CFP: Africa Conference (UT Austin)

CFP: Africa Conference (UT Austin)

19th Annual Africa Conference at The University of Texas at Austin

March 29-31, 2019

Department of History, UT Austin



Africa’s intertwined historical trajectories signal at the imbricated nature of identities in the continent. At the same time, politicization of different identities for the mobilization of diverse population groups adds another dimension to this complex terrain. The 2019 Africa Conference intends to critically examine the highly intricate and contested processes of identity formation and its significance for African societies. Furthermore, the conference will engage with discussions on identities that are intimately linked to notions of African diaspora across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. The primary aim of the conference is to reflect on the varying and varied forms of social practices and processes through which identities are constructed, contested, negotiated, and reconfigured in relation to one another. Simultaneously, the conference intends to create an intellectual space for examining the politics of identity that systematically marginalizes, excludes, disempowers, and denudes certain social groups. Beyond the specific emphasis on Africa, the overarching focus of the conference is to engage with different theoretical inflections that have emerged in the existing scholarship on imbricated identities as well as to probe into the ways in which they have been challenged and reformulated within the academia.

Scholars are invited to examine diverse aspects of identity formation in Africa or within African communities. The conference intends to address core questions such as what constitutes the different practices of making and unmaking of identities, why various social groups resort to identity politics of different sorts, what are the larger implications of identity politics in African social formations, and how socially marginalized and excluded groups invest in identity politics to endorse right-based social movements. Parallel to that, the conference invites inquiries about how transnational and global currents inform the discursive formations of various identities among Africans and the African diaspora. It invites participants to engage with critical questions related to nationalist formations, racial identities, politics of borderland, linguistic and religious identities, gender identities, and sexual minorities. Simultaneously, the conference invites discussions on overlapping spaces of identity formation through investigations of cosmopolitanism, hybridity, pluriversalism, and Afropolitanism. The objective of such dialogues is to pluralize the narratives on certain assumed and ambiguous positionalities in African societies.

Following the tradition of past years, the conference will provide a platform for scholars from various disciplines and geographical locations to interact, exchange ideas, and receive feedback. Submitted papers will be assigned to various panels according to the similarities in theme, topic, discipline, or geographical focus. Thematically focused panel proposals (with 3-5 participants) are highly encouraged. Graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers. The broader goal of the conference is to publish selected papers in a series of book volumes.

We invite submissions on the following sub-themes, in addition to other ideas that the participants may have:

  • Theoretical inflections on identities
  • Ethnic identity politics in Africa
  • Nationalist formations and Africa’s past and present
  • Citizenship, nationality, and migrant workers in Africa
  • Religious identities and Africa’s pluriversalism
  • Islam and religious symbolism in Africa
  • Minoritarian nationalism in Africa
  • Migration, xenophobia, and politics of identity in Africa
  • Sexual identities and gendered spaces
  • Miscegenation and racial identities in Africa
  • Politics of place, space, and identity in Africa
  • Conflicts, refugees, and national identities in Africa
  • Borderland, migration, and citizenship in Africa
  • Creative expressions and performance of identity in Africa
  • Creative pasts and historical manifestations of identity politics
  • Everyday worldly practices
  • Linguistic identities and nation-state in Africa
  • African material cultures and performance of identity
  • Exploration of diasporic dissonance or diasporic collaboration
  • Cosmopolitanism, hybridity, and African pluriversalism
  • Globalization, Afropolitanism, and African futures

Each individual proposal must include: 1) title of the work, and an abstract of 200 words 2) name of the presenter (with the surname underlined) 3) mailing address, 4) phone number 5) email 6) institutional affiliation 7) three to five keywords that best characterize the themes and topics relevant to your submission. Participants are expected to follow these guidelines.

Proposals for panels (3-5 presenters) must include: 1) title of the panel and a collective summary of 250 words on the panel’s theme, including the title of each individual work 2) a 200-word abstract for the presentation of each speaker 3) mailing address 4) phone number 5) email and 6) institutional affiliation of each presenter.

Proposals will be accepted by email: and on the official conference website from mid-August to 15th of December 2018 ( A mandatory non-refundable registration fee of $150 for scholars and $100 for graduate students must be paid immediately upon the acceptance of the abstract. This conference fee includes conference t-shirt and bag, admission to the panels, workshops, and special events, as well as transportation to and from the hotel and conference events. Registration also includes breakfast for all three days, dinner on Friday night, lunch on Saturday, a banquet with DJ and open bar Saturday evening, and a closing celebration at Dr. Falola’s house including dinner and DJ. All participants must raise the funding to attend the conference, including registration fee, transportation, and accommodation. The conference and the University of Texas at Austin do not provide any form of sponsorship or financial support. However, the Holiday Inn Austin Town Lake will have a special rate for conference participants, and transportation between the hotel and the university is included.

If you have any questions, contact Toyin Falola at and the Conference Coordinators Abikal Borah and Chukwuemeka Agbo at:

Contact Info:

Toyin Falola
Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities

Department of History, The University of Texas at Austin