GLOBAL AFRICA: African and African Diaspora Studies in the 21st Century

March, 12, 2019 - March, 14, 2019

Africa Hall, Sharjah, UAE


Introduction

The Africa Institute is pleased to organise Global Africa: African and African Diaspora Studies in the 21st Century, an international conference to be held 12–14 March 2019 in Sharjah, UAE. The three-day conference will be the first to take place in the newly rebuilt Africa Hall, originally constructed in 1976 as a first class venue for showcasing African cultures, theatre, dance and musical performances. In addition to celebrating the establishment of The Africa Institute, the Global Africa conference aims to assess the current state of African and African diaspora studies and to interrogate new theoretical approaches through a range of interdisciplinary perspectives. The conference welcomes scholars in African and African diaspora studies from across the globe to present papers in their respective disciplines and specialisations towards the shared goal of appraising the past, present, and future iterations of their fields. We seek to foster conversation about what lies ahead for African studies, especially in the context of increased globalisation and migration caused by the crisis of the postcolonial state in Africa, compounded by rising xenophobia and draconian anti-immigration policies in Europe and North America. The intention is to provide a platform for conference participants to document and provide a critical understanding of the major transformations and theoretical shifts in African and African diaspora studies. Our expectation is that the invited participants will present new unpublished papers, which will serve as the basis for a subsequent publication of the conference proceedings.

In recent decades, African and African diaspora studies have increasingly engaged with postcolonial studies as well as race, gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. Central to these developments is rising interest in the contributions of several pioneering African/Black diasporic intellectuals such as Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Édouard Glissant, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Leopold Sedar Senghor, who played pivotal roles in the formation of schools of thought such as Pan-Africanism and Negritude, in addition to contemporary influential theorists and scholars such as Angela Davis, Sylvia Winters, and Kimberle Crenshaw among others. Recent contributions by scholars and activists with interests in gender, feminist and sexuality studies have shifted the field towards more intersectional analysis in which the imperatives of gender, race, and class, among other factors, are taken into consideration. Inspired by these interventions within the field, a new generation of Africanist scholars have produced a body of work critical of patriarchy, Eurocentrism and other hegemonic paradigms.

The last two decades have also witnessed rising scholarly interests in the study of new frontiers of African diaspora studies. These include other aspects of the African diaspora in the Spanish speaking Caribbean (such as Cuba and Puerto Rico) and Latin America including Brazil, in addition to the Black British experience and recent African migrations and diasporas in Europe and the Middle East. These developments will certainly play a part in reconfiguring the field and expanding its scope–and by extension the scholarly focus and curricula of the new Africa Institute. The Africa Institute will engage with and shape these new paradigms of thought in ways that will ensure its place at the forefront of African and African diaspora studies for years to come.

The conference consists of nine panels arranged across three days. Speakers include Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Brown University); Hisham Aidi (Columbia University); Jean Allman (Washington University in St Louis); Awam Amkpa (New York University); Akosua Adomako Ampofo (University of Ghana); Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City University); Susan Buck-Morss (Cornell University and CUNY Graduate Center); Kassahun Checole (Africa World Press); Ebony Coletu (Pennsylvania State University); Naminata Diabate (Cornell University); Manthia Diawara (New York University); Mamadou Diouf (Columbia University); Chouki El Hamel (Arizona State University); Elizabeth Wolde Giorgis (University of Addis Ababa); Catarina Gomes (Catholic University of Angola); Ousmane Kane (Harvard University); Premesh Lalu (University of Western Cape, South Africa); Zine Magubane (Boston College); Fouad Makki (Cornell University); Sandy Prita Meier (New York University); Natalie Melas (Cornell University); Sarah Nuttall (WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand); Tejumola Olaniyan (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Carina Ray (Brandeis University); Ahmad Sikainga (Ohio State University); Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò (Cornell University); Benjamin Talton (Temple University); Dagmawi Woubshet (University of Pennsylvania); and Paul Teyimba Zeleza (United States International University-Africa, Nairobi).


Convenors:

  • Hoor Al Qasimi
  • Salah M. Hassan
  • Carina E. Ray

Schedule: Speakers and Abstracts

Tuesday 12 MARCH

10:00 AM –11:00 AM : Coffee and Registration

11:15 am Welcoming Remarks

Hoor Al Qasimi - President, The Africa Institute and President and Director, Sharjah Art Foundation

Introductory Remarks

Salah M. Hassan - Director, The Africa Institute and Goldwin Smith Professor and Director, Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell University, Ithaca, USCarina E. Ray - Associate Professor, African and African-American Studies, Brandeis University, Boston, US

11:30 am–1:30 pm Session I: Africa and African Diaspora Studies: The State of the Discipline

Montreal and the Unfinished Business of 1969: Reflections on Whiteness, African Studies, and the Racial Politics of Knowledge Production in North America

Jean Allman - J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis, US

Why is African studies in North America dominated by white scholars? In this reflection piece, the former president of the African Studies Association outlines the organisation’s 60-year history, exposing the processes by which white privilege was hardwired into African Studies at the organisation's founding in 1957 and then secured by 1) the displacement of the much older tradition of African-American scholarship on Africa and 2) by the ‘recolonization American-style’ of knowledge production on the continent in the postcolonial era.

Black Studies in the 21st Century: The Science of Liberation in the Neo-Liberal Institution

Kehinde Andrews - Professor, Black Studies, Birmingham City University, UK

In September 2017 the first Black Studies degree in Europe at Birmingham City University, UK was launched. The degree was a culmination of work building Black Studies research and networks, and being able to build critical mass of Black faculty in the institution. Black Studies is 50 years behind the US for a number of reasons, most notably, the lack of Black faculty. Only one percent of academic staff are Black, and 125 out of 19,000 full professors in the entire country are Black. Andrews and his peers were able to launch the degree because they have six full time Black faculty in the same department, a totally situation unique in Europe. But Black Studies is about far more than representation, its goal is to transform not just who is in the institution but also the role of the academic. In the age of neo-liberalism the challenge to inherit the legacy of the ‘science of liberation’ is increasingly difficult. Building communities of practice that can uplift Black communities goes against the historic role of the university in maintaining racial hierarchy. The challenge of the Black Studies intellectual is to subvert the university and use their positions of privilege in service of Black communities. This paper will consider the extent to which Black Studies in the 21st century can overcome the ‘crisis of the Negro intellectual’ and fulfil the promise of putting the academy in service of liberation.

Cross-Examining African-centredness Debates: Whose Conversations, What Do They Say, Where, and To Whom?

Akosua Adomako Ampofo - Professor, African and Gender Studies, University of Ghana

Over the last few decades there has been a veritable explosion of debates and counter debates about Africa in both the popular and academic press, as well as social media, with different protagonists engaging in re-claiming, surfacing, interpreting and sometimes re-writing African stories. The perspectives of peoples of Africa living on the African continent and in the diaspora frequently collide with the perspectives of non-Africans/Africanists in terms of what is privileged in the stories about Africa and the ‘Black condition’. The effort to centre Africa in the experiences and future of African peoples is not new—prior attempts have existed on both sides of the Atlantic, for example the work that led to the first Africanists congress held in Ghana in 1962, and even before that the debates emanating out of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In this paper Adomako Ampofo will reference some of the historical as well as contemporary representations, debates, contestations, and push backs within the academy, traditional news media, and popular and social media.

Moderator and Discussant: Carina E. Ray - Associate Professor, African and African American Studies, Brandeis University, Boston, US

1:30 pm–2:30 pm Lunch

2:30 pm–4:30 pm Session II: African/a Philosophy and The Black Intellectual Tradition

‘Hegel and Haiti’ in Retrospect

Susan Buck-Morss - Distinguished Professor of Political Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, US and Professor Emeritus, Department of Government, Cornell University, Ithaca, US

In the years since Buck-Morss’ essay Hegel and Haiti was published, much in scholarship has changed and much remains the same. Diaspora studies has expanded in wonderful ways, but Hegel scholarship has hardly been disturbed. Translations from Brazil and Mexico to China and Japan provide a perspective on global critique. A lasting effect has been this essay's contribution to method, with its emphasis on the ‘and’ that brings together within one constellation several phenomena that are usually kept apart. This method can be deployed in many different areas, including art, and is productive for south-south projects of research. A new understanding of ‘universal’ is implied. This paper is a reconsideration of Buck-Morss’ original essay, given the transformation of knowledge-production in African Studies as the field has evolved in the 21st century.

