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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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"The Cluster gives me international visibility for our research"


Just as he was about to leave Bayreuth after his five-month stay, Babacar Mbaye Diop, Associate Professor in Aesthetics, Philosophy of Art and Culture at the Department of Philosophy of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, talked with us about his fellowship at the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence and how his stay helped his research. 

Professor Diop, your fellowship at the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence is coming to an end. What is your personal summary after your 5-month-stay at the University of Bayreuth? 

The outcome of my stay in Bayreuth is very positive in terms of exchanges and research. I exchanged a lot with my colleagues and the Cluster fellows. The Tuesday meetings, which at the beginning of my stay were face-to-face at the University, and then the webinar with the restrictions related to the pandemic, were very interesting and instructive. As for my research, I am very advanced on my article for which I came to Bayreuth, I think I will be able to finish it very soon. 

Which research topics were you working on during your stay with us? Do you feel like you were able to achieve what you have come here for?  

I worked on several research topics during my stay: the relational dimension in the artistic practices of the American African artsite Muhsana Ali and the Senegalese artist Kann-Si, decolonial aesthetics, the dynamic museum of Dakar, and the modes of relations between the West and Africa. 

Yes, after 5 months in Bayreuth, I can say that I have reached my goals. I am well ahead of schedule on the article on the notion of relationality and I think I will be able to finish it very soon. But my stay also allowed me to finish other research that I started in Dakar. Thus, I was able to write two texts that will be published in the book that I am editing with Professor Michaëlla OTT on Decolonial Aesthetics. I also wrote another text that I gave to Clarissa and Rüdiger for the book they are editing on African Relations: Reflected Modalities. I'm way ahead of schedule on the article I'm writing on diasporic experience that will be published in the book I'm editing with Prof. Ute Fendler and on the Black Atlantic 

What piqued your interest to become part of the Cluster of Excellence in the first place? 

Bayreuth is well known in African Studies. I had already heard about the Cluster of Excellence. And when I came to Bayreuth, I knew that I would find research groups with whom I could collaborate. My interest in being part of the Cluster of Excellence was aroused by the interdisciplinarity and the regular meetings organized to share our work. This gives an international visibility to our research. These are very important moments in the life of a researcher. 

In which ways have you contributed to the Cluster’s agenda? 

I participated regularly in the program organized by the Cluster during my stay. I presented my research twice in the framework of the Cluster Tuesdays and I did a conference with the Arts and Aesthetics research section. 

What is the next project for you on your academic journey? 

Finish my text on the notion of relationality, another on the diasporic experience.  

Publish a book on the ecosocialist philosphy of Léopold Sédar Senghor. 

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