming the sugared beverage that it became the country’s national drink. To find out how Malians came to practice the tea ritual, this study follows the beverage from China to Mali on its historical trade routes halfway around the globe. It examines the circumstances of its introduction, the course of the tea ritual, the equipment to prepare and consume it, and the meanings that it assumed in the various places on its travel across geographical regions, political economies, cultural contexts, and religious affiliations.

2022, 267 pages
ISBN: 978-90-04-52467-5 (E-Book) / 978-90-04-52466-8

African Agency in China’s Tea Trade
Commercial Networks, Brand Creation and Intellectual Property

by Ute Röschenthaler

Reihe: African Social Studies Series, Band: 43

Every month tons of green tea travel from China to West Africa in a movement that largely thrives beyond the attention of Western observers. In this trade, Malian merchants assumed a central role. They travel to China, visit family gardens and the factories, which process and package the product. Together with their Chinese suppliers, they select the tea leaves and create their brand. On Bamako’s largest market, the Grand Marché, more than a hundred different tea brands are found, whose packages have colourfully, often eye-catching designs with brand-names such as Gazelle, Tombouctou, Arafat and Obama. This book explores the unique tea culture that celebrates with its brands the strength of desert animals, the fading glory of trading places, the excitement of social events and the accomplishments of admired politicians.

2022, 350 pages
ISBN: 978-90-04-50569-8 (E-Book) / 978-90-04-50568-1

Humour and Politics in Africa
Beyond Resistance

by Daniel Hammett, Laura S. Martin and Izuu Nwankwọ

Analyses of humour often focus primarily on the Global North, with little consideration for examples and practices from elsewhere. This book provides a vital contribution to humour theory by developing a Global South perspective.
Taking a wide-ranging view across the whole of the continent, the book examines the relationship between humour and politics in Africa. It considers the context of the production and reception of humour in African contexts and argues that humour is more than just symbolic. Moving beyond the idea of humour as a mode of resistance, the book investigates the ‘political work’ that humour does and explores the complex entanglements in which the politics, practices and performances of humour are located.

Daniel Hammett is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield, UK, and Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Laura S. Martin is an Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, and a Research Affiliate and Advisor at the University of Makeni (UNIMAK), Makeni, Sierra Leone.
Izuu Nwankwọ is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

2023, 168 pages
Bristol University Press
ISBN: 978-1529219715

Stand-up Comedy in Africa
Humour in Popular Languages and Media

Edited by Izuu Nwankwọ

African cultural productions of humour have increased even in the face of myriad economic foibles and social upheavals. For instance, from the 1990s, stand-up comedy emerged across the continent and has maintained a pervasive presence since then. Its specificities are related to contemporary economic and political contexts and are also drawn from its pre-colonial history, that of joking forms and relationships, and orality. Izuu Nwankwọ's fascinating collected volume offers a transnational appraisal of this unique art form spanning different nations of the continent and its diasporas. The book engages variously with jokesters, their materials, the mediums of dissemination, and the cultural value(s) and relevance of their stage work, encompassing the form and content of the practice. Its ruling theoretical perspective comes from theatre and performance, cultural studies, linguistics, and literary studies.

2022, 316 pages
ISBN: 9783838216089

Yabbing and Wording
The artistry of Nigerian stand-up comedy

by Izuu Nwankwọ

Yabbing and Wording: The artistry of Nigerian stand-up comedy is a long-overdue academic interrogation of the novel stand-up practice in Nigeria as performance. 'Yabbing' comes from the Nigerian Pidgin English verb, 'yab', which means a satirical jibe thrown at individuals, groups or institutions. Nigeria's Fela Anikulapo-Kuti used this effectively in his recorded and live music performances against successive military regimes. 'Wording' derives from the English term 'word' and refers to a game in which parties exchange insults. It is a modern-day coinage for traditional forms of joking that existed across Nigeria and elsewhere in precolonial times.
In this book, Nwankwọ identifies 'yabbing' and 'wording' as outstanding indigenous elements within contemporary stand-up practice in Nigeria. On the one hand, these local joking patterns inform how comedians fashion their narratives. On the other, they mitigate offence and how the audience responds to ridicule in joke performance venues. The book's strength is its academic perspective and the inclusion of as many examples of stand-up and comedians as possible, to give a panoramic view of the practice. It also traces the historical path of the development of professional stand-up comedy in Nigeria. Its closing chapters detail the global outreach of Nigerian stand-up while also anticipating its future developments.