How Language Stunts Knowledge Production in African Studies

Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò - Professor, Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, US

How do we explain a situation in which a continent that has always been a significant presence in globalisation, however far back we go, is only now referenced as part of European and American or, lately, Asian shenanigans in global narratives? Why doesn’t the world beat its path to Africa’s doors when it comes to intellectual engagement? To finding African insights into the human condition beyond those compelled by pity for the prostrate condition of poor Africans? To identifying, studying, and arguing with African answers to the perennial questions of philosophy? In this presentation, Táíwò argues that we Africans are our own worst enemies. This is where he departs from his previous polemics against Africanists. His attention here is concentrated on us, African scholars, in and outside Africa. Our self-presentation, our self-awareness, our sense of collective identity as scholars feed these shortcomings. The language in which we conceive of our studies, articulate the issues, report our outcomes, plays a crucial role in how our knowledge is received, deployed and responded to by the world within and without Africa.

Aimé Césaire’s Publics: The Anticolonial Intellectual between Poetry and Politics (1935–1948)

Natalie Melas - Professor, Comparative Literature, Cornell University, Ithaca, US

How can we account for what is, or who are, the publics for the writings of a young, black anticolonial intellectual from the Caribbean island of Martinique, spanning from his student years in Paris before the Second World War, through his work as a teacher and resistant intellectual during the war years in Martinique, up to and just beyond his accession to public office with his election as a representative to the French National Assembly just after the Second World War? This presentation will pursue two lines of inquiry to approach the topic. The first, drawing on important recent scholarship, will attempt a sketch of the complex historical and sociological dimensions at play in how this particular black radical public intellectual emerged during this period. The second line of inquiry looks to a selection of Césaire’s poetry and political speeches for how he develops and projects an idea of the public, one which forges an inner voice out from the miasma of historical depredation and present colonial destitution (speaking, and speaking for) and experiments with modes of declamatory address (speaking to or speaking at) and another, outer voice, if you will, which deftly rises to public occasions and commemorations. Aimé Césaire is best known as one of the co-creators of the concept of Negritude. While giving some attention to this aspect of Césaire’s political and intellectual itinerary, this presentation seeks to widen and nuance the context in which we receive his indispensable work today.

Imaging Africa from the Diaspora: African-Americans and the African Presence in the Library of Human Civilisation

Mamadou Diouf - Leitner Family Professor of African Studies and History and Chair of the Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies Department, Columbia University, New York, US

This presentation opens with a meditation on three intersecting events: (a) A monument erected on top of a volcanic hill in the westernmost, Atlantic African city, Dakar; (b) Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s last book, Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance (Civitas Books, 2009), and (c) Henry Louis Gates’ op-ed on Ending the Slavery Blame-Game in the 22 April 2010 issue of the New York Times. It seeks to examine how Black intellectuals and artists (African-American and African) engaged with their own exclusion from Universal History in the early 20th century. What framework did they develop in order to restructure the Universal History in order to accommodate their inclusion? What competing narratives of the universal emerged from their efforts to decentre world-history written from the vantage point of Europe? Diouf’s goal is to document the role of Africa in their discussion and historical methods. In the case of world-history production, the cyclical nature of history, the grand narratives, and non-national history that they adopted to restore Africa to universal history and Africans to humanity. This paper identifies, describes and analyses two different intellectual approaches–Atlantic and African–to Africa and world history. African-Americans and Africans are engaging both the continent and diasporic territories, but at different moments, and according to the changing circumstances that are specific to the contexts in which they were imagining usable pasts. Using similar resources, evidence of African civilisation, customs, and culture derived from the social sciences, both groups sought in Africa ways to reassert their authority; in the African-American case as citizens of the United States and active members of the international ‘community of nations’, and in the African case as citizens of colonial empires.

Moderator and Discussant: Manthia Diawara - Distinguished University Professor, Comparative Literature and Cinema, New York University, US

4:30 pm–6:30 pm Session III: African and African Diaspora Literature, and Performing Arts

The Films of Abderrahmane Sissako and the Right to African Interiority

Dagmawi Woubshet - Ahuja Family Presidential Associate Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, US

Abderrahmane Sissako has produced an incomparable body of work. Films like Life on Earth (1998), Waiting for Happiness (2002), Bamako (2006) and Timbuktu (2014), among others, stand out for their exquisite painterly eye as well as their unflinching political vision. Sissako’s films are as much concerned with the quotidian African experience as they are with the continent’s political reality, and beautifully interweave scenes of everyday life with charged political sequences. This presentation will consider two of Sissako’s most critically acclaimed films–Bamako and Timbuktu–examining closely both his aesthetics (particularly, the way he foregrounds African interiority) and the urgent cultural and political questions these films raise.

Naked Protest as Naked Agency in Africa

Naminata Diabate - Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature, Cornell University, Ithaca, US

Engaging a multidisciplinary framework, this paper explores naked protest, one of the most growing forms of female political contestation in the generalised African context. Diverging from reflections in specific disciplinary contexts–political science, anthropology, and literary criticism–that highlight triumphant accounts of the women’s gesture, Diabate offers a different way of conceptualising defiant self-exposure. Rather than focus on women to fall into ‘the romance of resistance’ (Lila Abu-Lughod 1990) or ‘aggrandized agency’ (Amanda Anderson 2000), she considers the reactions of the women’s targets, bystanders, and translators as crucial to our accounts of the gesture. Closely reading literary fiction and visual artworks (painting and illustrations) yields the concept of naked agency. ‘Naked agency’ privileges the dialectical movement between fluctuating narratives of power and victimhood that involve all parties for a more comprehensive understanding of resistant self-exposure. In this dynamic, the agency of the women and that of their targets and other stakeholders are simultaneously co-constitutive, precarious, and triumphant. To think of the women’s agency as open and unfolding carries implications for reflections on agency and subjectivity, two concepts that have consistently haunted African studies in what is now loosely called the Global North. This constant engagement with agency, the relative capacity for self-understanding and self-representation, lies in grappling with the aftereffects of several historical traumas: the Arab slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, colonisation, and more recently globalisation.

The Aesthetics of Regard: Theorising 21st Century Black Feminist Art Praxis

Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman - Associate Professor, American Studies and English, Brown University, Providence, US

Treating Black feminism as a radical ethic of being and relating, as the shaping content of Black women’s collective wisdom (across the globe and the ages), and as the blueprint for a just world, this paper centres Black feminism in studies of new millennial African diaspora expressive culture. Abdur-Rahman proceeds from the premise that racialised and gendered systems of captivity and control (from the plantation to the checkpoint to the prison) operate through techniques and technologies of ubiquitous surveillance, tracking, and capture that isolate and terrorise those who are most vulnerable and marginalised. Building on bell hooks’ insistence on love as radical politics and Brittney Cooper’s definition of Black feminism as Black girl friendship, this paper puts into conversation the work of Somali British poet Warsan Shire, her recent collaborator Beyoncé, and visual artist Alexandria Smith to theorise what Abdur-Rahman calls the aesthetics of regard. She does so to show how the emancipatory strategies of going deep and under in company, of communion, of ecstatic relation, of exuberant Black feminist solidarity take shape, look, and sound in contemporary black women’s cultural production.Moderator and Discussant: Tejumola Olaniyan - Louise Durham Mead Professor of English, African, and African Diaspora Literatures and Cultures Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US

7:00 pm–9:30 pm Dinner

Wednesday

13 March

11:00 am–1:00 pm Session IV: African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Studies

‘My color does not disfigure my honor or my wit’: Curating ReSignifications

Awam Amkpa - Associate Professor, Africana Studies and the Tisch School, New York University, US

