Adaptation and Creativity in Africa - Technologies and Significations in the Production of Order and Disorder

Africa is witnessing one of the most precarious periods in its post-colonial time: new distributions of sovereignty and negotiated order at various levels. The capacities of African societies to navigate these changes are crucial, yet the determinants of these capacities are heavily under-researched.

The DFG Priority Programme 1448 “Adaptation and Creativity in Africa – Technologies and Significations in the Production of Order and Disorder” addresses the key question of how actors in post-colonial Africa deal with the multiple challenges – political, economic, social and otherwise – they are facing by mobilising and transforming their institutional capacities of adaptation and creativity. Particular attention is being paid to the role of technologies and systems of signification in the production of order and disorder. The research programme aims at utilizing the collaborative potential of African Studies in Germany, promoting cooperation within German African Studies and increasing its international visibility. It does so by facilitating innovative, interdisciplinary research and by promoting research approaches which are promising to take African agency serious.

The implementation of the SPP 1448 is shared by the Universities of Halle and Leipzig, with funding distributed by DFG to both institutions on an equal basis. The first of three two-year periods of the Priority Programme commenced on 1 January 2011 (until 30 November 2012).

Every second year a thematic conference will be held to discuss research results from the current project implementation phase. For this conference, visiting international researchers, including from Africa, will be invited. With reference to the research programme, the theme of the first biennial conference is “Significations and technologies”. The second will deal with “The production of order and disorder” and the third one with “Adaptation and Creativity in Africa”. In the first quarter of every year – from 2011 onwards – a workshop on methods will be organised which primarily, but not exclusively, aims at young researchers. Three summer schools will be held in Germany and another three summer schools will be held in Africa, for logistical reasons back-to-back with the thematic conferences, i.e. in Maputo, Bamako and Addis Ababa.