DFG-Programme Point Sud: The Research Centre Point Sud in Bamako, Mali

The Research Centre »Point Sud - Local Knowledge«

Point Sud is an international, autonomous research institute dedicated to new forms of cooperation between “the South” and “the North” and “Southern” countries themselves. Based on an initiative of Malians of both local and overseas origin, the centre was established in cooperation with the University of Bayreuth, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and other academic institutions such as the École Des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and the Center for International and Area Studies of Yale University, USA.

Point Sud – Local Knowledge” analyses interactions between local knowledge and practices on one side and national or global projects of modernisation and governance on the other. Point Sud supports research on cultural roots of local knowledge and related answers to local, national, and global. Therefore, one of the major projects of the institute is the systematic recording of oral traditions and other oral sources.

The centre supports research projects which bring together researchers from all over the world and organises international seminars and colloquiums. Point Sud further grants financial support to young researchers and their projects. The centre is managed by Prof. Dr. Mamadou Diawara, professor of anthropology at Goethe University. Since 2004 Goethe University has financed the infrastructure of the centre.

The DFG-Programme Point Sud

In 2008 Goethe University and the DFG (German Research Funding Organisation) initiated the “Programme Point Sud”. While Goethe University covers all expenditures for infrastructure, DFG finances one application package with up to five events per year. Applications can be made by German researchers once per year, regardless of their discipline or university. The objective of the programme is:

  • The establishment of a centre for interdisciplinary research and exchange between scholars and institutions from Germany, Europe, Africa, and other parts of the world.
  • Academic networking between African scholars and research institutions within Africa as well as on the North-South-axis, and with researchers from South America and Asia.
  • The promotion and support of young researchers.
  • To overcome language barriers and dogmatic traditions of academic discourse.

The programme seeks close cooperation with the University of Bamako and other local research and education institutions. The members of the Point Sud management board are Prof. Mamadou Diawara (Goethe University Frankfurt), Prof. Andreas Eckert (Humboldt University Berlin), Prof. Robert Kappel (GIGA Hamburg), Prof. Dieter Neubert (University of Bayreuth), and Prof. Brigit Obrist (University of Basel).

Click here for details on the last funding period (2012/2013) and further information on current activities.

In the next four years (2013-2017) the Programme Point Sud will be organised by several institutions in Burkina Faso, Gabun, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and South Africa. Events will be organised in all of these countries. This provides various new networking opportunities for German Africa researchers.