University of Bayreuth, Press Release Nr. 064/2022 - 02 May 2022

Honorary doctorate from the University of Bayreuth for the West African sociologist and women's rights activist Fatou Sow 

The Senegalese sociologist Dr Fatou Sow is to be awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bayreuth on 18 May 2022. She will receive the honour for her fundamental and ground-breaking academic work on feminist issues and for her tireless commitment to women's rights, especially in Africa. The event begins at 6 p.m. in Building RW II, Lecture Hall H24, and will be livestreamed on the internet. Members of the media and the public are most welcome, however, online registration is required.

Date: 18 May 2022, 6 p.m.
Location: Campus of the University of Bayreuth, Faculty of Law, Business & Economics (RW), lecture hall H 24.
Online registration:
for participation either in-person or online

Receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Bayreuth: Dr. Fatou Sow.

Dr Fatou Sow is to receive an honorary doctorate from the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), the international graduate school of the Cluster of Excellence "Africa Multiple" at the University of Bayreuth. The laudation will be given by renowned Nigerien linguist Professor Dr. Ousseina Alidou from Rutgers University, USA.

Fatou Sow taught and researched at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar over several decades, and at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris. She is a pioneer in the field of gender studies and African feminism who has been advocating for women's rights in West Africa and beyond for more than 50 years. In her research, she analyses the living situations of women in Francophone West Africa. She focuses on social structures and ways of thinking that have their roots in colonialism and continue to have an impact today. Fatou Sow tirelessly calls for the assertion of women's rights and the political participation of women in Africa and worldwide, especially in Muslim cultures, both inside and outside academia.

"The award of an honorary doctorate to Dr Fatou Sow is not only a recognition of her outstanding life's work, but she is also the first African woman to receive this honour at the University of Bayreuth," explains Prof. Dr Andrea Behrends, Head of BIGSAS. Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Seesemann, spokesperson of the Cluster of Excellence "Africa Multiple", adds: "This day can thus be considered another milestone in the history of Bayreuth's Africa focus".

Also on 18 May 2022, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., an English-language panel discussion on "Decolonial Feminisms" will take place at the conference centre of Studentenwerk Oberfranken (Kolpinghaus) in Bayreuth. Participants in the Afro-feminist "Round Table" will be Dr. Fatou Sow and Professor Dr. Ousseina, as well as the political scientist and historian Professor Dr. Françoise Vergès from Fondation Maison des sciences de l'homme in Paris and the sociologist and cultural scientist Professor Dr. Akosua Adomako Ampofo from the University of Ghana in Accra. The "Round Table" will be hosted by Dr. Christine Vogt-William, Director of the Gender and Diversity Office of the Cluster of Excellence. The focus of this exchange of ideas and experiences will be on decolonial forms of feminism, as presented from Francophone and Anglophone African perspectives in particular. All interested parties are warmly invited to follow this panel discussion via livestream. After registering by e-mail to, you will receive a link for online participation.

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Michelle Heese
Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS)
University of Bayreuth
Phone: +49 (0) 921/55-5110