Inspired by the Afro-Portuguese writer, Afonso Álvares famous statement, the travelling exhibition, ReSignifications, invokes classical and popular representations of African bodies in European art, culture and history. It moderates and subverts their particular artistic conventions by using the works of contemporary artists to engage in dialogue with the broad historical array of ornamental representations of such bodies. The artists in ReSignifications speak against the background of the connected histories of Europe and Africa, and the African diasporas. Its premise is from the ubiquitous models of decorative art known as the ‘Blackamoors’ furniture, sculptures, paintings, and tapestries that portray African bodies in service as domestic workers, soldiers, porters, and custodians of palatial properties, initially made in the 17th century and continuously produced through the 19th and 20th centuries. Our own era is peppered with the resurrections and contemporary renditions of these figures across a variety of media and spaces–from private homes, hotels, and museums, to aspirational fashion and jewellery. The presence of these images pervades contemporary Florence and Venice (among other Italian and European locales) to an astonishing degree. Who made them and why? What traditions of decorative art production and collection do they represent? What material histories and cultural meanings do they encode? How might contemporary artists interpret these meanings from diverse disciplinary perspectives? How do artists in our own time re-make these meanings through contemporary works of photography, sculpture, and film? ReSignifications confronts these representations with audacious presentations of such bodies as protagonists of histories and cultures. The exhibition combines styles across time and place to reframe and refract the history of representing African and African diasporic bodies. The unusual juxtaposition of these works gives the exhibition its texture and flavour, thereby underscoring the words of Giambattista Marino (1569–1625): ‘Nera sì, ma se’ bella. [Black yes, but so beautiful].

Africa and the World: The Indian Ocean as Art Historical Method

Sandy Prita Meier - Associate Professor, African Art History, New York University, US

Littorals and ocean rim regions are in many ways itinerant, overlapping territories–whose affiliations to empires, states, or sectarian entities are multifocal, contested, and constantly shifting. The Swahili coast of eastern Africa exemplifies this phenomenon. The residents of its port cities, like Mombasa, Zanzibar, or Lamu, which were once the main axes of exchange connecting the western Indian Ocean with mainland Africa, have long been living in and with a sense of transcultural multiplicity. This paper shows how Swahili arts unsettle assumptions about the cultural ‘origins’ of things, insisting instead on a relational, itinerant view of aesthetics and Meier argues that the Swahili coast challenges established oppositions between the local and global and between ‘native’ and ‘foreign’ to reveal strikingly fluid practices, where diverse forms and life worlds interlock and overlap to create densely layered material landscapes. Ultimately, eastern Africa prompts us to ‘un-discipline’ art historical canons and museological frameworks that have long kept Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas apart–and in place.

Modernism in Different Forms: Re-conceptualising Telsem Art

Elizabeth Wolde Giorgis - Associate Professor of Art History, Criticism and Theory, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Many European art historians and critics refer to the painstakingly detailed and intricate drawings of Telsem art (Ethiopian scroll paintings) as ‘talisman’ art that is specifically designed for therapeutic purposes. The conventional knowledge base for Telsem art is, therefore, cabalistic which the field of Western modernism often reductively categorises as art with ‘magical elements’, ‘spiritual’ or simply ‘healing art’. This type of classification omits the specific characteristics of the art that derives its unique calibration from the intellectual tradition of millennia old civilisations around the river Nile, in addition to the simple and at once complex liturgies of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It is true that Telsem paintings are often used as therapeutic instruments to cure mental disorders and other illnesses. But it is also true that Telsem is primarily an intellectual tradition where critical concepts and ideas are routinely contemplated to unravel complex problems. Indeed, the uses of the supernatural in non-Western visual art are grouped together under the rubric of ‘magical realism’, and scholars have given little significance to the substantial modernist interventions of such works. Packaged in arbitrarily imposed categories such as ‘healing art’, the styles and techniques of Telsem continue to fascinate viewers from Ethiopia and abroad. The art of Telsem cannot be excluded from the platforms of modernism. It is Africa’s own modernism. Rather than contrast and compare the visual sophistication and conceptual complexity of Telsem art to European modern art, this presentation offers a different direction that challenges the meaning of the 'modern'..Moderator and Discussant: Salah M. Hassan - Director, The Africa Institute and Goldwin Smith Professor and Director, Institute for Comparative Modernities, Cornell University, Ithaca, US

1:00 pm–2:00 pm Lunch

2:30 pm–4:30 pm Session V: African and African Diaspora: New Paradigms in Historical Studies

Gender and the Stigma of Racial Slavery: From the Sa‘di Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur to the ‘Alawi Sultan Mawlay Isma‘il

Chouki El Hamel – Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Arizona State University, Phoenix, US

In the late 16th century, the status of the Moroccan prince Ahmad within the Sa‘adi dynastic family was ambiguous. Part of that ambiguity arose from the status of Ahmad’s mother, who was originally a slave from West Africa. According to the Timbuktu historian ‘Abd ar-Rahman as-Sa‘di (1596–1656), the man who would become known as Ahmad Al Mansur was born in 1549, the fifth son of Muhammad ash-Shaykh (1490–1557), the founder of the Sa‘adi dynasty who made himself the Sultan of Morocco. Muhammad ash-Shaykh also claimed to be a sharif, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima; so, as his son, Ahmad was also a sharif. But the Timbuktu chronicler described Ahmad’s mother as Muhammad ash-Shaykh’s Fulani concubine, whose name was Lalla ‘Uda. Two centuries later the Moroccan historian an-Nasiri (1835–1897) described Ahmad’s mother as a free woman named Mas‘uda Al Wazikitiyya. Likewise, the mother of the ‘Alawi Sultan Mawlay Isma‘il (r. 1672–1727) Mubarka bint Yark Al Maghfiri, was born a black slave among the Arab Mghafra tribe. Mawlay Isma‘il referred to them as the tribe of his uncles. He totally dismissed her blackness, ethnicity and servitude status but he claimed the fictive kinship tied to his mother’s birthplace, albeit unrelated by blood, in order to seek their loyalty, and he even invited them to live in the city of Fez. This paper compares and investigates primary sources to argue that the dynastic intrigue and lineage status of princes were partly the product of racial slavery and concubinage. Most historians have been silent and have dismissed the sub-Saharan origins of these rulers and others of similar origins. This paper investigates the archival silence and racism that implicate scholars in this explicit racial bias.

Becoming African: Chief Sam’s Back-to-Africa Campaign, 1912–1917

Ebony Coletu - Assistant Professor, English and African-American Studies, Pennsylvania State University, State College, US

Between 1912 and 1917 Chief Alfred C. Sam launched a back-to-Africa campaign that raised nearly 100,000 dollars in the US to resettle African-Americans in today’s Ghana. Though the movement dispersed within a few years, the trade and emigration company Sam founded stimulated the first immigration policy in the Gold Coast as well as debate among coastal elites about the terms of diasporic reunion and its relationship to pan-African development. Sam’s motive for offering logistical help to relocate African-Americans on the eve of World War I has largely been a mystery. Based on newly discovered correspondence, this paper argues that Sam’s offer was inspired by a vision of black self-determination and the practical problem of foreign land ownership. Following J.E. Casely Hayford’s recommendation to recruit ‘African’ rather than ‘Afro-American’ migrants, Sam developed a plan for stock purchases and mass adoption of African-American stockholders that would result in the redistribution of land to returnees. Even as the plan had too many contingencies to succeed, relying on his pending chieftaincy and corporate solvency, Coletu suggests that his movement traced the fragile fit, rather than organic compatibility, between diasporic reunion and African development. The legacy of his migration experiment continues a century later in Ghana during the Year of Return 2019. This paper explores the features of the corporation used to mediate identity-transformation, symbolic reparation, and investment.

The Afterlife of Radicalism: African-American Activism, Africa, and the End of the Cold War

Benjamin Talton - Professor, African History, Temple University, Philadelphia, US

African-Americans have a long history of popular and political engagement in and with Africa. The 1980s witnessed the high point of this relationship, as the voting rights legislation of the 1960s produced a growing number of African-American elected officials during the 1970s and 1980s with roots in domestic and international activism. In the face of a conservative counter-revolution of the 1980s, African-American elected officials reached back to the strategies, symbols, and even the activists of the civil rights and black power movements to wage an ongoing struggle for black equality. They had the most success organising against US policies toward South Africa, which emerged as their consensus foreign policy issue. While South Africa provided a unifying narrative and issue, its resonance with US history and politics foreclosed on the possibility of elevating concurrent issues on the continent as legitimate within US foreign policy. The anti-apartheid movement, therefore, enabled African-Americans to achieve their greatest influence in US foreign affairs, but brought deep engagement with Africa as an ethnic bloc to an end.

