The MANSA Mission

The Mande Studies Association (MANSA) was officially founded in 1986. Over the decades MANSA has counted several hundreds of members based in more than 30 countries including Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Niger, Congo, Zimbabwe, China, Japan, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Egypt, Canada, United States, and Australia.

MANSA ’s mission includes the following:

  • To promote scholarly research, both within and outside Africa, in all areas and disciplines of the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities relevant to the Mande experience and environment.
  • To encourage international cooperation and facilitate the exchange of ideas and meaningful dialogue among persons engaged in research on Mande societies.
  • To encourage the publication and dissemination of scholarly and artistic works as well as primary sources on Mande studies and related topics.
  • To organize panels, symposia, and conferences on Mande Studies at meetings of regional, national and international organizations.
  • To provide the general public with information on issues of historical, cultural, and contemporary interest in Mande areas of Africa.

A primary goal of MANSA is to promote the participation of our West African colleagues. From being a scholarly association predominantly composed of researchers based in the Global North, today our Africa-based members amount to some 40 researchers. MANSA is a vibrant community of committed scholars from different horizons and backgrounds, disciplines and traditions. Today MANSA has four focal points: l'Institut des Sciences des Sociétés (INSS) Burkina Faso; l'Institut des Sciences Humaines (ISH), Mali; le Laboratoire de sociologie économique et d'anthropologie des appartenances symboliques (LAASSE), Côte d'Ivoire; and le Programme N'ko à La Maison des langues de l'Université Koffi Annan de Guiné.

Over the years MANSA has developed from a more explicit focus on the Mande peoples (and their neighbours) towards a general regional focus on West Africa and its diasporas, exemplified by the 2017 Conference on Intersecting Identities: Coexistence, Conflict, and Reconciliation in West Africa and Its Diasporas, and the 2021 Conference on Beyond Crisis and Insecurity: Cultural Creativity, Popular Struggle, and Social Change in West Africa.

One part of MANSA membership is the commitment by members based in the Global North to return the results of their research to African countries, and institutions. This includes articles and books in printed form as well as digitally. Books have been deposited at universities and research institutions in West Africa.

Another part is the organization of international conferences: Bamako, Mali (March 1993); Leiden, The Netherlands (March 1995);  Serrekunda, The Gambia (June 1998); Leiden, The Netherlands (June 2002); Conakry and Kan-Kan, Guinea (June 2005); Lisbon, Portugal (June 2008); Bamako, Mali (June 2011); Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso (June 2014); Grand Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire (August 2017); and Uppsala, Sweden (June 2021). The Next International Conference on Mande Studies will be organized in Bamako 26-30 June 2024 in Bamako (Mali); it is co-hosted with the Institut des Sciences Humaines (Mali), and the Forum for Africa Studies at Uppsala University (Sweden).

MANSA members engage actively in joint scholarship and common research clusters. Recent examples are the research on Ethnographies of Security in the Sahel, and the workshop on Armed Conflicts and Insecurity in the West African Sahel. Training sessions and workshops are regularly organized by MANSA members in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali.

MANSA publishes and disseminates scholarly works. Since 1999, MANSA's Mande Studies: The Journal of the Mande Studies Association is an international and peer-reviewed journal. It is published once a year by the Indiana University Press. MANSA's Newsletter Kibaru reports and communicates about scholarly work, publications, research grants and projects. All 72 Issues of the Newsletter are available here. The first Newsletter appeared in November 1986, and the most recent one (#74) was published in early 2023.

Beyond the scholarly and professional belonging, MANSA members are connected, and share insights, thoughts, and news on a daily basis in a true community spirit. The email list serve serves as an efficient tool for communication and dissemination, alongside with MANSA's Facebook page.

To Join MANSA, click here

Adhérez à MANSA, cliquez ici