RE...AFRICA: Knowledges, Archives and Approaches

deadline for submissions: 
February 10, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northwestern Program of African Studies Graduate Student Seminar

 The Program of African Studies graduate student seminar (AfriSem) invites graduate student papers in the study of Africa and its communities engaging with the theme “RE...AFRICA.” Interested participants should submit abstracts of not more than 250 words to: afrisemconf2017@gmail.comby February 10, 2017. Please include your name, affiliation, and contact details.

Discourse concerning Africa and its diaspora continent has been characterized by a dialectical tension between invention and refusal; injury and repair. Taking this as a point of departure, this conference—under the banner of RE... AFRICA—aims to curate a dynamic conversation on the multivalent modes of thinking “Africa” and “Africanity.” We invite papers which critically rethink familiar and unfamiliar African objects, revisit archives, refuse prevailing historical concepts, re-theorize structures of feeling, and reconsider methodologies in the study of African life, politics, and aesthetics. In order to explore new ways of thinking about the questions and concerns that have historically afflicted the enterprise of African studies, we welcome papers that unsettle origins, reject hegemonic narratives, and pay particular attention to the consistent re-invention of “Africa” as a discursive and ‘real’ object.

 Some questions to consider are:

  • What does Africa signify in the current moment, and how does it resonate with and trouble notions of African-ness?
  • What are the assumptions behind contemporary approaches to archives, methodologies, conceptual tools, and ways to organize knowledge?
  • How do we reconstruct a genealogy of concepts and critical practices that define the field?
  • How is Africa reinvented by its actors within and outside the continent?
  • What are the ethics of revisiting revolutionary pasts as “usable pasts” for purposes of reparations and/or reconciliation? Could these pasts offer pedagogical insights for contemporary revolutionary movements?
  • Are there alternatives to revisiting, reclaiming, and recollecting without limiting those practices to nostalgia? How do we attend to patterns of repetition, cycles, silences, and hauntings?

Papers are welcome from a diverse range of disciplines in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities. We are also interested in papers that engage with art, society, governance, public policy, education, and considers community involvement and collaboration. Papers with qualitative and/or quantitative approaches are encouraged.

This conference is primarily a forum for graduate students to present their research (in various stages of development) to a cross-disciplinary audience. Please contact afrisemconf2017@gmail.comwith questions and inquiries.