German scholars and research foundations have long been successfully working beyond the Anglo- and Francophone research traditions established by the former colonial powers in Africa. Not only have they been successful in themselves overcoming geographic and linguistic boundaries, but they have also encouraged exchange and dialogue between these different research traditions. In this capacity, German academics are in a unique position to play an important role in promoting the establishment of a truly postcolonial academic community in Africa.
As a place of joint research, the “Point Sud Research Centre for Local Knowledge” in Bamako/Mali is to play an instrumental role in efforts to attain this goal. To this end, Frankfurt University and the German Research Foundation (DFG) have agreed to support the “Programme Point Sud” with which Africa-related activities in the humanities and social sciences at the Point Sud venue can be funded.
The general objectives of the programme include:
- the establishment of a centre for interdisciplinary research and exchange between scholars and institutions from Germany, Europe, Africa and other parts of the world,
- the networking of scholars and research institutions both on the north-south axis as well as within Africa and with researchers from South America and Asia (south-south axis),
- the formation of young scholars,
- the transition of language barriers and academic traditions.
The programme is open to all researchers based in Germany working on Africa-related themes. The various individual activities hosted by the centre in any given year will be selected and coordinated by a programme committee (see “Organisation). For the purposes of applying for DFG support, individual funding applications for the specific activities will be bundled and submitted by the Goethe University of Frankfurt to the DFG as a single collective application, which will then be evaluated by the DFG. Financial support by the DFG will cover the costs of travel and accommodation for participants of activities that have been granted financial support. Requests for funding will be assessed according to the following general principles:
- Types of activity eligible for funding are: Traditional formats such as conferences, seminars, workshops, graduate schools, summer schools and field schools of various scales. Furthermore, innovative activities such as project development workshops and forums to promote kickoff meetings for new research endeavors, themes and scientific networks will be given privileged consideration.
- A particular concern of the programme is to establish long-term relations with scholars as well as scientific institutions and networks. In this sense, follow-up workshops by scientists who have already participated in the programme are especially welcomed. Furthermore, the programme offers the possibility for postdoctoral research networks and junior academic groups to apply for two consecutive workshops with the same group of participants.
- Although the programme is primarily oriented towards the social sciences and humanities, initiatives that aim to promote interdisciplinary cooperation with the natural sciences and medicine are particularly welcome. There are no thematic requirements except that the initiative is relevant to Africa.