Conference Theme




Africa in the World: Shifting Boundaries and Knowledge Production

Johannesburg South Africa – May 25-28, 2018


Who speaks with authority about Africa’s contemporary successes and failures? Is “the African Library” restricted to “europhone” scholarship? To what extent is post-colonialism a relevant lens through which we regard contemporary patterns, processes, and institutions? What is the state of African Studies? Is post-colonialism still a relevant framework for studying Africa’s contemporary successes and failures? Who is allowed to theorize Africa? Are “Europhone” intellectuals the only scholars of Africa? These are just a few of the questions framing Shifting Boundaries of Knowledge Production about Africa, a conference dedicated to exploring new theoretical and practical approaches to the study of Africa’s past, present, and future. This three-day conference will bring together some of the most eminent, dynamic, and engaged scholars who will address important topical themes in African Studies across the humanities and social sciences, from historiography, literature, linguistics, anthropology, politics, and technological transformations to art and popular culture.


The conference will open with an evening keynote lecture on African philosophical and didactic traditions and their relevance to contemporary challenges and theories of social justice and rule of law. On days two and three there will be roundtables, panels, posters, and flash presentations engaging critical topics, ranging from migration to climate change. In addition to panels on urbanization, tours of the area will be available, highlighting regional cultures, histories, politics, and infrastructure. Optional hands-on workshops will engage small groups in exchanging practical ideas that participants can take back to their home institutions.


We welcome paper proposals related to the panel themes from emerging and established scholars and from professionals working in the non-academic world. In addition, we welcome proposals for poster and flash presentations. Shifting Boundaries of Knowledge Production about Africa will be the second joint conference of the African Studies Association and the American Anthropological Association.


Panel themes include:

·       Arts and Popular Culture

·       Being Young in Africa

·       Changing Roles of Media, Civil Society, and Activism

·       Environmental Challenges in the Age of Climate Change

·       Lawscapes and Landscapes

·       Local Conflicts/Global Insecurities

·       Migration to, from, and within Africa

·       Shifting Boundaries of Language, Identity, and Citizenship

·       Shifting Boundaries of Women in Society

·       Shifting Narratives on Religion

·       Transformative Technologies

·       Urban Landscapes





·       African Perspectives on China

·       From Structural Adjustments to Unearned Income Credits: Rethinking African Economic Futures

·       New Themes in Critical African Studies

·       Revolutionizing African Academic Institutions