Universiteit Leiden

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Jan Jansen

Assistant professor

Dr. J.A.M.M. Jansen
+31 71 527 3996

Jan Jansen is Assistant professor at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University. He 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).

More information about Jan Jansen

Short CV

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.

Between 2010 and 2020 he was the Editor of History in Africa – A Journal of Debates, Methods, and Source Analysis. Since 2018 he has offered editorial assistance to the Damara Camara family (Guinée) to publish the enhanced version of Djiguiba Camara's manuscript

CV J. Jansen (2020)


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.

PhD candidates

  • 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.

Recent publications

Assistant professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Culturele Antropologie/ Ontw. Sociologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 3A37



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