2021, 214 pages
NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa
ISBN: 978-1-920033-85-9

Nachtlinguistik. Sprachwissenschaftliche Streifzüge

Co-authored by: Nico Nassenstein & Anne Storch
Series: Lettre

In der Nacht manifestiert sich die Macht des Abseitigen, zugleich aber ist sie ein Zeitraum, dem Momente des Schönen innewohnen. Nico Nassenstein und Anne Storch nehmen die Nacht aus verschiedenen Blickwinkeln unter die Lupe und verknüpfen historische Perspektiven mit Untersuchungen zur Sprache und unterschiedlichen Formen der Wissensproduktion. In Kapiteln unterschiedlichen Genres zeichnen sie so ein Bild der Nacht als andere Möglichkeitswelt, in der alternative und dekoloniale Wissensformen ihren Platz finden und Souveränität und Kreativität immer wieder neu erlangt werden können.

2022, 336 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8376-6538-3


Menschen mit Albinismus.
Die Karriere einer Personenkategorie in Tansania

Kathrin Denny

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 45

Weltweit solidarisieren sich Menschen aufgrund bestimmter Merkmale und damit in Verbindung gebrachter Diskriminierungserfahrungen. Das Erschaffen, Aneignen oder Verändern von Personenkategorien hilft Aktivist*innen, auf die Bedürfnisse solcher Menschen aufmerksam zu machen und für eine gesellschaftliche Gleichstellung zu kämpfen. Personenkategorien erweisen sich dabei als umkämpfte Grundpfeiler identitätspolitischer sozialer Bewegungen.

Dieses Buch führt seine Leserschaft nach Tansania und beschäftigt sich mit der Karriere der Personenkategorie Menschen mit Albinismus. Aus Individuen, die wegen ihrer hellen Haut, Haare und Augen als Mensch/Geist-Hybride galten, wurden im Verlauf von vier Jahrzehnten Menschen mit einem Gesundheitsproblem, für die sich besondere Fördermöglichkeiten erschlossen.

Die Autorin zeichnet diesen Prozess ethnographisch nach und analysiert, auf welche Weise lokale und transnationale Aktivist*innenäußerliche Merkmale erfolgreich rekodieren und so die neue Personenkategorie Menschen mit Albinismus gesellschaftlich durchsetzen. In Anlehnung an Konzepte aus der Forschung über soziale Bewegungen und Praktiken der Humandifferenzierung zeigt sie, wie sich hypopigmentierte Tansanier*innen die Anerkennung als vollwertige Mitglieder der Gesellschaft erstreiten.

2021, 228 pp.

ISBN: 978-3-89645-846-9

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

Policing race, ethnicity and culture
Ethnographic perspectives across Europe

Edited by: Jan Beek, Thomas Bierschenk, Annalena Kolloch & Bernd Meyer

How to deal with differences based on culture, ethnicity and race, has become a key issue of policing. The collected edition explores everyday, often mundane interactions between police officers and migrantised actors in European countries and asks how both sides deal with perceived differences. The contributions reflect that such differences are not just 'out there' but are being situationally (re-)produced in police-citizen encounters. By taking a comparative approach, the book develops a distinctly European perspective on these questions. The book contains 12 ethnographies from ten European countries, based on new and often innovative empirical research, two theoretical contributions, an introduction and a postface

2023, 352 pages
Manchester University Press
ISBN: 978-1-5261-6558-9

Approaches to Language and Culture

Edited by: Svenja Völkel & Nico Nassenstein
Series: Anthropological Linguistics [AL], 1

This book provides an overview of approaches to language and culture, and it outlines the broad interdisciplinary field of anthropological linguistics and linguistic anthropology. It identifies current and future directions of research, including language socialization, language reclamation, speech styles and genres, language ideology, verbal taboo, social indexicality, emotion, time, and many more. Furthermore, it offers areal perspectives on the study of language in cultural contexts (namely Africa, the Americas, Australia and Oceania, Mainland Southeast Asia, and Europe), and it lays the foundation for future developments within the field. In this way, the book bridges the disciplines of cultural anthropology and linguistics and paves the way for the new book series Anthropological Linguistics.

