African Transformations and Challenges (MDA)

Given the considerable evolution of knowledge on Africa, the goal of this project is to contribute both to the analysis of the transformations that the continent is currently undergoing and to the scientific thought that the continent is developing to face these challenges.

The project is organized around four thematic axes: “The invention of a new cosmopolitanism”, “Politico-religious recompositions”, “Environment, conflict, economic and political dynamics", and "Heritage, creation and self-invention” and three major objectives: research, training, and international cooperation.

Six original collaborative spaces (ECO) permit the partners to unite around specific projects which closely combine the thematic axes with the objectives.

The ECO are as follows:

  1. Colours: creation and perception, use and reception
  2. African elites in the world
  3. Biography / biographies
  4. Constraint, control, and African resistance
  5. Resources and conflict in Africa: "Mines, lands, roads and rails"
  6. Showing, speaking, and thinking of the self

The ECO produce regular workshops, seminars, and summer schools on the basis of a general principle of interdisciplinarity and cooperation between institutions and disciplines.

We work closely with our African colleagues and cover various aspects of training, both through the inclusion of Master’s students and through a system of scholarships and fellowships. 

The core of the project is formed by researchers who belong to 10 laboratories, institutes and networks:

  • European Centre for Sociology and Political Science : CESSP (EHESS, Paris 1, UMR 8209)
  • Centre for Social History of the Twentieth Century (CHS) (CNRS, Paris 1, UMR 8058)
  • Institute for the Study of Economic and Social Development: IEDES-UMR Development and Societies  (Paris 1, IRD, UMR 201)
  • Identity and territory populations (National Institute for Demographic Studies)(INED)
  • Institute of African Worlds: IMAF (EHESS, Paris 1, IRD, EPHE, Université Aix-Marseille)
  • Research Centre for the Organization and Dissemination of Geographic Information: PRODIG (Paris 1, CNRS, IRD, UMR 8586)
  • Emerging Actors Network: RIAM (FMSH)
  • Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Social Issues : IRIS (EHESS)
  • National Heritage Institute (INP)
  • Young researchers in African Studies (JCEA) 

The Africa and Middle East Department of the National School of Administration (ENA) is also closely associated with the project.  We also involve researchers from other institutions and laboratories, such as Africas in the World laboratory (LAM) at the University of Bordeaux.

An interdisciplinary conference entitled “What innovative contemporary epistemology owes to Africa" marks the end of the project.