Research and education with Africa

Africa research and teaching can be found in all scientific areas and faculties at Uppsala University. Meanwhile, some departments have developed a strong and active Africa-oriented milieu where academic activities in, on, and with Africa have formed an integral part of the department’s work since its foundation.

The Department of Archaeology and Ancient History has since the 1980s been involved in collaborations with archaeology departments and museum institutions in Africa. Researchers at the department are currently engaged in several large, international projects together with research centres in Africa and Europe on the topics of e.g. environmental resilience and climate change adaptation in Africa.  The department offers a graduate course entitled Africa, Food, Metals and Towns (7.5 ECTs).

Almost a third of the researchers at the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology are involved in research based in Africa, with a strong focus on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, and involving a number of large, formalized collaborations with African universities. Interests in Africa have spanned over many thematic areas: from customs, folk models and material culture (in the 1970s and 1980s) to democracy and local politics, conflict, government, development, foreign aid, health, and Afrophobia (presently). The department offers undergraduate courses in African Studies: a full semester course in English (30 ECTs) that can also be taken as individual courses. The department is also the host of Forum for Africa Studies, led by Sten Hagberg, Professor in Cultural Anthropology. The Department is involved in research collaboration with several African countries, including Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Mali.

The Department of Peace and Conflict Research is involved in a number of qualitative and quantitative research projects in Africa on the topics of e.g. communal conflicts, regional peace complexes, reconciliation processes, climate change and conflict, electoral violence, and post-conflict governance. In collaboration with the Nordic Africa Institute, the department hosts the Claude Ake Visiting Chair, which invites social scientists at African universities studying issues of war, peace, conflict resolution, human rights, democracy and development in Africa. In cooperation with the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and the Swedish consultancy firm Indevelop, the department is also in charge of the international training programme Peace and Security in Africa (PASA), which offers capacity building for African inter- or non-governmental organizations working with peace and security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

International Maternal and Child Health, a research and education unit within the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, is engaged in a number of transdisciplinary research projects in, with, and about Africa. The research group of International Child Health and Nutrition currently collaborates with Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. The research group International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration collaborates with ministries, hospitals and universities in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Kenya, the DRC, and Mozambique. Research often concerns inequity in health, and the role of socioeconomic and cultural aspects in e.g. maternal mortality and prenatal care, overuse of caesarean deliveries, and abortion care and stigma.

The International Science Programme (ISP) is a Sida-sponsored program that provides long-term support to the development of strong research environments and postgraduate education in developing countries within the fields of physics, chemistry, and mathematics. The focus of ISP is on institutions of higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is currently engaged in 27 African countries, though most activities are centred in Burkina Faso, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Since its creation at the Department of Physics in Uppsala in 1961, ISP has provided support to the exchange of scientists; postgraduate training (e.g. sandwich model); and the purchase of equipment, consumables, literature, and computing tools for research institutions in various countries in Africa. While Uppsala University is the base of operation, the programme involves many departments at other Swedish, Nordic, and European institutions of higher learning.

There are also a number of specific projects, programmes, and courses at Uppsala University which partly or fully involve African countries or questions with special relevance for Africa. Information on these, as well as more general information about Uppsala University’s engagement with Africa (its geographical spread across the African continent; its distribution across Uppsala University's different faculties, as well as the different forms of academic activities and types of collaborations involved) can be found in a mapping exercise done by Forum for Africa Studies in 2016-2017. A new mapping is being done in 2023-2024.




Uppsala University's Forum for Africa Studies