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Axel Fleisch

Born 6 December 1968, Langenhagen (Hanover), Germany

MA African Studies, 1995, Univ. of Cologne; PhD African Studies, 2000, Univ. of Cologne

Professor in African Studies 2008–, University of Helsinki
University lecturer 2007, University of Leipzig
Senior researcher 2005–2006, University of Cologne
Postdoctoral fellow “Cognitive semantics, Nguni languages” 2002–2004, University of California, Berkeley
Junior Researcher of Namibia/Angola 1995–2001, Collaborative Research Centre “Arid Climate and Cultural Innovation”, University of Cologne

Main research interests:
Descriptive linguistics, documentation of African languages (especially Bantu and Amazigh/Berber)

Publications, projects and other scientific activities

Prized and awards:
German Research Council. Postdoctoral fellowship 2002–2004.
Fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study 2010, 2013–2014.

Photo: Joaquín Fanego Palat
Written by: Axel Fleisch and Tomas Sjöblom (ed.)

Cooperation is rewarding, regardless of the challenges of cultural differences

Time and again, one hears how important team work is. True – but how is this to be put in practice? In the humanities, it is particularly difficult to implement. So much of our work requires a contemplative individual brooding over a specific topic.

Yet , those moments when there were several of us and we got something going as a team were really most rewarding. It can happen with students when a course works out well and in a collaborative research context working together with colleagues.

Most importantly, it applies to fieldwork. Despite many years of experience in different parts of Africa, cultural differences can be challenging. Yet,But I would not want to miss a single moment of the times spent working with African colleagues, acquaintances and friends – whether in the sparsely populated Angolan-Namibian border region, or in the urban settings of South Africa.

Costa Kambinda and neigbours. Rundu, Namibia, 2000. Photo: Axel Fleisch​
Costa Kambinda and neigbours. Rundu, Namibia, 2000. Photo: Axel Fleisch​

And for the rest, I wonder why one should look back into the past for the highlights. Hopefully, the best is still to come!

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