Namibian and Southern African Studies

Since 2016, Namibian and Southern African Studies has been a key area at the Centre for African Studies. This research area draws from the concept, developed in Basel, of a 'South African Empire', and understands the subcontinent from its margins - in this case, Namibia. The focus is on history and geography, thus an exploration of space and time in the past and present. Another focus is the study of different forms and practices of visuality, such as photography and cartography.


Teaching / Events

We offer a regular course programme in Namibian and Southern African Studies, consisting of thematic and interdisciplinary seminars and exercises, as well as the Namibian and Southern African Research Colloquium. As part of this event, the annual Namibia Research Day is held, where young scientists from various disciplines present their ongoing research.

Research Colloquium

No news available.

Cooperation / Partnerships

Central to the key area Namibian and Southern African Studies are close collaborations with partners in southern Africa and also within the University of Basel and other research institutions worldwide. In Basel, these include close ties with the Basler Afrika Bibliographien and the Department of Environmental Sciences. In Namibia, intensive collaborations have taken place with the Museums Association of Namibia and the University of Namibia (UNAM), in particular with the Department of Geography, History and Tourism, with whom an exchange agreement was concluded in 2017. Building on this, we will establish further forms of cooperation.


Paul Grendon, Giorgio Miescher, Lorena Rizzo, Tina Smith (eds.), 2015
Usakos – Photographs Beyond Ruins. The Old Location Albums 1920s–1960s

The exhibition Photographs Beyond Ruins focuses on a central Namibian town, Usakos. The town’s history is linked to the development of the South African railway system in Namibia, which brought remarkable prosperity to Usakos in the 1940s and 1950s but which caused a major socio-economic decline in the early 1960s.

Maano Ramutsindela, Giorgio Miescher, Melanie Boehi (eds.), 2016
The Politics of Nature and Science in Southern Africa

This book brings together recent and ongoing empirical studies to examine two relational kinds of politics, namely, the politics of nature, i.e. how nature conservation projects are sites on which power relations play out, and the politics of the scientific study of nature.