CFP: "Communal practices of joy and sorrow in Africa and the diaspora."

deadline for submissions: 
March 22, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Olabode Ibironke
contact email: 

Panel Sponsored by the African Languages, Literatures, and Cultures since 1990 Forum:

Modern Language Association Conference 2024 (Philadelphia)

We invite papers on shared experiences of catharsis and purgation; dance and participatory art as tropes of identity, homecoming, and healing; Truth and Reconciliation; digital culture and affective communities, etc., 

Send 250-word abstracts and CV to Bode Ibironke <> by March 22. 

Jean-Paul Sartre captured the layered significations of dance practices in his introduction to Fanon's Wretched of The Earth thus: "They dance; that keeps them busy; it relaxes their painfully contracted muscles; and then the dance mimes secretly, often without their knowing, the refusal they cannot utter and the murders they dare not commit." From Negritude to Black literature and Afropolitanism, especially in Léopold Sédar Senghor, Paule Marshal, Maya Angelou, and Taiye Selasi, dance, among other forms, has served as a transcendental sign and reenactment of community, as its expression of being-in-common. Dominique Loreau's film Names Live Nowhere is an apt example. The reaffirmation of shared humanity, mutually constituted destiny, and above all, the circulation and transference of affect, its therapeutic quality, and wellness functionality, have been associated with African communal forms and practices. This affective economy is not limited to the Dionysian aspects of African literary culture but also to art, including visual and performance arts. Indeed, to echo Baldwin, "art was naturally and spontaneously social" in Africa. 


This invitation extends to critiques of African predispositions and examinations of the communal practices of joy and sorrow in African and African diasporic literary and cultural forms (film, theatre, dance, standup comedy, skits, and other participatory arts). We welcome papers examining enactments of these communal practices in novels, poetry (dirge or poetry of mourning, for example), plays, paintings, comics, etc. Papers could also address this broad theme through the lens of performance studies, popular culture, feminism, postcolonial and decolonial thoughts, digital culture, etc. They could address such issues of indigeneity, modernity, class, gender, sexuality, race, identity, memory, trauma, space, time, affect, and everyday life, among others.