Moderator and Discussant: Ahmad Sikainga - Professor, African History, Ohio State University, Columbus, US

4:30 pm–6:30 pm Session VI: Afro-Arab Histories and Relations

Religion, Fundamentalisms and Globalisation: Reflections from Africa

Ousmane Kane - Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, US (participating via Skype)

A global religious shift began during the 20th century, in the course of which Islam and Christianity transitioned from minority to majority religions on the African continent. This shift is becoming more obvious in the 21st century, which is witnessing the move of the global centre of gravity of these two Abrahamic faiths to Africa.

Indeed, at the beginning of the 20th century, the overwhelming majority of Christians and Muslims lived in Europe and Asia respectively. According to historical estimates from the World Religion Database, there were 11 million Muslims and just 7 million Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa. The total number of Muslims and Christians combined was estimated at less than a quarter of the population of West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Now adherents of these two religions are estimated at nearly five hundred million each. Muslims live overwhelmingly in the northern part of the continent above the equator from ten degrees north, and Christians in the southern hemisphere below the equator. Looking ahead, Islam and Christianity will continue to grow faster in Sub-Saharan Africa than in any region of the world. It is thus reasonable to assume that Africa will be the major global site of debate about, and contestation of religion in the 21st century. This paper will analyse the implications of this new dispensation for nation building, peace and development in Africa.

Enslaved People from Northeast Africa in Eastern Arabia and the Gulf in the Nineteenth and the Twentieth Centuries

Ahmad Sikainga - Professor, African History, Ohio State University, Columbus, US

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Arabian Gulf received an influx of slaves from East and Northeast Africa to meet the growing labour demand in the booming pearling industry and date farming. The Red Sea served as a major channel through which a large number of people from the present-day countries of Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti were taken to Arabia and Yemen, and the Gulf. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the history and the experience of these people and their legacy in the region. The paper is based on a wide range of oral and archival materials, which include many testimonies by the slaves who escaped to various British agencies in the Gulf. These testimonies provide significant insights into the process of enslavement, origins of the slaves, their social and economic conditions, and the changing dynamics of slavery in the Gulf. In addition to these topics, the paper will discuss the legacy of slavery in Qatari society and will devote special attention to African cultural influences in the Gulf, particularly in rituals such as spirit possession, music and dance.

W.E.B. Du Bois, Ibn Khaldun and the Gnawa: Theorising the "Afro-Arab Dilemma"

Hisham Aidi - Professor, International and Public Affairs and the Institute of African Affairs, Columbia University, New York, US

The rise of Gnawa music provides a particularly clear lens through which to view the complex–often mimetic–relations between America and the Islamic world. Anthropologists and scholars of religion debate the following questions: how globalisation is affecting Gnawa culture? what is traditional and what is authentic tagnawit nowadays? However, more interesting is how to trace the rise of Gnawa music, and how it is currently being contested and pulled in different directions by different actors. For example, the Moroccan officials in their efforts to to counter Islamism; by European city officials who are interested in integration, or by European Muslim youth who intent on building a transnational community. Questions such as: Why did this music go global in the first place? How numerous Sufi orders use faith healing, and of the countless North African music genres with polyrhythmic syncopation, and why has this music captivated Western listeners? As it has become evident, it was jazz that elevated Gnawa to its global status. Jazz met Islam in several places: in American cities, in European capitals, and in Europe’s colonies in Africa and Asia.

Moderator and Discussant: Chouki El Hamel - Professor of History, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Arizona State University, Phoenix, US

Thursday

14 March

11:00 am–1:00 pm Session VII: African Studies in Africa and the Diaspora: The Critical Humanities

Race and its Uncanny Returns: Building a Humanities Centre in a University of Apartheid

Premesh Lalu - Professor and Director, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

This paper outlines the process of formation of a humanities centre forged at the institutional site of the historically Black university in South Africa and its efforts to transcend that institution’s foundations in an apartheid rationality. Through explorations in aesthetic education, postcolonial theorisation about the exercise of power, studies on political subjectivity threaded through the figure of the migrant and the worldliness of anti-colonial struggles, this paper argues that the experience of the university in the south ultimately reveals what lies in wait as the Kantian University built on the Conflict of the Faculties comes apart.

African Modernity Revisited

Manthia Diawara - Distinguished University Professor, Comparative Literature and Cinema, New York University, US

This presentation will first discuss two competing schools of African modernities: one, often referred to as ethno-philosophy, or nativism, works with the tools of modernisation and modernisms, (teleology versus circularity, transparency and abstraction), and yet implicitly rejects modernity as not naturally and intrinsically African, instead favouring a return to tradition. The other attempts to disentangle and decolonise modernisation and modernisms from their Western roots and subjectivities (realism, languages and philosophies), in order to posit local subjectivities in tandem with the rest of the world.

Our project will then consider what Édouard Glissant called the ‘Chaos-monde’ a situation of ‘Planetarity’ (Spivak) where the whole world comes together with different modernities that were not necessarily willed or intended by the former colonisers. What might be the steps towards defining the aesthetics of these modernities, and in turn the aesthetics of the ‘Chaos-monde’, which is not chaotic?

“Freedom” in Africa, the longue durée

Tejumola Olaniyan - Louise Durham Mead Professor of English, African, and African Diaspora Literatures and Cultures Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US

This paper follows a composite of three directions: a historical excavation of what ‘freedom’ was in Africa from before chattel enslavement to the present; a conceptual exploration of an idea of freedom that will allow us to link the past to the present in an illuminating and persuasive way; and an underscoring of the contributions of Africa and the African diaspora to the dominant idea of freedom that currently rules the world today. The modern, contemporary idea of freedom is well known in its valorisation of personal freedom and dignity and the Western provenance of its theorising. Very frequently, even deep historical studies of Africa take this meaning for granted and apply it backwards. It is hard to quibble about such a universally desired value as freedom. However, what the dominance of the modern idea of freedom has done is to preclude researching and understanding, even if only for the sake of historical knowledge. Yet what freedom was in premodern Africa and how that value has changed in the present is of utmost importance. This paper maps out how we might begin to construct a portable archaeology of freedom in Africa borrowing from orature, history, literature, and political philosophy. As a conclusion, Olaniyan examines the implications of the method at work in this paper for studying African and African diaspora relations at the current time.

Moderator and Discussant: Natalie Melas - Professor, Comparative Literature, Cornell University, Ithaca, US

1:30 pm–2:30 pm Lunch

2:30 pm–4:30 pm Session VIII: African Studies in Africa and the Diaspora: Critical Social Sciences

Postcolonial Africa and the World Economy

Fouad Makki - Associate Professor, Development Sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, US

The 50th anniversary of the ‘Year of Africa’, marking the beginning of the end of European colonial rule, was commemorated with a euphoria and exuberance reminiscent of the formative years of decolonisation in the 1960s. Coming on the crest of a commodities boom that saw average growth rates at an all-time high, the celebrations were accompanied by a widespread sense of an African renaissance, and Africa’s statesmen used the occasion to project a redemptive narrative of seamless progress. These self-congratulatory pronouncements came a mere decade after the Western media had contemptuously dismissed Africa as a ‘hopeless continent’ whose very name was synonymous with primordial ‘backwardness’, recurrent ethnic conflicts, and largely self-inflicted and inexplicable sufferings. While the institutions of global governance generally shun such crudeness, their annual reports remain framed by a no less false antinomy between ‘Africa’ and the ‘world’ in which all that ails the continent is ascribed to Africa’s own political or cultural failings. Both positions share the implicit assumption that the political economy of Africa can be analysed within terms exclusively internal to the continent itself. To suggest otherwise is to risk scorn for presumably offering a defensive apologia or simply refusing to confront hard, if inconvenient, facts. In contrast to these essentialist or reductionist accounts, this paper argues for the need to situate the condition of postcolonial Africa within the historically constituted transnational arrangement of geo-political and economic relations that have causally impinged on it.

