Director of Studies / Assistant Professor
Jan Jansen studied Anthropology and Medieval History at Utrecht University. He obtained his PhD from Leiden University in 1995 with a critical analysis of the oral sources for the Mali Empire. A French edition of his thesis was published in 2001 as Épopée-Histoire-Société – Le cas de Soundjata (Mali-Guinée).
From 1996 to 1998 he was a Postdoc at Leiden University, and from 1999 to 2004 a Research Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), based at Leiden. As of 2004 he is a Lecturer, and since 2010 he is the Managing Editor of History in Africa – A Journal of Method.
I have conducted all my fieldwork in the Mande area (Mali) which is historically the heartland of the medieval Mali Empire, which is famous of its riches of gold and which is a source of inspiration for several present-day West African nation-states. My fieldwork resulted in numerous critical source editions of oral traditions and archival documents as well as on ethnographic studies of local heritage management, divination, and mining practices. Using anthropological methods and mobilizing new historical evidence I revised the post-1500 history of the Mali Empire.
Lianne Holten, 2013, 'Mothers Medicine and Morality in Rural Mali – An Ethnographic Study of Therapy Management of Pregnancy and Children’s Illness Episodes', University of Amsterdam.
Amber Gemmeke, 2008, 'Marabout Women in Dakar – Creating Trust in a Rural Urban Space', Leiden University.
Simon Toulou Abah, 2008, 'Devenir griot professionnel: education formelle ou informelle? Analyse des enseignements langagiers dans la perspective de la transposition didactique', Université de Genève.
Marloes Janson, 2002, 'The Best Hand is the Hand that Always Gives – Griottes and their Profession in Eastern Gambia', Leiden University.
- Jan Jansen, “In Defense of Mali’s Gold: The Political and Military Organization of the Northern Upper Niger, c. 1650 –c. 1850 ,” , Vol. 1 , Iss. 1 ( 2015 ): 1 – 36 . ISSN 2327 - 1868. (Copyright © 2015 Michigan State University)