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The following interviews and contributions were originally published on our BIGSAS blog. The blog has been deactivated since. Formatting, style and pictures were adopted from the original blog posts as far as possible. In some cases format and pictures had to be altered to be compatible with this website.

Interview Conferences

Unpacking the Black Box International Conference (01.09.2022)

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All BIGSAS Junior Fellow regularly receive emails with calls for academic conferences. While these calls are always read with great interest, conferences are still often perceived as black boxes. Even though the topic of the conference might fit the dissertation, uncertainties and questions arise: Are my findings good enough to be presented? How could I possibly boil down the content of my PhD to a 20-min presentation? Is the right time to present at a conference?

On 12th January 2022 all BIGSAS Junior Fellows received a Call for Papers for the Graduate Student Panel of the African Epistemologies for the 21st Century Conference, hosted by the Council on African Studies at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. On Saturday, March 5th we, Catheline Nyabwengi and Monika Rohmer, presented during the Graduate Student Panel. Here, we want to share our personal experiences to encourage other Junior Fellows to share their research.


Our new dean of BIGSAS – Meet Prof. Dr. Andrea Behrends (10.03.2022)

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Prof.  Dr. Andrea Behrends ist seit Januar 2022 offiziell die neu gewählte Leiterin der BIGSAS und folgt damit Prof. Dr. Martina Drescher, die das Amt seit 2019 bekleidet hat. Als Vice-Dean des Ressort Early Career & Equal Opportunity übernimmt Frau Behrends automatisch die Leitung der BIGSAS und ist für die akademische Koordination der Aufgaben dieser Ressorts und die Förderung von Nachwuchswissenschaftler*innen, Doktorand*innen und Postdocs im Cluster verantwortlich.

Da bis zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt nicht alle Angehörigen der BIGSAS bzw. des Clusters die Möglichkeit hatten Prof. Behrends persönlich kennen zu lernen, möchten wir sie gerne im Rahmen eines kurzen Interviews vorstellen.

BIGSAS Junior Fellow Thierry Boudjekeu

Interview with BIGSAS Junior Fellow Thierry Boudjekeu on his passion for classical music, his career goals, and the relationship between the African and the European continent (22.12.2021)

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The name is probably well known among Bayreuth students: Thierry Boudjekeu. Born in Cameroon, he came to Bayreuth in spring 2015 for his master’s degree in “Etudes Francophones” and has been a BIGSAS Junior Fellow since December 2019. In addition to many other interests, such as his involvement as president of the Model African Union e.V., classical music and the associated enthusiasm for European composers play a particularly important role in his life.

Celebrating Ramadan

A guest contribution by Dina Sodjadan with translations by Yao Sodjadan:

BIGSAS Junior Fellows Dikko Muhammad and Adama Drabo: A Ramadan Experience in Bayreuth (13.05.2021) 

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Dikko Muhammad has already spent three fasting months in Germany. For the northern Nigerian, the experience in Germany is completely different from what he knows from his home country. Even though he feels a kind of alienation, he learns to situate himself with the resources that are available here.

Interview with BIGSAS Junior Fellow Joh Sarre: I've never been bored (22.04.2021) 

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When Joh Sarre came to Bayreuth for a doctorate in April 2014, it was not only a new beginning, but also a reunion. The university had already won Joh over ten years earlier. Shortly after graduating from high school, Joh came to the university in 2004 to begin the – then relatively new – bachelor’s degree in Culture and Society of Africa. A six-month volunteer service in Tanzania – where Joh (admirably, quite incidentally) also learned Swahili – had awakened a deep interest in and attachment to East Africa that Joh maintains to this day. Subsequent stays finally also created the idea for Joh’s bachelor thesis on religious choral music in Tanzania.

Interview with BIGSAS Junior Fellow Catheline NyabwengiWomen as violent actors (22.02.2021)

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Catheline Nyabwengi joined BIGSAS in winter 2020, making her a relatively “new” Junior Fellow. Even though she is in the earliest stages of her dissertation, she already has an interesting story to tell. Her academic endeavour took off when she was writing her master’s thesis about the history and transformation of the Chinkororo Movement – a violent group formation in Kenya. In the course of her master’s thesis, she had a realization that brought about the idea for her doctoral project: Where are the women?

