CECI n'est pas EXECUTE Mondes américains : Presentation of the Centre of African Studies

English version |

Presentation of the Centre of African Studies

EHESS, 96 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris - tel. 33 0(1) 53 63 56 50


Director: Jean-Paul Colleyn
Deputy Director: Fabienne Samson Ndaw

Secretary of Direction and Education: Elisabeth Dubois
Administrative Secretary: Carole Craz
Research Assistance & Webmaster: Monique Chevallier-Schwartz

Since its creation in 1957

The Centre of African Studies (Centre d’études africaines - CEAf) has contributed to the renewal of social sciences research on Africa and its global diaspora. Anthropologists, geographers, historians and sociologists associated with the Centre work in a multi-disciplinary perspective, considering the past in the analysis of the present and space in the analysis of societies. As a place of education and influence of a large part of French anthropology, the CEAf continues to diversify its research themes and to renew its research questions.

After the years 1960-1970

In this period of classical monographic fieldwork, the Centre carried out studies of the transformation of the African rural world as well as developed anthropological analyses of the religious and political arenas. Its researchers explored processes of collective identification, practices and representations related to illness and African symbolic systems. It also developed a sociology of urban areas and social mobility, and a geography of migrations.

During the 1990s

The African continent experienced profound changes. The end of the Cold War, liberal economic policies, attempts at democratization, the blossoming of NGOs and humanitarian intervention as the new model of international presence accompanied a series of crises: the disintegration of institutions, socio-political conflicts, civil wars, population displacements, and, sometimes extreme violence. The analysis in normative terms of “crisis”, however, proved to be ineffective because it keeps, in the background, a dualistic paradigm, opposing a communautariste tradition to an anomic modernity. The exhaustion of this model has reinforced the necessity of an anthropology of the contemporary dynamics of Africa that integrates change over time and has a greater awareness of the genealogy of current situations.

The mutations

The dynamics of Africa and the African Diasporas open up new fields of investigation to researchers, PhD students (now numbering over 150) and post-doctoral young researchers who make the CEAf a lively breeding ground of intellectual activity. Four research teams cover the fields of research being explored by the Centre. Two teams are concerned with territorial systems, contexts of violence, spaces of mobility and political spaces from a historical and contemporary point of view. Two other teams study the tools and items of knowledge, arts and belief, and the social and political dynamics associated with the representations that they each convey.

In the past few years

The CEAf has developed collaborations with the ISH of Bamako, with the IFAS in Johannesburg, and the IFRA in Ibadan. These collaborations come in addition to ancient but still active ties with the University of Kinshasa and several universities in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. The CEAf maintains close relationships with Africanist research centres in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Portugal. In June 2006, the CEAf became part of the AEGIS academic network [Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies]. It also cooperates with the University of Illinois (USA). More than fifty foreign researchers have worked with the CEAf between 2000 and 2009.


The CEAf houses les Cahiers d’études africaines, a quarterly academic journal of the EHESS on the social sciences in Africa, the Antilles, and the Black Americas. The CEAf also publishes a collection of books entitled Dossiers africains.

Association for the defence and illustration of African and South Sea Islands arts (ADEIAO)

Image1The CEAf has been hosting the ADEIAO since 1996, as part of our policy for engaging the general public, and in particular in relation to African art and creation. The ADEIAO has amassed an important collection of works from African and Oceanian artists (112 paintings, sculptures, engravings, 32 drawings of the Dogon artist Alaye Ato, and 23 large black and white photographic prints). It has organized several high quality exhibitions in the hall of the MSH/EHESS at 54 bd Raspail, Paris 6.

The works presented included:

  • artists of sub-Saharan Africa: the Ethiopian Skunder Boghossian, painter, and Bethe Sélassié, sculptor; the Senegalese painters: Fode camara, Iba N’Diaye, Assane N’Doye, Souleymane Keita, Ousseynou Sarr, Diagne Chanel and William Sagna; the Zimbabwean sculptors: Mukomberanwa, Mamvura, Takawira; the Mozambicans:  Malangatana, painter, and Alberto Chissano, sculptor; les painters ivoiriens : N’Guessan Kra,  Théodore Koudougnon, Ouattara…; the Dogon artist Alaye Atô; the Togolese painter Clemclem Lawson; the Poto-Poto School, the popular Congolese painters Moke and Chéri Samba; the Cape Verdean painters Manuel and Tchale Figueira, Luisa Queiros, Bella Duarte… and the Angolan painter Franck. K. Lundangi.

  • Artists of the Maghreb: the Algerians: Bahia, Khadda, Koraïchi, Aksouh, Tibouchi, the Tunisians: Kamel, Turqui, Mahdaoui, the Moroccan: Bellamine, Lagzouli…

  • As well as Oceanian artists: Napangati, Tjangala, Watson.

Faced with the relocation of the MSH/EHESS, lacking the financial means for another move, the extraordinary General Assembly of February 24, 2011 decided to dissolve the ADEIAO.

Prior to the dissolution, the ADEIAO had donated all of its collection to the National Museum of Mali at Bamako, on December 10, 2008. The collection thus became the core of a department of international contemporary art, fulfilling its director Samuel Sidibe’s long aspiration.

The ADEIAO had also donated all remaining catalogues to different organizations: BSF (Bibliothèques sans Frontière), Apiculture (Ministry of Culture), the Centre Pompidou library, the contemporary art archives of the University of Rennes, the library of the Quai Branly Museum, the FFSAM (Fédération française des Sociétés d’Amis de Musée), the FFSAM of Ile de France, the MSH library at 190 avenue de France Paris 13, the Bamako Museum in Mali…  

For more information, please visit the ADEIAO website, it holds the Association’s memory.

Contact : adeiao@orange.fr


flux rss  Actualités