2022, 558 pages
De Gruyter Mouton
ISBN: 9783110726992

Swahili Proverbs from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nico Nassenstein

Reihe: Wortkunst und Dokumentartexte in afrikanischen Sprachen Band 44

The idea for the present book first arose out of a fascination for some Kivu Swahili proverbs that came up during a recording session on Kivu Swahili sentences with my Congolese colleague Paulin Baraka Bose one day in Kampala (Uganda). The present editor was fascinated by their variability and the fact that proverbs could apparently easily be “transferred” by calquing them from Kinyabwisha, Mashi, and other languages. The fact that Swahili speakers’ use of proverbs from the Congo was thus characterized by fluidity and flexibility in their realization, dependent upon their linguistic backgrounds, trajectories, and creativity encouraged the editor to start collecting proverbs whenever working on Congo Swahili varieties. All 400 proverbs presented here are part of this collection, numbering 100 proverbs from each Congo Swahili regiolect (Kivu, which comprises Goma and Bukavu Swahili; Bunia Swahili/Ituri Kingwana; Kisangani Swahili; Lubumbashi Swahili/Katanga Swahili), are extracted from discussions and recording sessions with the speakers themselves, all of whom are mentioned as having provided the editor with the proverbs (see the acknowledgments). The mixture of well-known and well-documented proverbs with very personal and spontaneous ones is intended to show the fluidity of this pool of orature.

The purpose of the present book, besides the personal interest in the rich orature exemplified by proverbs, is to serve as a dialectological introduction – which, as a first compilation, offers insights into the grammatical variability of Congo Swahili regiolects. So far, the dialectological classification of Congo Swahili has often been neglected, and established dialectological or dialectometric models successfully applied to the East African coast (for the most influential works, see Guarisma & Möhlig 1980, Möhlig 1983, 1986) seem to be of lesser benefit in the classification of Swahili regiolects in the DR Congo. Linguists may therefore be interested to discover differences and commonalities of the four major regiolects of Swahili in the Congo, while scholars of African literature may be more interested in the use and origin of the collected mafumbo (as they are labeled in the Congo, see above). All proverbs are categorized according to specific semantic fields.

2022, 136 pages

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

ISBN: 978-3-89645-744-8

Global Perspectives on Youth Language Practices

Edited by: Cynthia Groff, Andrea Hollington, Ellen Hurst-Harosh, Jacomine Nortier, Helma Pasch, Nico Nassenstein, Helma Pasch

Series: Contributions to the Sociology of Language [CSL], 119

Most journal articles, edited volumes and monographs on youth language practices deal with one specific variety, one geographical setting, or with one specific continent. This volume bridges these different studies, and it approaches youth language from a much broader angle. A global framework and a diversity of methodologies enable a wider perspective that gives room to comparisons of youth’s manipulations and linguistic agency, transnational communicative practices and language contact scenarios. The research presented addresses structural features of everyday talk and text, youth identity issues related to specific purposes and contexts, and sociocultural emphases on ideologies and belonging.

Combining insights into sociolinguistic and structural features of youth language, the volume includes case studies from Asia (Indonesia), Australia and Oceania (Arnhem Land, New Ireland), South America (the Amazon, Chile, Argentina), Europe (Germany, Spain) and Africa (Uganda, Nigeria, DR Congo, Central African Republic, South Africa). It expands on existing publications and offers a more comparative and "global" approach, without a division of youth’s strategies in terms of geographical space or language family. This collection, including a conceptual introduction, is of interest to scholars from several linguistic subfields working in different regional contexts as well as sociologists and anthropologists working in the field of adolescence and youth studies.

2022, 354 pages

De Gruyter Mouton

ISBN: 978-1-50151-468-5

Imagining Futures
Memory and Belonging in an African Family

by Carola Lentz and Isidore Lobnibe

What keeps a family together? In Imagining Futures, authors Carola Lentz and Isidore Lobnibe offer a unique look at one extended African family, currently comprising over five hundred members in Northern Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Members of this extended family, like many others in the region, find themselves living increasingly farther apart and working in diverse occupations ranging from religious clergy and civil service to farming. What keeps them together as a family? In their groundbreaking work, Lentz and Lobnibe argue that shared memories, rather than only material interests, bind a family together.

Imagining Futures explores the changing practices of remembering in an African family and offers a unique contribution to the growing field of memory studies, beyond the usual focus of Europe and America. Lentz and Lobnibe explore how, in an increasingly globalized, postcolonial world, memories themselves are not static accounts of past events but are actually malleable and shaped by both current concerns and imagined futures.

May 2022, 296 pages

Indiana University Press

ISBN: 9780253060204 (Paperback); 9780253060211 (Hardcover); 9780253060198 (EBook)

Das Goethe-Institut
Eine Geschichte von 1951 bis heute

Carola Lentz und Marie-Christin Gabriel

70 Jahre Goethe-Institut. Carola Lentz bietet eine ebenso informative wie konzise Geschichte des Goethe-Instituts und seiner sich wandelnden Aufgaben im Kontext bundesrepublikanischer und globaler Zeitgeschichte. Zugleich eröffnen Erfahrungsberichte von ehemaligen und aktuellen MitarbeiterInnen lebendige Eindrücke in die Arbeit eines der wichtigsten weltweit agierenden Kulturinstitute.