Interview with BIGSAS AlumnuEmnet Tadesse Woldegiorgis: A Passion for Higher Education (08.02.2021)

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Emnet Tadesse Woldegiorgis is an Associate Professor of Higher Education Studies at the University of Johannesburg. He has been researching higher education issues in Africa since 2006. He completed his PhD at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, where he worked as a researcher since 2015. His research focuses on South-South partnership models, regionalisation and internationalisation of higher education in Africa, decolonization debates and economics of higher education.

Interview with BIGSAS Alumna Maike Voigt: West Africa, East Africa, Upper Franconia, Lower Saxony – Maike Voigt always finds her way (24.01.2021)

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She really enjoyed writing the master’s thesis, as well as dealing with theories and enriching them with her own empirical data. “Working out something of my own” was ultimately an incentive to start her doctorate. In addition to the skills, she had learned and been able to try out in her master’s programme, it was also the offer of a research assistant position that encouraged her to take up her doctorate.

Interview with BIGSAS Junior Fellow Dandara Maia: WAXATLAS – Mapping African Prints (09.12.2020)

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Dandara Maia joined BIGSAS in October of 2019. Her journey to this point could be called unconventional. Graduating 2012 in Fashion Design and working several years in the fashion industry in Rio de Janeiro, she was specialized in textile print design. But her scientific interest grew deeper and she rejoined academia.

Interview with Professor Dr Thoko KaimeTeaching is his Passion (03.12.2020)

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“The first duty of a professor is to teach” – Thoko Kaime

Studying law does not only mean to read a lot of books or run across the hallway of a law firm for 80 hours a week – let’s put aside the clichés – law permeates all spheres of our lives and can be linked with a multitude of perspectives in an interdisciplinary way. The interdisciplinary character of legal studies is one of the reasons Kaime came to Bayreuth.

Interview with BIGSAS Alumnus Gemechu Abeshu: Receiving the "Preis der Stadt Bayreuth" (09.11.2020)

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Gemechu Adimassu Abeshu completed his doctoral studies at BIGSAS in 2019, after four challenging years. He is now a policy consultant working in Canada on several projects. He shares his experiences in Bayreuth and beyond during a demanding time of research, activism and family separation.

BIGSAS Junior Fellow Valerie Gruber

Interview with Valerie Gruber: Connecting Latin America and Africa (14.10.2020)

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If you take a look at the profile of our Junior Fellow Valerie Gruber, you will quickly notice that a lot has happened before she started her doctoral studies. Valerie graduated in 2016 with a Master’s degree in International Cultural and Business Studies in Passau and has spent several study-related stays in Spain, Mexico and Brazil. Finally, she sticked to Brazil, lived in ‘favelas’ and got in touch with the Afro-descendant population there. These encounters eventually led her from Salvador da Bahia to Bayreuth.

Interview with Kamel Shaden: The Power of Social Media (01.09.2020)

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It was during her bachelor studies at the October University for Modern Sciences and Arts in Egypt (in mass communication with a major in journalism) when the Arab Spring started to emerge. Studying in Egypt she was able to witness political participation of her fellow Egyptians. That’s when she decided to focus on social media as a starting point. In conversation with Junior Fellow Shaden Kamel.

Interview with Charles Moyo: Follow the Fellow​ (13.08.2020)

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Charles Moyo completed his doctoral studies in 2019 and went back to his home country Zimbabwe. The Alumnus is now based in Zambia, working as a Senior Associate for the RHOMA Foreign Relations Institute. He describes the challenges he faced during his doctoral studies in Bayreuth and the transition into the job market.

Interview with Lena Naumann: Pulling the Strings (22.07.2023)

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If you take a look at her biography, you will recognise two influential elements – on the one hand, her place of study and her life in Bayreuth; on the other hand, her passion for a variety of cultural, artistic and music-related projects. Today in conversation: Lena Naumann.

Webmaster: Prof.Dr. Andrea Behrends

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