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Four students in front of a brick wall
African Studies Master's thesis examination in June 2016. Three theses were defended in a public examination in the presence of students, supervisors, examiners and external examiners/specialists. From left to right: Ester Botteri, "Becoming Mothers. Four Senegalese women's perception of the advantages and disadvantages of giving birth in the Italian health system", Maria Paola Vitulli, "Africa in the history teaching and intercultural sensitivity in Italy", and Janika Tamm, "There is no other way. Economic self-reliance of South Sudanese women in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya". With Supervisor, Nadia Lebedeva, Educational sciences. Photo. L. Berge

The MA Thesis is the final part of the African Studies first year. The thesis gives the student the opportunity to work independently, critically and in-depth with a topic of his or her own choice from the field of African Studies.

The MA thesis (15 ECTS) is written in the second semester of the first year (mid-January to mid-June) and often includes field studies in Africa. It is a prerequisite that the student has passed 30 Higher Education Credits of African Studies first semester courses (including the Methodology Seminars of the Dynamics of African Societies Course) before being admitted to the Master Thesis Course.

Students sitting in the Dalarna University library
Master's thesis examination in October 2015 with students, faculty and external examiners, this year from the Unviersity of Rwanda in Kigali.

The course runs every year as a continuous process from January to June, beginning with the submission of a Thesis Proposal by mid-January, continuing with seminars in January-February, then with the supervision process starting in early April and concluding with the Master’s Thesis Examination by mid-June.

The Master's Thesis Examination is a celebrated event and the peak of the African Studies academic year. The thesis is defended and discussed at a public seminar, usually in mid-June, in the presence of invited external examiners (often international specialists on the topics discussed), fellow students, staff and interested members of the public.


Riccardo Zambianchi discussing his thesis on the Railroad from Djibouti to Addis Ababa. Ulrika Wijk had just completed her defence: "”We don't want to sit and wait - widow cleansing, stigma and vulnerability in rural Zambia. A case study." 
Photo: Marco Rosi 

The course also consists of practice in the oral presentation and defence of the student’s own results and arguments, as well as of analyses of other students’ work.

Constructive criticism

The opponent will discuss the thesis in a productive way: How can a well-written, comprehensive and thoroughly analysed Master's thesis be even further improved? The opponent has deveoted a full week to reading and analysing the thesis.

Mariana deCarlo defending her thesis, Tosrten Hylén

Mariana deCarlo defending her thesis "Fascist Urban Planning and Racial Discrimination in Asmara: 1935-39." 
Photo: Marco Rosi

The course is examined through the independently written Master's thesis, but the student’s ability to give and take constructive criticism during the work-in-progress is also considered in the final assessment. The Master's Thesis is defended in an open seminar with a discussant.

Associate Professor George Alao
African Studies Master's Thesis Examination in June 2014. External Examiner Associate Professor George Alao, INALCO, Paris, contributes to the discussions and the final grading of the thesis.
Photo: Marco Rosi

The course is taught in the form of seminars and individual supervision. The thesis is defended and discussed at a public seminar, usually in mid-June. All teaching is conducted in English. The Master's Thesis is written in English. 

The examination is theoretically advanced and follows a rather formal agenda but all with the good spirit that characterizes the African Studies environment at Dalarna University. A good laugh is always welcome!

Giulia Boari defending her thesis
Giulia Boari defending her thesis: “Hauka Possession as Fight against Colonialism in West Africa. How the Songhay rites have become the means of colonial resistance between Niger and the Gold Coast.” 
Photo: Marco Rosi

Some Past Years' Examinations

The Examination in June 2015 with five students presenting their theses and external examiners
The Examination in June 2015 with five students presenting their theses and external examiners from the Univerisity of Bologna, Italy, University of Cape Town, South Africa, INALCO, France and Åbo Akademi University, Finland. Photo: Bertil Hammarström

The African Studies Master's Thesis Examination
The African Studies Master's Thesis Examination in June 2014. Photo: Marco Rosi

African Studies Master's Thesis Defence and Examination
African Studies Master's Thesis Defence and Examination, this time at the University of Siena, Italy, September 2012.

Katarzyna NadrowskaKatarzyna Nadrowska defended her thesis: "HIV/AIDS and Pluralism of Healthcare Systems. How the Encounter between Traditional and Western Medicine unfolded over time in South Africa."

The thesis was supervised by Judith Narrowe. At the June 2015 defence, Reim Rk Elbreki was the opponent. Associate External Examiner and Associate Professor Nick Shepherd, University of Cape Town, contributed with valuable comments. 

Course page

African Studies Thesis providing the base for the forthcoming Two-Year Master's Thesis (AS3005, 15 Credits).

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