Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Prof Dr Baz (Jean Sebastian) Lecocq

Caarer | Publications | Projects | Doctoral Supervision | A users' guide to Professor Lecocq | How to write a Project Proposal
Prof Dr Baz (Jean Sebastian) Lecocq

Humboldt-Universität → Präsidium → Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät → Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften → Geschichte Afrikas
Visiting address
Invalidenstraße 118 , Room 406
Phone number
(030) 2093-66088
(030) 2093-66007
Mailing address
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin

Executive Directorate

Prof. Dr. Baz Lecocq is the Executive Director of the Institute. If you would like to contact him in this capacity, please use the email address: 

The Executive Assistant is Birgit Hecht:


Consultation hours

In presence or as a Zoom meeting.

Please make an appointment by email, explaining your concerns.


Supervision during final thesis Bachelor and Master

The mentoring generally takes place within the framework of a final colloquium. If you are interested, please make an appointment with me first. Guidelines for the exposé and information on my supervision philosophy can be found here:

A users' guide to Prof Lecocq

How to write a Project Proposal

Optional material for assignments and final theses


Scientific discipline and sub fields

  • The history of (Francophone) West Africa, especially the Sahel and Sahara
  • The history of colonisation, decolonisation and nationalism
  • The history of Islam in Africa, especially the history of the hajj from (Francophone) West Africa
  • The history of the Tuareg people
  • The history of slavery and post-slavery societies


I studied history and area studies at Leiden University and Amsterdam University, specialising in the history of Africa and the Muslim World. I am interested in the ways human experiences and the historically informed discourses about these experiences shape each other. In other words: I acknowledge the existence of both social reality and its discursive reflection, and I take a middle position between deconstructivist textual and classical social science approaches to the historical discipline balancing each against the other. I am fascinated by human, spatial and intellectual tensions of scale which come to play in politics, social connectivity, and processes of identity formation (nationalism, ethnicity, religion, racism), and their representations (poetry and song, media stories, oral histories and discourse, and, to a lesser extent photography and film). I try to analyse these through discourse analysis, translocality and, recently, structuration theory. My findings are usually presented as detailed micro histories, taking the connectivity between these histories and larger processes and structures as an integral part of those histories, rather than as their background. In my work, agency is central and it shapes structure, not the other way around (which, in my opinion, denies history to be human endeavour and would make me lose all hope for change).

So far my work has focussed on the contemporary histories of decolonisation and nation building in Francophone West Africa and the Sahara from the perspective of the Kel Tamasheq or Tuareg people, and on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca from West Africa and its various spatial, political, social, religious and economic dimensions.

Recently I have taken an interest in the social, cultural and political meanings, possibilities, and constraints of mechanical means of transport (ships, trains, cars, and aeroplanes) in the processes of globalisation and modernisation on the African continent.