International Digital Exchange between Africa and Switzerland (IDEAS)

Do you like to travel and exchange? Do you see the social sciences as a method of cross-cultural learning? Do you want to develop your MA thesis in a truly transcontinental endeavor and gain practical skills for the time after your studies?

An exceptional two-semester academic project seeks MA students just like you. We have baptized it IDEAS (International Digital Exchange between Africa and Switzerland). Free of charge, with workshops in Basel and Bamako (Mali), it is open to MA students in the various disciplines of the social sciences across Switzerland—not only in African studies. What counts is your curiosity to see and study the social world from multiple perspectives.

Multi-sited course: Social Sciences, knowledge production and digitalization in theory and practice

The project connects students and professors from the universities of Basel, Bamako, and Conakry (Guinea) via an online platform. It features two practical courses, held simultaneously at all three universities: a methods class in fall 2019 and a theory class in the 2020 spring term, taught by experienced professors and dedicated staff. Online tools enable us to collaboratively concretize your ideas for your Masters theses, prepare presentations in transnational teams, and exchange thoughts on the contemporary challenges and prospects of social scientific knowledge production across the global north and south. The highlights will be two joint face-to-face workshops, one in Bamako in September 2019 and one in Basel in October 2020.

Funded by Movetia, the project is to enhance cross-continental mobility and learning. For all participants costs for flight and accommodation in Mali will be covered. As a pilot project, we prioritize quality over quantity: the classes will consist of seven students per country, which allows for an in-depth collective learning experience for each and everyone involved. 

Below you find specific information on the project. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to inform you about any concern you may have.

  • Yes, if you are a MA student at a Swiss university in any social scientific discipline (area studies, global studies, sociology, anthropology, political science, history, philosophy, archeology, development studies, etc.)
  • Yes, if you understand, speak, and write in French to a degree where you feel comfortable in a multi-lingual context (French, English)
  • Yes, if you have no aversion to working with online tools (an extensive introduction will be provided before the classes start)
  • You apply by sending your CV and a short motivation letter to The deadline is 15 June 2019.
  • Your CV should provide an overview on your previous studies and, if applicable: internships, foreign exchanges and travel experiences, foreign language skills, extra-curricular activities, publications in newspapers, blogs, or other media, etc.
  • The one-page motivation letter should succinctly state how you would benefit from the project and how you think you can contribute to it socially and academically.
  • As an IDEAS student, you commit to participating in both practical courses: one on methods in the 2019 fall term and one on theory in spring 2020 at the University of Basel.
  • You commit to joining our two workshops in Bamako and Basel (see dates below). 
  • You commit to developing your MA research during the project. The research projects will be presented at the final workshop in Basel and/or at the biannual conference of the Swiss Society for African Studies (SSAS/SGAS/SSEA).
  • July: Instruction workshop for working via the online platform
  • 2-6 September: Methodology workshop in Bamako, Mali  
  • 16 September – 20 December: Methodology course at the University of Basel
  • 17 February – 29 May: Theory course at the University of Basel
  • October: Theory workshop at the University of Basel
  • October: Presentation of MA research projects (SGAS conference in Switzerland)

University of Basel, Switzerland

  • Elísio Macamo (Center for African Studies Basel)
  • Joschka Philipps (Department for Social Sciences/swisspeace, Bern)
  • Noemi Steuer (Center for African Studies Basel)

University of Bamako, Mali

  • Bréma Ely Dicko (Département de Sociologie/Anthropologie)

University of Conakry, Guinea

  • Alpha Amadou Bano Barry (Département de Sociologie, Laboratoire d’Analyse Socio-Anthropologique de Guinée)
  • Soumahila Bayo (Département de Sociologie)