The history of Africa has been taught at the Department of History at the University of Basel since 1989. From 2001 to 2008, the Carl Schlettwein Foundation funded a professorship with a focus on Southern Africa. This was transformed into a structural professorship in the Department of History in 2008. From 2008 to 2015, the Carl Schlettwein Foundation also funded a lectureship position (50%) attached to the chair of African History, which is now supported by the university.
The field of African history deals with the variety and complexity of social, cultural, political, and economic transformation processes in Africa and the African Diaspora. African history considers the history of the whole continent from early times until the present. The main regional focus of the chair of African history at the University of Basel is Southern Africa but we also teach on West, East, and Central Africa. The temporal focus in teaching and research is on the period from the 18th to the 21st centuries.
The chair of African history is a member of the Centre for African Studies in Basel (ZASB) and the Competence Centre on Africa at the University of Basel. We closely collaborate with the Basler Africa Bibliographien (BAB), Mission 21 as well as with other chairs and centres of the University of Basel (such as the Anthropology department, the Swiss Tropical Institute, the Urban and Landscape Studies Institute and the Institute for European Global Studies). We have international exchange agreements with the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The chair for African history regularly organises a research seminar in African history: program.