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IAS hosts two Visiting Research Fellows

The Institute of African Studies is hosting two Visiting Research Fellows to undertake their respective residency at the University of Ghana. The two Fellows are André Fischer, an Assistant Professor from the Washington University in St. Loius, United States and Azza Mustapha Babika Ahmed, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town, South Africa. André Fisher and Azza Ahmed are each on a six-month Fellowship Programme, beginning September 2022. Their offices are at the Institute of African Studies, College of Humanities.



Professor André Fischer is on the BECHS-AFRICA project, which seeks to create avenues for early career scholars to have the opportunity for residency across three regions of Africa and a global north institution. The collaborative institutions are the University of Ghana (the lead Institution), American University in Cairo, Stellenbosch University, and Washington University in St. Louis. The period of stay in the collaborating institution is intended to allow for targeted mentorship and guidance for the selected scholars from identified senior scholars who share their research interests while also providing an avenue for interaction and sharing of research ideas and methodologies with their peers. 

Professor André Fischer holds a PhD in German Studies from Stanford University, where he completed a dissertation on “The aesthetics of mythmaking in German postwar literature, art, and film.” In his first monograph–currently under contract with Northwestern University Press–Fischer explores the turn towards myth in the works of Hans Henny Jahnn, Hubert Fichte, Joseph Beuys, and Werner Herzog. Before coming to Washington University, he taught at Auburn University, Germany. Professor Fischer teaches courses on German language and literature, cultural and intellectual history, as well as film and comparative literature. Most recently, he taught a course on myth and modern literature from Schiller to Soyinka.

Professor Fischer’s research is situated at the intersection of aesthetics and politics, focusing on modern mythmaking, its aesthetics and political theologies, and related forms of aesthetic resistance. Fischer’s second book project investigates forms of aesthetic resistance in contemporary literature and film, exploring the dialectical structure of aesthetic autonomy and political intervention. In this context, he is interested in the ideological fault lines along which resistance oriented towards emancipation can revert into reactionary aesthetics and vice versa. Instead of blurring ideological distinctions, he seeks to derive a dialectical concept of resistance from various literary and cinematic works that helps explain the shifting dynamics of the aesthetic-political discourse. In the context of this project, Professor Fischer has published articles on Bertolt Brecht’s Fatzer fragment, Alexander Kluge’s notion of anti-realism, and Peter Weiss’s The Aesthetics of Resistance.

In his current interdisciplinary project–entitled Migrating Gods: Transatlantic Syncretism in Literature and Anthropology–Professor Fischer investigates the role of myths and religious rituals as means of intercultural transfer within violent historical processes shaped by colonialism, enslavement, migration, and revolution between West Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Instead of preserving cultural identities, syncretistic religious practices adapt to historical ruptures using hybridization and transformation, thereby generating cultural practices that respond to violent histories and make them legible as a counter-discourse to Western modes of knowledge production.

In pursuit of this project, Professor Fischer is spending this fall semester as a visiting fellow at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana through the BECHS-Africa fellowship program sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Below are Fischer’s recent publications:

  • “Mythos and Pathos: Herakles in Peter Weiss’s ‘Die Ästhetik des Widerstands,’” The Germanic Review 97:1 (2022), pp. 69-91.
  • “Es geht um den Antirealismus: Zu Alexander Kluges realistischer Methode und ihrer Poetik des Widerstands,” Monatshefte 113:4 (2021), pp. 532-555.
  • “Gemeinwesen und Vorstellungskraft: Formen des Gemeinsinns bei Alexander Kluge,” Plurale Autorschaft. Alexander Kluge-Jahrbuch, vol. 7. Ed. Christian Schulte [et al.] Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2020, pp. 55-68.
  • “Fragments for a Dialectic of Resistance: Fatzer, Keuner, and the Revolution,” Brecht Yearbook 44 (2019), pp. 15-38.
  • “Deep Truth and the Mythic Veil: Werner Herzog’s New Mythology in ‘Land of Silence and Darkness,’” Film-Philosophy 22:1 (2018).




Dr Azza Ahmed is part of an umbrella research project entitled: Future hospitals: the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Ethics of Care in Africa. The Project investigates how algorithms are coded or will be coded in Africa’s current or future care infrastructure by critically examining the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered technologies and solutions in healthcare and the social and ethical implications. The research also aims to provide solutions for biomedical research and predict infectious diseases relevant to the African continent. Carnegie Cooperation of New York funded the project.

At the IAS, Dr Azza will work on Artificial Intelligence Deployment in Ghana’s Healthcare System: The case of minoHealth AL Labs. MinoHealth AI Labs is a start-up based in Accra, Ghana, aiming to democratise quality healthcare and provide AI-powered healthcare solutions. They automate medical diagnosis, prognosis, and prediction/forecasts. The AI solutions they develop cover various communicable and non-communicable disease diagnoses and predictions, including Covid-19, malaria, breast cancer, pneumonia, hernia, and tuberculosis, among others. They have a partnership with the Imperial College London in the UKRI-funded project to develop a worldwide plan for digital diagnostics for infectious diseases through research and development of LOC technology.

Dr Azza Ahmed holds a PhD in Anthropology from Bayreuth University, where she authored her thesis titled, Place identity and urban planning: The case of Tuti island Khartoum Sudan. She also has a Master of Science Degree in Social Anthropology Sociology, obtained from the Faculty of Economic and Social Studies, University of Khartoum, Sudan.

Dr Azza has participated in several training programmes and courses to broaden her thesis knowledge. She is currently working on the following research projects:

  • VII AEGIS Summer School on Urban Africa-Urban Africans: Emergent Spaces and Multiple Representations, Cagliari June 2016.
  • Publication of dissertation and articles with particular reference to the German publishing industry, Bayreuth May 2016 - May 2016.
  • Migration und Asyl-Fortbildung für Coaches, Bayreuth April 2016.
  • Africa in the World Economy- African Good Governance Network, Hamburg July 2015, Development - African Good Governance Network, Freiburg May 2015.
  • Population Growth-Chances and Challenges for Africa, Helmstedt October 2014 -November 2014.
  • Authoritarian Rule-African Good Governance network, Nürnberg and Bayreuth July 2014.
  • Media and Governance-African Good Governance Network, Bonn March 2014 - April 2014.
  • Writing and Giving Conference Papers, Bayreuth International Graduate School for African.

Dr Azza has the following publications to her credit:

• Ahmed, A., M, B, (2016). Making Sacred Places - The case of the Holy Meeting at the Junction of the Two Seas. In S. B. Debele; J. A. Arthur (eds), Religion and Space: Perspective from African experiences. Bayreuth African Studies Working Papers Vol 15, 34- 48.

• Ahmed, A. M. B. (2018), Khartoum, past, present, and future: Urban planning practices at the margin of Africa, in A. M. B., Ahmed, D. Nicoué, et al. (eds.), living in African Cities: Urban spaces, lifestyles, and social practices in everyday life. Bayreuth African Studies Working Paper Vol 18 97-108.

• Ahmed, A. M. B. (2020) City-making in Africa: Urban Planning and the Reconfiguration of Tuti Island Khartoum, Sudan. in Nikolai Brandes, Carla Cortês and Domingos Macucule (Eds.) In Middle Class Urbanism working papers.


The Institute of African Studies welcomes Prof. André Fisher and Dr. Azza Ahmed and wishes them well in their research!