History, Goethe University in Frankfurt on Main, Germany

Anthropology, History

Octobre 2015 à Juin 2016


Mamadou DIAWARA is Professor for Anthropology at the Institut für Ethnologie at Goethe University, Frankfurt/Germany. He is Deputy Director of the Frobenius Institute and the Founding Director of Point Sud, Center for Research on Local Knowledge, in Bamako, Mali. He is also one of the Principal Investigators in the Cluster of Excellence. Before he joined Goethe University in 2004, he was Henry Hart RICE Professor for Anthropology and History at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, professor for history at the University of Georgia and Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 1994/1995. He was John G. DIEFENBAKER fellow at University Laval, Québec, Canada. His areas of research include media, history, oral tradition, and local knowledge in sub-Saharan Africa.

Search project

"Local Media Facing Western Media in a Context of Orality in Africa"

Music in sub-Saharan Africa is produced in a context inherently marked by orality. The anthropology of media was rather discreet, if not invisible before 2002, but when the media started being used as a means to transform communities, the subject began to captivate anthropologists. The aim of this study is to understand when, why and how actors resort to their own norms of knowledge production and diffusion? When do they set these norms against the State? How are music and its public enactment (performance) transformed, whilst being appropriated by individuals, meaning authors? And how is copyright inscribed in a context that does not traditionally use it (as in the case of Blues in the United States)? This book, with its strong comparative approach (anthropology, history, law as seen and lived by common people), takes a look at this lively scene and at the struggle for rights.


2003. L’empire du verbe. L’éloquence du silence, Köln, Köppe Verlag.

2013 « Justice in whose name: The domestication of copyright in Subsaharan Africaé, In Justice and Peace. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on a Contested Relationship, Gunther Hermann (Hg), Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 140-162.

2012 « Green Tea in the Sahel: The social history of an itinerant consumer good », Canadian Journal of African Studies, 46, 1, pp. 39–64.

2011 « Die Jagd nach den Piraten. Zur Herausbildung von Urheberrechten im Kontext der Oralität im subsaharischen Afrika », Sociologus, 61, 1, pp. 69-89.

2010. Historical Memory In Africa. Dealing with the Past, Reaching for the Future in an Intercultural Context, with Bernard Lategan, and Jörn Rüsen (eds.), New York, Berghahn.