Decolonising Sociology: The View From African and African Diaspora Studies

Zine Magubane - Associate Professor, Sociology, Boston College, US

This paper will discuss how sociology's conceptual architecture has always positioned Africa as 'particular' in contrast to 'general sociology' or 'sociological theory', which purports to deal with 'the universal'. In this paper Magubane will explain how sociology in the United States has always been racially segregated, institutionally and epistemologically. There is a tradition of 'White' sociology, which is housed in predominantly White institutions and centres the thinking of Euro-American thinkers. The paper will conclude by examining how, alongside this 'White' sociology there has always been a tradition of 'Black' sociology which was produced primarily by scholars in historically Black institutions, and which has consistently challenged this conceptual architecture.

Thinking Freedom: Why a Social Sciences and Humanities Lab in Angola?

Catarina Gomes - Co-coordinator, Social Sciences and Humanities Lab, Catholic University of Angola

The creation of a Social Sciences and Humanities Lab emerged as a response to what has been shaping the overall Angolan Higher Education System, especially in these fields, namely an historical culture of authoritarianism and the un-mediated effects of global capitalism, such as an instrumental orientation of knowledge production processes, their commodification towards prevailing market needs and the global rise of what one could call new forms of social fascism. This description is, naturally, not exclusive to Angola, being lived and resisted in many different contexts.

Globally, in this setting, the linkages between the demise of humanities’ freedom and exercise, citizenry and democracy have gained a renewed protagonism. The contemporary questioning of the value of the humanities, for instance, tend to contribute in several ways to a depoliticisation and conservative stance in society whereby forms of disciplinary education are running the risk of fulfilling and disseminating what Paulo Freire has named as ‘the illusion of emancipation’. The Lab is anchored, thus, on a cosmopolitan aspiration and a public humanities concept. Its cosmopolitan aspiration represents an indispensable contribution for an effective global status of humanities, especially in what concerns Africa and an explicit commitment towards the promotion of critical thinking and citizenship within and beyond the academy.

It also aims to develop a secure base for the recognition of a concept of ‘Public Humanities’, which is seen as having a decisive role in providing an intellectual, social and political recognition for the humanities in a hermeneutic dialogue with local realities. This concept is to be built theoretically and empirically on three pillars: the promotion of critical thinking beyond mainstream approaches to issues such as humanism and development; the social engagement and responsibility of humanities, including actors outside of the academy; and the social role of the university. For the Lab, the concept of ‘public humanities’ has a postcolonial character. That character implies a double focus on critical epistemological and ontological forms of justice that should have the ability of amplifying the scope of humanities’ tradition, while also recognising that the humanities are still quite marked by authoritative and hegemonic Western disciplines.

Moderator and Discussant: Paul Tiyambe Zeleza - Vice Chancellor and Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, United States International University-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

4:30 pm–6:30 pm Session IX: Knowledge Production and Institution Building in Africa

36 Years of an African Academic Publishing Experience In the AmericasKassahun Checole - Publisher, Africa World Press, New Brunswick and Cape Town, South Africa

How does an independent effort of an academic university publishing without a university base, and physically based in the United States survive, serve and strive to be relevant to the African academic world? This brief paper is a historical account of the formation and development of Africa World Press (1983) and The Red Sea Press, Inc. (1985). Facing and resolving multiple challenges of logistical, social and political struggles, the presses have published over 3000 editions of books written by African centred authors from around the world. The presses have also built a chain of offices, networks, and distribution and publishing arrangements in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. The paper further expounds on survival mechanisms and support systems that have sustained the institution’s growth and continuing validity as a rare publishing outlet for African academic authors, writers in the arts and literary works, and contemporary issues.

Building an Africa-Based Public Humanities for the 21st Century

Sarah Nuttall - Director of WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand, JohannesburgThis presentation will reflect on the broad question of how to reinvent the university in the aftermath of the apartheid University, an inherited institution from a past shaped by violence and segregation – of bodies, access and knowledge. How do we really open the University to the society of which it is a part, and whose aspiration is to freedom and equality? Within this, how can we best craft a humanities programme that is embedded in an African city such as Johannesburg, while remaining connected to global flows of knowledge and exchange–which are themselves often unequal? Nuttall will consider the case of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) as an experiment in institutional form and intellectual participation as a way of approaching these broader issues.

Leveraging Africa’s Global Diasporas for the Continent’s Development

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza - Vice Chancellor and Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, United States International University-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

There is rising recognition of diasporas in development discourse. Not only have diasporas become more conscious of their power and potential, but interest in the role of diasporas has increased among various governments, countries and international organizations from the UN and its various agencies, to the World Bank, International Organization for Migration, and the African Development Bank. In this paper, the author suggests that Africa’s global diasporas are indispensable for the continent’s sustainable development as envisaged in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and in numerous national visions, including Kenya’s Vision 2030, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In mapping out the scope of analysis, the author examines the multiple and multilayered contributions that African diasporas have made and continue to make. Giving examples of two initiatives that he argues will strengthen the project of engaging African diasporas for Africa’s sustainable development, the author also identifies some of the challenges that undermine more productive engagements between the diasporas and their countries or regions of origin. There are the added questions of the spatial–and temporal–dimensions of the African diaspora, which require equal consideration, all of which, as the author argues, will necessitate new forms of engagement and mobilization of African descended peoples around the world, who constitute a huge asset for the sustainable transformation of their ancestral continent in the 21st century.

Moderator and Discussant: Premesh Lalu - Professor and Director, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

7:00 pm–9:00 pm Closing Reception


Contributors

Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman

Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman is Associate Professor of American Studies and English, Brown University, Providence, US. Two-time winner of the Darwin T. Turner Award for Best Essay of the Year in African American Review, she has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, American Association of University Women, Mellon Foundation, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, and the JFK Institute at the Freie Universität, Berlin. Her scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in African American Review, GLQ, The Black Scholar, The Faulkner Journal, American Literary History, The James Baldwin Review, among other scholarly journals and critical anthologies. Her first book was Against the Closet: Black Political Longing and the Erotics of Race, (Duke University Press, 2012). She is currently completing her second book, provisionally titled Millennial Style: The Politics of Experiment in Contemporary African Diasporic Culture.

Hisham Aidi

Hisham Aidi teaches international relations at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He is the author of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture (Pantheon, 2014), Redeploying the State (Palgrave, 2008) a comparative study of market reform and labour movements in Latin America, and co-editor, with Manning Marable, of Black Routes to Islam (Palgrave, 2009). As a cultural reporter, his work has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker and The Nation. Aidi has done field research in Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Senegal. He is the recipient of the Carnegie Scholar Award (2008), Open Society Foundation Fellowship (2010) and the American Book Award (2015). He is currently a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, US, leading a research project titled W.E.B. Du Bois and the Afro-Arab World.

Jean Allman

Jean Allman is the J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities and Professor of African and African American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis, US, with affiliated appointments in History and in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She currently directs Washington University’s Center for the Humanities. Allman received her BA and PhD in History from Northwestern University. Before arriving at Washington University in 2007, she was professor of History at the University of Illinois and Director of its Center for African Studies (a US Department of Education, Title VI National Resource Center). She has also taught at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, US, and the University of Missouri, Columbia, US. Allman’s research and published work engages 19th and 20th century African history, with a focus on gender, colonialism, nation, and the postcolonial state and has been supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Societies, Fulbright-Hays, Social Science Research Council and the Mellon Foundation. She is the author of The Quills of the Porcupine: Asante Nationalism in an Emergent Ghana (University of Wisconsin Press, 1993), ‘I Will Not Eat Stone’: A Women’s History of Colonial Asante (Heinemann, 2000) with Victoria Tashjian, and Tongnaab: The History of a West African God (Indiana University Press, 2005) with John Parker. Allman has edited and introduced several collections, including Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress. Her work has also appeared in a range of journals: Journal of African History, Africa, Gender and History, Journal of Women’s History, History Workshop Journal, Journal of African Historical Studies, Historical Review, Ghana Studies, and Souls. Allman co-edits the New African Histories book series at Ohio University Press and for six years co-edited the Journal of Women’s History. She just completed her term as President of the African Studies Association, US and currently serves as its Past President (2018–2019).

