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Centres of Excellence

Notions of Identity In Africa

Makerere University is proud to have been given the privilege to host the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Notions of Identity in Africa. This is a CoE of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), a network of universities from different countries and different historical backgrounds, but with a common vision of enhancing research and graduate training in member universities.

The ARUA CoEs are intended to be focal points for aggregating world-class researchers from member universities to undertake collaborative research in priority thematic areas while providing opportunities for graduate students from the region and elsewhere to work with the researchers.

The CoE in Notions of Identity is a multi-disciplinary Centre for deepening scholarship and harnessing research on Identities in Africa, within Makerere University and within the universities that are part of the CoE. Focusing on Identities, the Centre will focus on knowledge production, research, influencing factors shaping identities, mediums communicating identities, advocacy, collaborations, etc.

Goal of the CoE:

To establish, expand and deepen scholarship around the notion of identity in Africa and how it manifests, shapes and impacts on contemporary African society.


  • Develop a network of African institutions and researchers engaging with the question of identity
  • Share knowledge, skills and other resources between the network partners in the CoE
  • Develop a research agenda in the area of Identities in Africa between network partners
  • To develop an intellectual community to engage with the notion of identity in each partner university
  • Build capacity to research identities in Africa in the partner universities

Research Focus Areas:

  1. Empirical evidence about changes in identities from the South: This theme aims at generating empirical evidence about changes in identities from the South – towards a theory of identities from the south.
  2. Theory, Research and Advocacy Audit: This theme will interrogate how we theorise identities and power relationships beyond mere essential differences between tribes, cultures, races, religions, classes, critiquing assumptions about power, modernity, development and the state.
  3. African Feminist Politics: This theme will explore how to develop a feminist politics that is critical of patriarchy – and seeks to engage both men and women as victims and perpetrators of gender inequalities, focusing on changes in masculinities and femininities, as social constructs and how these changes are caused by and are a product of the global changes and changes in Africa as a society.

Mode of Delivery

  • Graduate Training Grants, especially for PhD training;
  • Competitive Mentorship-oriented Research Grants especially for early career researchers
  • Collaborative research proposals/grant applications
  • Research support
  • Publications support
  • Workshops, Conference and Seminar series for the purposes of dissemination and intellectual engagement


The CoE in Notions of Identity brings together six universities dedicated to deepening the scholarship and training in identities in Africa. These are:

  • Makerere University (Uganda)
  • University of Ghana (Ghana),
  • Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria),
  • University of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia),
  • University of Witwatersrand (South Africa) and
  • University of Rwanda (Rwanda).

In addition, the CoE will collaborate with UK N8 universities.

Implementation Structure of ARUA CoE at Makerere University:

ARUA Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity,
School of Women and Gender Studies,
Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062,
Kampala, UGANDA


Twitter: @MAKCoEIdentity

Facebook: Makerere University – ARUA-Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity


For more details please contact

Assoc. Prof. Sarah N. Ssali at,

Tel: +256772663772,


Twitter: @sssalie

Skype: Sarah.Ssali