Polish African Studies at a Crossroads: Past, Present and Future

Konrad Czernichowski, Dominik Kopiński, Andrzej Polus


The main objective of this contribution is to examine the developments and challenges of African Studies in Poland, with a special focus on the fields of political science and economics. The article demonstrates that the historical development of Polish African Studies has shaped, but also limited, the ongoing debate concerning its nature and objectives. The paper discusses two competing interpretations of the substance of African Studies and deals with the current challenges and hopes of the Polish academic community studying Africa. It argues that while the field of African Studies usually serves as a common denominator and a type of “area” platform where various scholars doing research on Africa can share their findings, this does not necessarily lead to integration within the community and/or to better communication. Quite paradoxically, the diagnosis of Polish African Studies presented almost 50 years ago by Jan Halpern can still be applied today: “Generally speaking, Polish scholars in African subjects feel that the further progress of their work demands, above all, a better coordination of research and closer contact with specialists abroad.”

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