Studying at the ifeas

The ifeas is one of the largest departments of anthropology in Germany. There are currently around 1000 students enrolled in our programmes. We teach a broad spectrum of topics and offer around 40 different courses and lectures each semester, which you are free to choose from. In addition, you will have extensive scope for developing and pursuing your own thematic interests within and beyond the courses offered. Despite our relatively large size, we maintain an open and welcoming atmosphere at the ifeas, which facilitates easy contact with staff members and other students. We regularly welcome internationally renowned scholars to our public lecture series, host international conferences, and also offer internships and hands-on experience in our special collections.


International students have several options for studying at the Department of Social Anthropology and African Studies. We offer a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Anthropology, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Linguistics with a specialisation in African Languages and Linguistics, a Ph.D. in Anthropology and a Ph.D. in African Languages and Linguistics. Although the language of instruction at JGU is usually German, at least two seminars are held in English each term, depending on the demand. Moreover, additional seminars in English are organised by different departments specially for Erasmus students.

Want to know more about the programmes taught at the ifeas? For more information, see


The department covers a broad spectrum of both research and teaching activities. These include social, political, religious and economic anthropology, the politics and sociology of development, media and visual anthropology, modern popular culture, African literatures, African music, theatre and film, and African languages. Our research areas and, hence also, the regional focus of our teaching include West Africa (Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Nigeria, Niger), Central Africa (Rwanda, Cameroon, Gabon), East Africa (Tanzania) and Southern Africa (Namibia, Madagascar) and African-Caribbean connections and the Black Atlantic. The curriculum is regularly supplemented by teaching assignments covering different research topics and regions.

Collections and internships

The department has three special and internationally renowned collections: the African Music Archive, the Jahn library for African literature and the ethnographic collection. Other collections, such as the African Video Archive, are also available. The various media held by these collections are broadly integrated into our teaching and practical training. Staff members also draw on this vast collection of material in the organisation of literary lunch sessions and film screenings. It is also possible for students to work with these collections in the context of an internship. The AMA and the ethnographic collection, in particular, regularly allow interns to use the collection materials for exhibitions, digitisation, and the organisation of concerts and events and using the AMA’s film editing facilities. ERASMUS offers the possibility for funding three-month internships.

Public lectures and conferences

As part of the departmental seminar and lecture series (Institutskolloquium) we regularly invite international and interdisciplinary guests and, in this way, expand both the thematic and regional focus of the department. Recent invitees have included: Joep Leerssen (Amsterdam), Sirupa Roy (Göttingen), Maurice Bloch (London), John Comaroff (Chicago), Kelly M. Askew (Michigan/Berlin), Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan (Niamey), Sten Hagberg (Uppsala) and Daniel Avorgbedor (Legon/Cape Coast). The department regularly organises the biannual international Jahn-Symposium on African literature and other thematic conferences, and hosts international conferences, such as the biannual meeting of the German Anthropological Association (DGV) in 2013 and the biannual meeting of German Africanists (VAD) in 2010.

Students' association

The department’s students’ association organises a number of programmes and events for students: to name just a few of their activities, the seminar series ‘anthropologists in practice’, a weekend programme for first year students and the ‘Mainzchester School’, a discussion group by and with students of anthropology (see If you have further questions concerning student life or your stay in Mainz, please contact the student representatives (

Erasmus students

The department participates in the ERASMUS European student exchange programme and has established bilateral agreements with the following universities throughout Europe: University of Vienna (Austria); University of Siena (Italy); Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium); University of Aarhus and University of Copenhagen (Denmark); École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales EHESS, Paris, Université Paris X, Nanterre, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, Université de Provence, Aix-Marseille and Université Ségalen, Bordeaux (France); Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Centro de Estudos Africanos CEA/ISCTE, Lisbon (Portugal); Universidad Complutense de Madrid, University of Granada (Spain); Uppsala University, Högskolan Dalarna (Sweden); Isik Üniversitesi, Istanbul (Turkey); University of Kent at Canterbury (United Kingdom).