Call for Registrations: Africans in Europe in the Long Twentieth Century: Transnationalism, Translation and Transfer

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School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, University of Liverpool, UK
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School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
University of Liverpool
30-31 October 2009

The past few years have seen a flowering of historical research on Africans in Europe and the growth of new networks of scholarship on the subject. Most of this work acknowledges that as colonial or ex-colonial subjects, as migrants, and as members of a global population for whom a common identity and fate were increasingly claimed in terms of diaspora, Africans often moved from one mono- or plurilingual context/contact zone into another. This could be the result of physical relocations, of a transfer of administrative jurisdiction over them from one colonial power to another (as after 1918), or indeed of participation in transnational literary and political networks. But much current research remains limited to particular national metropolitan contexts, their languages and institutions, with the themes of transnationalism and translation addressed largely through triangulations between Africa, Black America and the respective country of 'settlement'. The conference brings together new research by both established scholars and early career researchers, with the aim of provoking discussion around those moments where Africans found themselves at the interface between European cultures, asking about the implications for subjectivity and everyday life as well as for cultural and political practice of having to deal with and through different languages and modes of social interaction.
Speakers from the UK, Continental Europe and the United States include Elleke Boehmer, Sara Lennox, Susan Pennybacker, Donald Carter, Lisa Shaw and Stefanie Michels.

The conference is organised by Professor Eve Rosenhaft and Dr Robbie Aitken, in the context of the AHRC-funded project Germany-France-Moscow-Africa: Survival, Politics and Identity among German Cameroonians, ca. 1890-1960.

The conference will take place at the Kuumba Imani Millennium Centre, Princes Road, Liverpool:
Registration fees: £60 full rate / £30 for students (£30 / £15 for one-day registrations), to cover the cost of lunches and refreshments at the conference. Places are limited, so please register early and in any case before 15 October. Registration will be on line at the following URL (follow the link for School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies):

The conference will begin at 10.30 on Friday, 30 October and end at 5 p.m. on 31 October. Advice about accommodation in Liverpool can be found here:
Updates to the programme will be available at

For enquiries, please contact Dr Christoph Laucht,

(The conference will begin at 10.30 on 30 October and end at 17.00 on 31 October)

Friday, 30 October

African cultural production in the European frame
Christopher Hogarth (Wagner College), Africans in European Literature: Language, Publication and Reception
Paul Davis (University of Indiana), Cosmopolitan Artistic Formations and the Politique Culturelle of Painting in Bamako, Mali, 1950s–1970s
Sara Lennox (University of Massachusetts), Postcolonial Writers in Germany: Dualla Misipo and Kum' a Ndumbe III
Narrating transnational lives
Elleke Boehmer (Oxford), Nile Baby (reading and discussion)
John Sealey (Exeter), The Greatest Escape: Filming Black Experience (short film and discussion)
Stefanie Michels (Köln), Andrea Manga Bell and her Mother-in-Law Emily Engome Dayas - Some Methodological Reflections on 'Race', Gender, and Diaspora
Polychrome France
Lisa Shaw (Liverpool), Black Brazil(ians) in Paris in the First Half of the Twentieth Century
Jennifer Boittin (Penn State), Black Communities in Urban France: The Africans and Afro-Caribbeans of Marseille and Paris during the Interwar Years
Germanophone Lives
Holger Stoecker (Berlin), Bonifatius Folli – A Togolese Language Informant in Berlin
Sara Pugach (California State), A Death in Berlin: Africans in Health and Illness in Late 19th-Century Germany

Saturday, 31 October

Radical Encounters
S. Ani Mukherji (Brown), To Create Anticolonial Culture: Black Cultural Work in 1930s Moscow
Elizabeth Williams (Goldsmith's), African Diasporic Agency in the Anti-Apartheid Movement
New perspectives on Black Britain
Mark Christian (Miami University), Rethinking Liverpool Black
Daniel Whittall (Royal Holloway), Contesting the Racialisation of Urban Space in Britain 1931-1948
Jose Lingna Nafafe (Birmingham), Luso-African Migrants in the West Midlands
Post-postcolonial Europe
Elly Omondi Odhiambo (Independent Researcher), Can You Speak African? Africans in Northern Ireland: A Transnational Experience in Anglo-Celtic Subcultures
Donald Carter (Hamilton College), Ethnographic Perspectives on Africans in Italy
Closing discussion
Susan Pennybacker (Trinity College, Hartford) opening comment