Vom Kulturexport zum globalen Netzwerk – unter diesem Motto kann man die siebzigjährige Geschichte des Goethe-Instituts zusammenfassen, die eng mit der jüngeren Geschichte Deutschlands und mit globalen Umbrüchen verwoben ist. Das Institut musste immer wieder neue Antworten auf externe und interne Herausforderungen entwickeln. Anfangs war seine Arbeit auf die Förderung der deutschen Sprache im Ausland und den Export »deutscher Kultur« fokussiert. Doch schon bald wurde das Kulturverständnis vielfältiger, und das Goethe-Institut wurde zur größten Mittler-Organisation der deutschen auswärtigen Kultur- und Bildungspolitik. Dabei bildete sich auch eine neue Rolle heraus: Heute agiert das Goethe-Institut, in 98 Ländern mit insgesamt 157 Instituten, vor allem als globales Netzwerk lokaler und regionaler kultureller Initiativen.

2022, 320 pages


ISBN: 978-3-608-98470-5

Cahiers d’études africaines n° 243, 2021

Monastères et développement (Sénégal, Burkina Faso, Bénin, Guinée-Conakry, Togo, Kenya, Ghana)

Thematisches Dossier koordiniert von Katrin Langewiesche

Die Artikel in diesem Dossier enthalten Fallstudien über verschiedene Klostergemeinschaften im Senegal, in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo und Kenia. Diese Studien, in denen die Nonnen und Mönche in ihrer Rolle als soziale und wirtschaftliche Akteure beobachtet werden, beleuchten weniger bekannte Aspekte des afrikanischen Katholizismus. Nonnen und Mönche beteiligen sich an wirtschaftlichen Entwicklungsprozessen, beziehen Stellung in aufkommenden Landkonflikten und beeinflussen die Veränderung von hierarchischen Strukturen und Geschlechterverhältnissen. Aus verschiedenen Blickwinkeln zeigen die Artikel dieses Themenhefts, dass das marginalisierte Studienobjekt „Klöster in Afrika“ alles andere als gesellschaftlich unbedeutend ist.

Mit Beiträgen von André Ardouin, Muhammad Bâ, Isabelle Jonveaux, Koudbi Kaboré, Katrin Langewiesche, Thierry Yaméogo.


Die Handlungsmacht ästhetischer Objekte

Edited by: Annika Schlitte, Markus Verne and Gregor Wedekind

Aesthetic experiences are basically inconceivable without specific objects. What consequences does this object-relatedness have for the nature of aesthetic experience? To what extent do aesthetic objects also determine how they are experienced? The texts in the book consider their topic on the one hand empirically through examining concrete aesthetic objects from art, popular culture, and religion, but on the other, also by means of historical and theoretical reflections. By examining new adjustments to theory such as post-humanism, actor-network theory, object-oriented rational ontology, and speculative realism, conventional social-constructive explanatory models are transcended in favor of defining the aesthetic as a necessary interplay between object and experience.

2021, 224 pages

ISBN: 9783110702798
eISBN: 9783110774351

Volume 7 in the series Phoenix

Entrepreneurs of Identity
The Islamic State’s Symbolic Repertoire

Christoph Günther

Describing the Islamic State’s ideologues as ‘entrepreneurs of identity’, this book explores how the group defined categories of social identity and used them as tools of communicative and cognitive structuring. Based on a wide dossier of original texts, speeches, images, and videos, the book examines how these ideologues have built a symbolic repertoire around the black flag as well as ideas and social practices such as the dictum to command good and forbid wrong, the supervision of public behaviour, and the oath of allegiance to the Caliph.

January 2022, 220 pages


ISBN  978-1-80073-266-7
eISBN 978-1-80073-267-4 eBook

Ein günstiger Augenblick.
Das Jubiläum der Unabhängigkeit in Madagaskar

Mareike Späth

Series: Mainzer Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung Band 44

June 26, 2010 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of independence in Madagascar. Although a political crisis deeply divided the nation at that time, the anniversary was an important day for the people of Madagascar. This day was an opportunity to meet with family, to admire the fireworks together with friends, and to let oneself be carried away by the spectacular celebrations in the streets of the city. It was also a day of nationhood, on which many Malagasy people debated what belonging to a nation meant for them.

Last but not least, the jubilee was an occasion to discuss the state of independence today - fifty years after its proclamation. Exploring Madagascar’s independence jubilee from many different perspectives, this book also demonstrates that – well beyond the Malagasy example -- national holidays are important precisely because they make for great arguments.

2020, 279 pp.

ISBN: 978-3-89645-845-2

Rüdiger Köppe Verlag

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