Migration In and Out of Africa: A Cultural Perspective

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Indraprastha: An International Journal of Culture and Communication Studies

Call for Papers

Indraprasth: An International Journal of Culture and Communication Studies 

invites original and unpublished papers for its 2023 edition on the theme: 

Migration In and Out of Africa: A Cultural Perspective


Concept Note

As Tom Casteel puts it, migration can be understood as a movement between spaces over the course of time. However, there are various distinctions within the concept of migration that relate to factors that define if an individual should be considered as a migrant, immigrant, refugee or an asylum seeker; depending on their length of stay and motivation to migrate. As Michael H. Fisher states that the identity of migrants can be developed or challenged by looking at different narratives that represent the history of human migrations in a given historiographical context. 

From a historical perspective, spatial mobility or migration has been a recurring phenomenon. The Great Human Migration, the earliest of all, as recorded in human history developed out of natural reasons and in particular from Africa. It brought our species to a position of world dominance, making us one of the most evolved ones on the planet. Over the course of time, humans enhanced their knowledge, sought resources unknown, and contested with each other for acquisition of the same. The fight for survival was replaced by a fight for resources, due to which both forced and voluntary migration became a norm. The availability of resources created the space in which individuals started fighting over the accessibility of those resources. In doing so, the discourse of us versus them, and of oppressed and oppressor found its roots. 

Human society has witnessed numerous such conflicts between the privileged and deprived, followed by adverse consequences. Mass migrations have occurred on grounds of racism, religious strife such as anti-Semitism, economic disparity, and political conflicts. The Holocaust, the Partition of India, California Gold Rush, the World Wars, civil wars, and natural disasters are to name a few that have been responsible for forced migration across the globe. Human migration ensues due to various factors such as educational resources, economic circumstances, cultural denigration, psychological violence, political emergencies and political power plays. 

In this context, Africa is no exception. From prehistoric times till date, Africa has passed through multiple phases of migration. To begin with, the Arab slave trade, and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade took Africans out of Africa and gave birth to what is today known as first African diaspora. Events like Scramble for Africa led to economic, social, and political underdevelopment and further partitioning of several ethnicities. Invasion, annexation, division, and colonisation by the Imperial powers exploited human resources and took them away from their continent to work in foreign lands in most inhumane conditions. The end of colonial rule established independent states but did not create entirely peaceful countries; political and economic instability prevailed, creating new conflicts which resulted in catastrophic civil wars and genocides. Consequently IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and EXDPs (Externally Displaced Persons) brought forth the modern-day refugee crisis. For example, civil wars in Ethiopia, Sudan, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda resulted in mass exodus in and out of Africa in search of new and peaceful homes. However, another trend visible in this pattern of migration is voluntary in nature which developed post 1960s, when African countries started gaining independence. The motivating factors behind this were more income opportunities, improved dispersal of amenities, and a quest for modernity. Along with this, it can also be observed that post 1960s, when African countries underwent massive urbanisation and modernisation, people from rural settings started moving to cities like Nairobi, Cairo, Lagos, Kampala, Mogdishu, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Accra Rabat, etc. laying the foundation for another layer of migration—this time within Africa, and the trend continues till date. These kinds of migrations play a significant role in the works of writers like Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Ayi Kwei Armah, Gbenga Adeoba, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Wole Soyinka, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ousmane Sembene among many others.

Contributors may address the following sub-themes. However, these subcategories are only suggestions. Anything linked with migration in and out of Africa and its literary representations will be considered. 

● Migration and Arab Slave trade

● Migration and Trans-Atlantic slave trade  

● Migration and civil wars 

● Migration and natural disasters 

● The concept of IDPs and EXDPs in specific socio-political setup 

● Migration, industrialisation and urbanisation 

● Legal and illegal migration in and out of Africa

● “Back to Africa movement” from the point of view of African diaspora 

● Cultural memory as a result of migration 


Points to remember: 

● Papers should be original and unpublished

● Word limit should not exceed 5000 words including bibliography 

● Papers must accompany an abstract (up to 200 words), author’s bio-note (up to 100 words) and 3 to 5 keywords

● Papers must follow MLA 8th edition for formatting and citations

● Papers must be written in British English, have a text format of 12pts Times New Roman, and be double-spaced throughout

● Papers must accompany a plagiarism report from a trusted resource

● The contributors must attach a cover letter declaring that their work is original, is nowhere under consideration and indebtedness to all resources has been acknowledged in its conducive context in the paper



● Last date of paper submission- 31 October, 2023

● Tentative month of publication- Spring 2024


All contributors will receive their complimentary copies. Please direct your submissions and queries to ipjournalspecialissue2023@gmail.com

To learn more about the journal, please visit http://www.ipu.ac.in/indraprasth/aboutus.php 



Dr. Shubhanku Kochar 

University School of Humanities and Social Sciences 

Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University