Prof. Dr. Dmitri van den Bersselaar

Prof. Dr. Dmitri van den Bersselaar


Geschichte Afrikas
Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum
Beethovenstraße 15, Room 2.208
04107 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97 - 37035
Fax: +49 341 97 - 37048


I am a social and cultural historian with an interest in economic history. I specialise in West Africa, specifically Ghana and Nigeria during the 19th and 20th centuries. Current interests include: the impact of multinational business on local African cultures of work and labour; employability in African knowledge economies; and the history of knowledge production in and about Africa.

I previously worked on: African responses to - and involvement in - colonialism, missionary enterprise, trading and business; the impact of colonial interaction on identity, community, and personhood; changing perceptions of status, culture, ethnicity and identity in colonial and postcolonial West Africa; and the ways in which people appropriate ideas and commodities from outside and make them meaningful as emblems of local communities and identities.

I am keen to supervise research students working on projects relating to any of the above areas of interest.

Office hour: Wednesdays 9-11am.

Professional career

  • 01/1996 - 01/1999
    Leiden University: Lecturer; Study Advisor
  • 01/1999 - 01/2012
    University of Liverpool: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in History (1999-2012); Reader (2012-2017)
  • since 10/2017
    University of Leipzig: Professor in African History


  • 01/1992
    Leiden University: MA in History
  • 01/1998
    Leiden University: PhD in Social Science
  • SFB 1199/B02: Spatial and Temporal Limitations of “Berlin’s Africa”: Between the Decline of a Spatial Format and the Dissolution of a Spatial Order
    van den Bersselaar, Dmitri
    Duration: 01/2020 – 12/2023
    Funded by: DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe); Institut für Afrikastudien; SFB 1199: Verräumlichungsprozesse unter Globalisierungsbedingungen
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  • Precarious and Informal Labour in South Africa and Nigeria
    van den Bersselaar, Dmitri
    Duration: 07/2019 – 12/2019
    Funded by: Stiftungen Inland
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Geschichte und Kulturgeschichte Afrikas
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more projects

  • van den Bersselaar, D.
    UAC between developmentalists and anti- revolutionaries: a multinational enterprise makes sense of post-independence Africa
    In: Dinkel, J.; Fiebrig, S.; Reichherzer, F. (Eds.)
    Nord/Süd: Perspektiven auf eine globale Konstellation. De Gruyter Oldenbourg. 2020. pp. 210–239.
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  • van den Bersselaar, D.
    White Collar Workers
    In: Eckert, A.; Belluci, S. (Eds.)
    General Labour History of Africa. Workers, Employers and Governments, 20th-20st Centuries. Oxford: James Currey. 2019. pp. 379–404.
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  • van den Bersselaar, D.
    Nigerian Resource Wars and Economic Development in Historical Perspective
    In: Uchendu, E. (Ed.)
    Nigeria's Resource Wars. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press. 2020. pp. 3–31.
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  • van den Bersselaar, D.; Shyiramunda, T.
    Local community development and higher education institutions: Moving from the triple helix to the quadruple helix model
    International Review of Education. 2024.
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  • van den Bersselaar, D.; Lecocq, B.
    Aeromobility, space and modernity: civil aviation in postcolonial African history
    Flux. Cahiers Scientifiques Internationaux Réseaux et Territoires. 2024. pp. 89–102.
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more publications

  • Andere Ehrungen: ASA Service Award
    van den Bersselaar, Dmitri (Geschichte und Kulturgeschichte Afrikas)
    awarded in 2019 by African Studies Assocation (ASA) USA.
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more awards

  • Geschichte und Kulturgeschichte Afrikas
    Kooperation Universität Leipzig - Universität Ibadan (Geschichte und Afrikastudien)
    Start Date of Collaboration: 01/01/2019
    Involved persons: van den Bersselaar, Dmitri; Beck, Rose Marie; Adesina, Olutayo C.
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more cooperations

  • winter semester


    03-AFR-1100 Einführung Afrikastudien

    03-AFR-1506 Geschichte und Gesellschaft in West- und Zentralafrika


    03-AFR-2100 Introduction to African Studies

    03-AFR-1703 African Political Economy

  • summer semester


    03-AFR-1200 Übung Wirtschaft in Afrika

    03-AFR-1606 Geschichte und Gesellschaft in Ost- und Südafrika


    03-AFR-2113 Debates about Development

    03-AFR-2108 Theory from the South