The African continent is rapidly urbanizing. If this point is agreed upon by a wide variety of actors—from  media, to governments, UN agencies, development banks as well as scholars—there is far less consensus about what this process will mean for Africans. As regional and global crossroads, African cities refract broader geo-economic and political trends, often in innovative, anticipatory and unexpected ways.

  • What new political orders and subjectivities are produced in fast-growing and diverse cities?
  • How do urban residents reformat social relations across time and space, folding in practices of solidarity as well as indifference?
  • If urbanization denotes processes of establishing and distributing public and common goods, how are under-resourced cities positioning themselves to meet the needs of the rising urban populations?
  • In what ways are rights—to land, to the city, to political participation, to expression—constituted or reshaped in relation to formal and informal modes of urban governance? When are differences—of gender, generations, class, ethnicity, or migration history—made to matter, and in what ways?

Now in its second year, the AAUD will bring together last year’s fellows and a new cohort of 8-10 post-field work doctoral students exploring diversity in African cities to refine their research focus, promote professional development, and build trans-national scholarly communities. Half of each cohort will be reserved for scholars enrolled in doctoral programs at African Universities, while the other half is open to scholars of urban Africa based elsewhere.

Each cohort meets in two intensive workshops. For the 2018 Cohort, the first workshop (to be held in Berlin from September 12 to 16 2018) combines advanced seminars on theories of the urban, migration, and diversity by leaders in the field; peer worshiping of dissertation plans; professional development; and international networking. In the second workshop, to be held November 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa, fellows convene to present their work and organize a seminar for the incoming cohort of fellows to kick off the next round.

The AAUD supports a new generation of scholars in the humanistic social sciences pursing research that advances knowledge about mobility and urban diversity in Africa. We welcome applicants from all social sciences disciplines, including but not limited to anthropology, contemporary history, sociology, political science, economics, human geography, urban studies, and planning. We also encourage applicants from other disciplines who engage expressly with urban theory. Applicants should have completed data collection by the time of the academy, and be in the initial phase of the write-up period. While we push for theoretical engagement, projects should be empirically grounded.