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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Annual Thematic Institutes

CODESRIA Institutes are interdisciplinary forums that bring together African scholars undertaking innovative research on topics related to the broad themes of:

Governance (Democratic Governance Institute)

Gender (Gender Institute)

African Studies (CODESRIA/CASB Summer School in African Studies)

Humanities Institute

The Institutes serve the critical function of forging links between a younger generation of African scholars and intellectuals, by giving them access to recent literature, and enabling them to participate in current debates, renew their research capacities and update their conceptual, theoretical and methodological capacities.

Increasingly, the Institutes have also appealed to the interests of the African policy community and civil society activists, thereby allowing a judicious mix of participants to be admitted to the Institutes. In general, a total of 15 African scholars from across the continent and the diaspora, plus a few non-African scholars, participate in each Institute each year.

The activities of all CODESRIA Institutes centre on presentations by resident researchers, visiting resource persons and the participants whose applications for admission as laureates are successful. The sessions are led by a scientific director who, with the help of invited resource persons, ensures that the laureates are exposed to a wide range of research and policy issues generated by or arising from the theme of the Institute. Open discussions drawing on books and articles relevant to the theme of a particular institute or a specific topic within the theme are also encouraged.

Each participant selected to participate in any of the Council’s Institutes as a laureate is required to prepare a research paper to be presented during the course of the Institute they attend. Laureates are expected to produce a revised version of their research papers for consideration for publication by CODESRIA.

For each Institute, CODESRIA’s Documentation and Information Centre (CODICE) prepares a comprehensive bibliography on the theme. Access is also facilitated to a number of documentation centres in and around Dakar.

Democratic Governance Institute

CODESRIA’s Democratic Governance Institute was launched in 1992. It has been held every year since then in Dakar, Senegal, and in other locations. The 2020 edition was postponed due to limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This institute, however, took place virtually in 2021.

The main objectives of the Democratic Governance Institute are to:



Encourage the sharing of experiences between researchers, activists and policymakers from different disciplines, methodological and conceptual orientations and geographical/linguistic zones on a common theme over an extended period.




Promote and enhance a culture of democratic values that allows Africans to effectively identify and tackle the governance issues that confront their continent.



Foster the participation of scholars in discussions and debates about the processes of democratisation taking place in Africa.



The Institute has slightly over 500 laureates since its founding and a listing can be found here.

Upcoming Institute: to be announced

Gender Institute

The Gender Institute was launched in 1996, the second CODESRIA institute to be set in motion. It was a direct product of the decision reached at the 8th General Assembly of the Council held in Dakar, Senegal, in December 1995, to integrate gender research and methods into the mainstream of the Council’s work.

In deciding to create the Gender Institute, the Council was careful to accompany it with support for other gender activities in the Research Programme. Later, they established a Gender Series within the Publications Programme. Furthermore, no opportunity was lost to underscore the fact that the creation of the Gender Institute within the framework of a wider Gender Project did not mean the exclusion of female researchers or gender work from other activities organised by the Council.

In the same vein, the erroneous impression that gender was simply a proxy for allocating special quotas to female researchers who could not compete on merit was constantly exposed as an infantile argument. Support was equally extended to male researchers seriously interested in developing their gender analytic capacities.

Since its first session in 1996, the aim of the Gender Institute has been to contribute to a greater awareness about gender issues in African social research milieus, the integration of gender analysis into social research undertaken in Africa, and the inclusion of gender approaches in the agenda of social science debates on methodology.

The Institute has slightly over 300 laureates since its founding and a listing can be found here.

Upcoming Institute: to be announced


Humanities Institute


As part of efforts to achieve its mandate of supporting Social Science and Humanities research in Africa, the Council also runs a thematic institute on the Humanities in Africa. This institute was conceived to respond to the steady decline in teaching and research in the humanities in African universities occasioned partly by external and national policies advocating for more investments in STEM subjects at the expense of the social sciences and humanities.

The institute is implemented as part of the African Humanities Project which amongst other things aims at exploring new theories and methods on which to ground relevant knowledge production in the humanities on the continent and suggest ways of broadening the scope of the humanities in the continent’s universities, beyond the traditional academic disciplines.

The Humanities Institute targets early career academics in the humanities from universities in the continent as an important intervention in this quest for renewal. Early Career Academics (ECA) are those academics teaching in African universities and who completed their PhD in the last five years. Ordinarily, applicants are individuals looking for possibilities of career and professional development as teachers, researchers, and academics through support for research training and undertaking independent research and publication in quality journals. Through this institute, CODESRIA seeks to induct the ECA to charting new research terrains and building a strong community of researchers in the humanities in Africa who are well-versed in addressing complex questions connected to that terrain.

CODESRIA/CASB Summer School in African Studies and Area Studies in Africa

This event is run jointly as a partnership between CODESRIA and the Centre for African Studies Basel, University of Basel, Switzerland. The annual Summer School aims to stimulate and consolidate interdisciplinary approaches in research on Africa, but also on other regions of the world undertaken from within the African continent.

It focuses on African Studies as an instance of area studies and seeks to identify themes that are theoretically, conceptually and methodologically relevant to reflecting on the intellectual challenge of Africa as an object of knowledge and its contribution to general scholarship, while inquiring into the relevance of the findings to African approaches to other regions.

At its core is an attempt to strengthen the links between the community of scholars organised in the CODESRIA community and scholars from the African Studies community in Switzerland.

The 5th edition of the CODESRIA/CASB Summer School was held from 15th to 19th August 2022 in Dakar, Senegal. This summer school convened twenty-seven laureates from 14 African countries under the theme “How Political is Knowledge?”. The faculty of the 2022 summer school was led by Prof. Elisio Macamo as Director and supported by Prof. Ralph Weber & Dr. Ndeye Astou Ndiaye as Resource Persons. Prof Nokuthula Lucinda Hlabangane from the University of South Africa joined as an Observer.

The Summer School has had 87 laureates since it begun and a listing can be found here.

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