Awam Amkpa

Awam Amkpa is a Global Network Professor of Drama/Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University, US and Abu Dhabi, UAE, and is a curator of visual and performing arts. Trained as a dramatist, documentary filmmaker and scholar of theatre, film and photography, he is also a curator of visual and performing arts. He recently curated ReSignifications at Manifesta Biennale, Palermo, Italy; Wole Soyinka: Antiquities Across Times and Place, Harvard University Cooper Gallery, US and at Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Lines, Motions and Rituals, New York, US; Significaciones, Havana, Cuba; Interwoven Dialogues, New York, US; and the international travelling exhibition Africa: See You, See Me. Amkpa is co-founder and co-curator of the Real Life Pan-African Documentary Film Festival, Accra, Ghana. His documentary films include Winds Against Ours Souls, It’s All About Downtown, The Other Day We Went to the Movies and A Very Very Short Story of Nollywood. Amkpa has written and directed plays for stages in Africa and Europe, and is author of Theatre and Postcolonial Desires (Routledge, 2003), and several articles on African and African diasporic arts, theatre and film.

Akosua Adomako Ampofo

Akosua Adomako Ampofo is Professor of African and Gender Studies, University of Ghana, and President of the African Studies Association of Africa. In 2005 she became the founding director of the University of Ghana’s Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy, and from 2010 to 2015 she was Director of the Institute of African Studies. Her current work explores the shifting nature of identities among black men in Africa and the diaspora. With Kate Skinner (University of Birmingham) she is working on a project called the Archive of Activism that surfaces the stories of women activists of the ‘lost years’ in Ghana, during the 1970s and 1980s. She considers herself an activist scholar, and at the heart of her work are questions of identity and power–within families, institutions, political and religious spaces, and the knowledge industry. Her work has been variously recognised, and she has been a Junior Fulbright Scholar, a New Century Fulbright Scholar and a Senior Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence. Professor Adomako Ampofo has been a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. In 2010 she was awarded the Feminist Activism Award by Sociologists for Women and Society, and in 2015, she was the African Studies Association (of the Americas) African Studies Review Distinguished Lecturer. The article was published in the journal as follows: Re-viewing Studies on Africa, #BlackLivesMatter, and Envisioning the Future of African Studies (African Studies Review, 2016). Other publications include the co-edited volume with Cheryl Rodriguez and Dzodzi Tsikata Transatlantic Feminisms: Women’s and Gender Studies in Africa and the Diaspora (Lexington Books, 2015); with Nana Akua Anyidoho, Informalising the formal: The conditions of female agency workers in Ghana’s banking sector (Contemporary Journal of African Studies, 2017); With Deborah Atobrah, Expressions of Masculinity and Femininity in Husbands’ Care of Wives with Cancer in Accra (African Studies Review, 2016). Adomako Ampofo is Editor-in-Chief, Contemporary Journal of African Studies; Co-Editor of the blog Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa, as well as African Studies Review. She is a fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. Twitter:@adomakoampofo.

Hoor Al Qasimi

Hoor Al Qasimi is the President of The Africa Institute. She also serves as President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, is a curator and practising artist who received her BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2002), a Diploma in Painting from the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005) and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London (2008). In 2003, she was appointed curator of Sharjah Biennial 6 and has since continued as the Biennial Director. Al Qasimi serves on the Board of Directors for MoMA PS1, New York; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Ashkal Alwan, Beirut and Darat Al Funun, Amman. She is President of the International Biennial Association; Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Art and Design, University of Sharjah and member of the Advisory Board for Khoj International Artists’ Association, New Delhi. She is currently a member of the Prince Claus Award Committee (2016–current) and served as a member of the jury for the Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary Art (2018). Al Qasimi has previously served on the juries and prize panels for the Maria Lassnig Prize (2017), Mediacity Seoul Prize (2016), Hepworth Wakefield Prize for Sculpture (2016), Berlin International Film Festival–Berlinale Shorts (2016), Videobrasil (2015), Dubai International Film Festival (2014) and Benesse Prize (2013). Recent curatorial projects include major retrospectives Hassan Sharif: I Am The Single Work Artist (2017–2018), Yayoi Kusama: Dot Obsessions (2016–2017), Robert Breer: Time Flies (2016–2017), Simone Fattal (2016) and Farideh Lashai (2016) as well as 1980–Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, UAE Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Rasheed Araeen: Before and After Minimalism (2014) and Susan Hefuna: Another Place (2014). Al Qasimi was co-curator for Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige: Two Suns in a Sunset (2016), exhibited not only in Sharjah but also at Jeu de Paume, Paris; Haus der Kunst, Munich and IVAM, Valencia. She co-curated the major survey shows When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists (1938–1965) (2016) and The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present) (2016–2017).

Kehinde Andrews

Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies, Birmingham City University, UK. His research focuses on resistance to racism and grassroots organisations. His most recent book is Black to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century (Zed Books, 2018). He has also written Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement (Trentham Books, 2013) and is Editor of the Blackness in Britain book series with Zed Books. Kehinde is Director of the Centre for Critical Social Research, founder of the Harambee Organisation of Black Unity, and co-chair of the Black Studies Association.

Susan Buck-Morss

Professor Buck-Morss is a trans-disciplinary scholar whose political theory emerges out of a constellation of historical material, visual images, and contemporary events. She is a core faculty member of the CUNY Graduate Center’s Committee on Globalization and Social Change, New York, US. Her most recent book, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009), won the Frantz Fanon Prize Book Prize in 2011. Her book, Thinking Past Terror: Islamism and Critical Theory on the Left (Verso, 2003), has been translated into Hebrew, Urdu, Spanish, Japanese, and Greek. Research for her book Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West (MIT Press, 2000), was funded by awards from the MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Fulbright Program. Her early studies on the Frankfurt School are Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (MIT Press, 1989) and The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and the Frankfurt School (Free Press, 1979). A longtime professor at Cornell University’s Department of Government, Buck-Morss was also a member of Cornell’s graduate fields in Comparative Literature, History of Art and Visual Culture, German Studies, and the School of Architecture, Art, and Planning. She lectures and collaborates worldwide on the editorial boards of several journals and has been an invited lecturer at dozens of universities worldwide. Her numerous international awards and fellowships include a Getty Scholar grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She holds an MA degree from Yale University, studied at the Frankfurt Institut für Sozialforschung, and received her PhD in European intellectual history from Georgetown University.

Kassahun Checole

Kassahun Checole is the founder and publisher of Africa World Press and the Red Sea Press, Inc., whose almost thirty six years’ tenure in academic publishing has focused on social change and social movement work. Originating from Eritrea, in East Africa, Checole has taught at both Rutgers University and El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. His Red Sea Press focuses on books related to the Horn of Africa region and Africa World Press have been one of the most important independent African publishing houses, which has produced a large number of landmark publications on African and African diaspora studies in the humanities and social sciences. Checole has been a champion of Africa-based publishing and knowledge production in Africa.

Ebony Coletu

Ebony Coletu is an Assistant Professor of English and African-American Studies, Pennsylvania State University, State Park, US. This talk draws from a book in progress, Pan-African Logistics: Chief Sam and the Undocumented Origins of African-American Migration to Ghana. She is a Fulbright recipient for research in Ghana (2019–2020). Co-authored with Kendra Field, their article on Chief Sam's back-to-Africa movement received the Boahen-Wilks Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Article, Ghana Studies Association (2016). In addition to her work on the logistics of diasporic return, her first book addresses how paperwork shapes the distribution of aid and opportunity in the United States. Forms of Submission: Writing for Aid and Opportunity in America is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press. She is also editing a special issue of Biography, titled On Biographic Mediation: The Uses of Personal Disclosure in Bureaucracy and Politics, which will appear in Fall 2019.

