Antoinette Danebaï Lamana – a Spring in Basel: a sojourn between the Academy and Culture, renewing oneself!
I started my stay in Basel for a semester in February 2023: a spring semester on wheels… a time when, literally and figuratively, the harshness of winter gives way to renewal.
First, a working environment reminiscent of chalets, a view over the River Rhine at the Center for African Studies, and many researchers. Warm support from the entire Centre team in general and, in particular, the follow-up by Dr Veit Arlt lending tireless support before and during the sojourn. Then, how not to mention the Basler “Fasnacht” (my first carnival experience in vivo) that set the tone for my eclectic academic stay in Basel (carnival atmosphere, committed message, generosity, parody etc.).
Then the challenging seminars and symposia at the University of Basel immersed me in current scientific debates and methodological and epistemological questions. I enjoyed the framework and resources of libraries (Universitätsbibliothek, University Library Rosental…), great moments with researchers willing to exchange and discuss in a friendly way, but also sessions working on the dissertation thesis in the company of doctoral students of the Graduate School of Social Sciences G3S and with participants of the Research Seminar on Quantitative Data Analysis in African Studies and other sessions and workshops.
In addition, magnificent landscapes, the River Wiese, the mountains, and the caves far from the beaten track offer contemplation and provide a unique setting for meditation while far from home. Amazingly, exploring the city and the surroundings by bicycle is so easy and pleasant. My bike, “Bestie from Basel”, and I had unique moments between hills and stops to contemplate the breathtaking landscape on very busy paths or less frequented routes.
This stay was an exceptional moment for me academically, personally and socio-culturally, a space for reflection, work, and escape but also an ideal setting to find myself… Finally, my time in Basel was both stimulating for my thesis and for addressing its challenges and on a personal level through unique and magnificent encounters: I have thoroughly enjoyed my “Basel spring”.