Point Sud, in cooperation with Northern universities and research centers, educates African graduate students predominantly in social anthropology, while graduate students from the Global North are provided access to a top-level international research setting. Besides the regular courses and fieldwork training for African scholarship holders, Point Sud organises a field school in Mali every two years in collaboration with the Goethe-University in Frankfurt/Main. This fieldwork training brings together graduate students from Frankfurt with their Malian counterparts from the University of Bamako who then conduct joint field research. Furthermore, the institute hosts the Point Sud Annual Institute (PSAI), an international summer school for young researchers, that is organised collaboration with its academic and financial partner institutions.
Regular Training for African Scholarship Holders
The general objective of the regular training is academic capacity building on the side of the African scholarship holders. The aims of the training are:
- to study the theory and practice of socio-scientific research methods,
- to analyse and write academic texts,
- to conceptualise and formulate individual research programs,
- to ameliorate their linguistic proficiency in English.
The training is open not only to Point Sud scholarship holders but also to graduate students of the department of social and human sciences at the University of Bamako and to other Malian institutions.
The lecturers are researchers of Point Sud and the University of Bamako, as well as highly renowned visiting scholars from abroad. Over the years, these have included Anil K Gupta (Indian Institute of Management, Vastrapur, Ahmedabad), Peter Mark (Wesleyan University), Carola Lentz (University of Mainz), Dolores Koenig (American University, Washington, DC), Kassim Koné (State University of New York), Katja Werthmann (University of Mainz), Tilo Graetz (Free University of Berlin), Dr Jan Jansen (University of Leiden), and many others.
Field Schools in Cooperation with the Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main
The first two field schools at Point Sud were held in 2001-2002 and 2003 in cooperation with the University of Bayreuth. A total of ten students participated in these field schools, which consisted language training in Bamana, predominantly spoken in Mali, and an introduction in field methods. Each German student worked together with an African counterpart on a daily basis. They shared the experiences of theoretical instructions, research in the field as well as the writing of scientific texts. The stay in Mali enabled the German students to establish contacts with development institutions in Mali as well to network with African, American and Dutch students working at Point Sud at the time.
Since 2005, these field schools have been organised in cooperation with the Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main. To date, three field schools have been held in Mali, in 2005, 2007 and 2009. A total of 18 students from Goethe-University participated in these trainings. After several semesters of preparation in Germany, the students spent two Months in Mali conducting fieldwork for projects covering various subjects together with their Malian counterparts from the University of Bamako. The results of these field schools and the experiences of the students have been published in various German newspaper articles and a collection of scholarly papers edited by Ute Roeschenthaler and Mamadou Diawara (see publications).
Point Sud Annual Institute (PSAI)
So far, two summer schools focusing on two different subjects have been held under the aegis of the Point Sud Annual Institute:
- “Authority and Power in the 21st Century”. This summer school was held in Bamako in February 2005 in collaboration with the Institut des Études Avancées in Nantes, the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Nantes, the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin and CODESRIA in Dakar.
- “Health and Society – Entangled Medical Fields: Transformation of Meaning, Knowledge and Practice”. This summer school was held at the University Omar Bongo in Libreville, Gabon, from 17th – 26th of July 2007 and was jointly organised as part of a German-French-African endeavour that included Point Sud (Bamako, Mali), the Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main (Germany), the University of Nantes (France) and the University of Omar Bongo in Libreville (Gabon). It was financed by the Volkswagen Foundation.