Naminata Diabate

Naminata Diabate is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Cornell University, Ithaca, US. A scholar of sexuality, biopolitics, and postcoloniality, Diabate's research primarily explores African, African-American, Caribbean, and Afro-Hispanic literatures, film, and new media. These explorations on which she has published take the trans African context as their points of departure to make broader contributions to transnational reflections on questions of agency and resistance. Her most recent reflections have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and collections of essays, including African Literature Today (2018), Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture (2017), Research in African Literatures (2016), Fieldwork in the Humanities (2016), and Women, Gender and Sexualities in Africa (2013). Naminata’s first monograph, Naked Agency: Genital Cursing and Biopolitics in Africa is forthcoming in spring 2020 with Duke University Press. Currently she is working on her second book, African Sexual Pleasures under Neoliberalism.

Manthia Diawara

Manthia Diawara was born in Mali, West Africa. He holds the title of University Professor of the Humanities and Arts at New York University, US. Manthia Diawara is a prolific writer and filmmaker. His essays on art, cinema and politics have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, LA Times, Libération, Mediapart and Artforum. He is the author of two acclaimed memoirs: In Search of Africa (Harvard University Press, 2000) and We Won’t Budge: An African in the World (Basic Books, 2008). He has published several books on African and African-American cinema. Diawara’s notable films include: An Opera of the World (2017), Negritude: A Dialogue between Soyinka and Senghor (2016), Édouard Glissant, One World in Relation (2010), Maison Tropicale (2008) and Rouch In Reverse (1995).

Mamadou Diouf

Mamadou Diouf is Leitner Family Professor of African Studies in the Middle Eastern, Southern Asian and African Studies Department, and the History Department, and Chair of the Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies Department at Columbia University. He is a Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po Paris (France). He previously served at the University of Michigan (2000–2007), the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal. His more recent publications include the following edited books: The Arts of Citizenship in Africa. Spaces of Belonging (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) with R. Fredericks; Les arts de la citoyenneté au Sénégal: Espaces Contestés et Civilités Urbaines (Karthala, 2013) with R. Fredericks; Tolerance, Democracy and the Sufis in Senegal (Columbia University Press, 2013); Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic: Rituals and Remembrances (University of Michigan Press, 2010) with I. Nwankwo and New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power and Femininity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) with Mara Leichtman.

Professor Diouf is a member of the Committee on Global Thought and of the Scientific Committee of the Volume XI of the UNESCO General History of Africa. He is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), President of the Scientific Committee of CODESRIA and a member of the International Scientific Committee of the Fondation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Paris, France. He is a member of the editorial board of several professional journals including African Studies Review; Humanity; Social Dynamics and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Chouki El Hamel

Chouki El Hamel is a Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University, specialising in West and Northwest Africa. His training and doctoral studies in France at the Centre de Recherches Africaines (University of Sorbonne, Paris I & VII) were in African history and Islamic societies. He taught courses in African history at Duke University in Durham, US. In 2002, he was a scholar in residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City (NEH fellowship) and he was a visiting professor at Nice University, France in 2016. In the academic year of 2016–2017, he was awarded a Fulbright grant for research in Morocco. His research interests focus on the spread and the growth of Islamic culture and the evolution of Islamic institutions in Africa. He is particularly interested in the subaltern relationship of servile and marginalised communities to Islamic ruling institutions. His research into these relationships revolves around issues of power/class, slavery, race/ethnicity, gender and social justice. He published two books and many scholarly articles in academic journals and popular magazines. His most recent book is Black Morocco: A History of Slavery, Race, and Islam (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Elizabeth W. Giorgis

Elizabeth W. Giorgis is Associate Professor of Art History, Criticism and Theory in the College of Performing and Visual Art and the Center for African Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. She is also Director, Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center, Addis Ababa University. She served as Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Art and as Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies of Addis Ababa University. Her book Modernist Art in Ethiopia (Ohio University Press, 2019), is the first comprehensive monographic study of Ethiopian visual modernism within a broader social and intellectual history of Ethiopia. She is also the editor and author of several publications. She has curated several exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum, Gebre Kristos Desta Center, more recently an exhibition of Julie Mehretu’s work titled Julie, the Addis Show, and the exhibition Time Sensitive Activity by Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. She has organised major international conferences in Addis Ababa, most recently Africa as Concept and Method: Decolonisation, Emancipation, Freedom and also participated in several public lectures, recently at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, US.

Catarina Gomes

Catarina Gomes holds a degree in anthropology with a specialization in social and cultural anthropology as well as a master’s degree in sociology. She also has a PhD in sociology with a specialization in sociology of the state, the law and administration. Gomes conducted her post-doctoral research in the intersection between sociology and postcolonial studies. She is a researcher at Centro de Estudos Sociais, Coimbra University, Portugal, and co-coordinator of the Social Sciences and Humanities Lab at the Catholic University of Angola. Her recent publications include African Citizenship Aspirations (Routledge, 2018) co-organised with Cesaltina Abreu; As time goes by or how far till Banjul: African Citizenship Aspirations, co-edited with Cesaltina Abreu in Special Issue, Journal of Citizenship Studies (2017); On Freedom, Being and Transcendence: the Quest for Relevance in Higher Education in Krono (2018).

Salah M. Hassan

Salah M. Hassan is the Director of The Africa Institute, Sharjah, UAE. Hassan is the Goldwin Smith Professor and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities, and Professor of Art History and Visual Culture in the Africana Studies and Research Center, and the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, Cornell University, Ithaca, US. Hassan is an art critic, curator, and founding editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. He authored, edited and co-edited several books including Ibrahim El Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (Museum for African Art and Tate Modern, 2012, 2013), Darfur and the Crisis of Governance: A Critical Reader (Cornell University Press, 2009), Diaspora, Memory, Place (Prestel Publishing, 2008), Unpacking Europe (NAi Publishers, 2001) and Authentic/Ex-Centric (Forum for African Arts, 2001). Hassan has curated several exhibitions including major ones at the Venice and Dakar Biennales, and most recently The Khartoum School: The Making of the Modern Art Movement in Sudan (1945–Present), and The Egyptian Surrealists: When Art Becomes Liberty (1938–1965) sponsored by the Sharjah Art Foundation and which opened in Sharjah and Cairo (2016). Hassan was the Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor in African and Afro-American Studies, Brandeis University, Boston, US (2016–2017). He is the recipient of several grants and awards including the J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellowship in Art History and the Humanities, and Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation, and Sharjah Art Foundation.

Ousmane Kane

Ousmane Kane, PhD, is the first Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge. Since 2002, he has been an Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, New York, US. Kane studies the history of Islamic religious institutions and organisations since the 18th century, and he is engaged in documenting the intellectual history of Islam in Africa. He is the author of Muslim Modernity in Postcolonial Nigeria (Brill, 2003), The Homeland is the Arena: Religion, Transnationalism and the Integration of Senegalese Immigrants in America (Oxford University Press, 2011) and Beyond Timbuktu: An Intellectual History of Muslim West Africa (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Premesh Lalu

Premesh Lalu is Director of the Centre for Humanities Research and Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa. Lalu has published widely in academic journals such as History and Theory, Kronos: Southern African Histories, Journal of Southern African Studies, Afrika Focus, Journal of Higher Education in Africa, Current Writing, and History in Africa. His book The Deaths of Hintsa: Post-Apartheid South Africa and the Shape of Recurring Pasts (HSRC Press, 2009) argues that a postcolonial critique of apartheid is necessary in order to forge a concept of apartheid that allows us to properly formulate a deeper meaning of the post-apartheid. He is co-editor of Remains of the Social: Desiring the Post-Apartheid (Wits University Press, 2017) and Becoming UWC: Reflections, Pathways and Unmaking Apartheid’s Legacies (Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, 2012). Lalu is a board member of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes, former Chairperson of the Handspring Trust for Puppetry in Education, and former Trustee of the District Six Museum, Cape Town, South Africa. Lalu is currently a visiting fellow at Trinity College, Dublin where he is working on a monograph provisionally titled The Techne of Trickery: Race and its Uncanny Returns.

Zine Magubane

Zine Magubane is an Associate Professor of Sociology, Boston College, US. She also holds a courtesy appointment in the department of African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College.

Her areas of specialisation include social theory, sociology of postcoloniality, race and ethnicity, globalisation, race and popular culture, gender and sexuality, and the sociology of African societies.

Professor Magubane is the author of Bringing the Empire Home: Race, Gender and Class in Britain and Colonial South Africa (University of Chicago Press, 2004). She is the editor of two other books, Postmodernity, Postcoloniality, and African Studies (Africa World Press, 2004); and with Reitu Mabokela, Race, Gender and the Status of Black South African Women in the Academy (UNISA, 2005). She is currently writing a book entitled Brand the Beloved Country: Africa in Celebrity Culture. From 1997 to 2005 Professor Magubane was employed as first an Assistant then Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professor Magubane also taught at University of Cape Town in South Africa from 1996 to 1997 and served as a Research Associate with the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria, South Africa from 1998 to 2000. Professor Magubane completed her MA and PhD in Sociology at Harvard University.

Fouad Makki

Fouad Makki is an Associate Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University. His teaching and research interests include classical and contemporary social theory, the historical sociology of modernity, the postwar development initiative, and the contested dynamics of nationalism and empires. Representative essays include The Ethiopian Revolutions: A World-Historical Perspective (2016), Historical Sociology and World History: Uneven and Combined Development over the Longue Durée (2016), Reframing Development Theory: The Significance of the Idea of Uneven and Combined Development in the journal Theory & Society (Springer, 2015), Development by Dispossession: Terra Nullius and the Social Ecology of New Enclosures in Ethiopia, Rural Sociology (2014), Culture and Agency in a Colonial Public Sphere: Religion and the Anti–Colonial Imagination in 1940s Eritrea in Social History (2011) and Imperial Fantasies, Colonial Realities: Contesting Power and Culture in Italian Eritrea in South Atlantic Quarterly (2008).

Sandy Prita Meier

Sandy Prita Meier (PhD, Harvard University) is Associate Professor of African Art History at New York University, US. Her research focuses on the visual cultures and built environment of East African port cities, and she explores histories of transoceanic exchange and conflict. She is the author of Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (Indiana University Press, 2016), co-editor of World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean (Krannert Art Museum, 2018), and has publications in The Art Bulletin, Art History, African Arts, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Artforum, and Arab Studies Journal, as well as contributions in several exhibition catalogs and edited books. Currently she is working on a new book about the social and aesthetic history of photography, titled The Surface of Things: A History of Photography from the Swahili Coast. She has also curated several exhibitions, including African Art and the Shape of Time (with Ray Silverman) and World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean, which was awarded two National Endowment for the Arts grants. She was a Senior Fellow at CASVA at the National Gallery of Art (2017–2018) and has held fellowships at the Clark Art Institute (2014–2015), Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities (2009-2010), and Johns Hopkins University (2007–2009).

Natalie Melas

Natalie Melas is Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. Her areas of study include Francophone and Anglophone Caribbean literature and thought, modern Greek, modern French and modern English poetry, comparison, modernism and colonialism, modern reconfigurations of antiquity, philosophies of time, decadence, barbarism, Alexandrianism, comparative modernities, world literature in world history, postcolonial or decolonial studies, aesthetics and politics, critical theory. She is the author of All the Difference in the World: Postcoloniality and the Ends of Comparison (Stanford University Press, 2007), and co-editor of The Princeton Sourcebook in Comparative Literature (Princeton University Press, 2009). She is completing a book on colonial poetics and the politics of time in the work of Aimé Césaire and C.P. Cavafy.

Sarah Nuttall

Sarah Nuttall is Professor of Literature and Director of WiSER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research), Johannesburg, South Africa. For many years she taught the fall semester in the English and African and African-American Studies departments at Yale and Duke Universities. She is the author of Entanglement: Literary and Cultural Reflections on Post-Apartheid (Wits University Press, 2009), editor of Beautiful/Ugly: African and Diaspora Aesthetics (Duke University Press, 2007), and co-editor of many books including Negotiating the Past: The Making of Memory in South Africa (Oxford University Press, 1998); Senses of Culture: South African Culture Studies (Oxford University Press, 2001); Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis (Duke University Press, 2008); and Loadshedding: Writing On and Over the Edge of South Africa (Jonathan Ball Publishing, 2009). Recent essays include Mandela’s Mortality; Secrecy’s Softwares; Surface, Depth and the Autobiographical Act; The Redistributed University; and The Earth as a Prison? She has given more than 30 keynote addresses around the world, and published more than 60 journal articles and book chapters. Her work is widely cited across many disciplines. For six years she has directed WiSER, one of the largest and most established humanities institutes across the Global South. In 2016 she was an Oppenheimer Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, US.

Tejumola Olaniyan

Tejumola Olaniyan is Louise Durham Mead Professor of English, African, and African diaspora literatures and cultures studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his BA and MA from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Osun, Nigeria, and PhD from Cornell University, Ithaca, US. He has lectured widely in Africa, Europe, and North America, and taught at the University of Virginia from 1991 to 2001. He joined University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001. He was Chair of the Department of African Cultural Studies from 2015 to 2018, and currently directs the African Diaspora and the Atlantic World Research Circle (ADAWRC). He has served on the executive boards of the African Studies Association (2013–2015) and the African Literature Association (2010–2016), and was President of the ALA in 2014–2015. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of the African Literature Association. Some of his authored, edited or co-edited books include Scars of Conquest/Masks of Resistance: The Invention of Cultural Identities in African, African American and Caribbean Drama, (Oxford University Press, 1995); Arrest the Music! Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics, (Indiana University Press, 2004), (BookCraft, 2009); African Drama and Performance, with John Conteh-Morgan, (Indiana University Press, 2004); African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007), co-edited with Ato Quayson; African Diaspora and the Disciplines (Indiana University Press, 2010), with James H. Sweet; Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique (Duke University Press, 2016), co-edited with Ron Radano; State and Culture in Postcolonial Africa: Enchantings: State and Culture in Postcolonial Africa, (Indiana University Press, 2017); and Taking African Cartoons Seriously, (MSU Press, 2018). He runs africacartoons.com, a comprehensive web encyclopedia of African cartoons and cartoonists.

Carina Ray

Carina Ray is an Associate Professor of African and African-American Studies and Director of Faculty Mentoring at Brandeis University. A scholar of race and sexuality; comparative colonialisms and nationalisms; migration and maritime history; and the relationship between race, ethnicity, and political power, Carina’s research is primarily focused on Ghana and its diasporas. She is the author of Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana (Ohio University Press, 2015), winner of the American Historical Association's Wesley-Logan Book Prize in 2016 and the African Studies Association's Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize in 2017. Her articles have appeared in Gender and History, PMLA, and The American Historical Review, among others. Carina's new book project, a trilogy, engages conceptions of blackness, the body, and human difference, as well as processes of race making and identity transformation across the precolonial, colonial, and post-independence periods in Ghana. She is also working on an oral history project documenting the experiences of Cubans who served in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. She is the editor, with Toyin Falola, of the newly established Cambridge University Press book series, African Identities; editor of Ghana Studies; and member of the Board of Editors of The American Historical Review and History in Africa.

Ahmad Sikainga

Ahmad Sikainga is a Professor of African History at Ohio State University, Columbus, US. His academic interests embrace the study of Africa, the African diaspora, and the Middle East with a focus on slavery, labour, urban history, and popular culture. The geographical focus of Professor Sikainga’s research is the Sudan, the Nile Valley, North Africa, and the Arabian Gulf. His publications include Sudan Defense Force: Origin and Role, 1925-1955 (1983), Western Bahr al-Ghazal under British Rule, 1898–1956 (Ohio University Press, 1990), Slaves into Workers: Emancipation and Labor in Colonial Sudan (University of Texas Press, 1996), City of Steel and Fire: A Social History of Atbara, Sudan's Railway Town, 1906–1984 (Greenwood, 2002). He co-edited Africa and World War II, (Cambridge, 2015), Post-conflict Reconstruction in Africa (2006), and Civil War in the Sudan, 1983–1989 (1993). In addition, he has published dozens of articles and book chapters. Professor Sikainga’s research was supported by fellowships and grants from such institutions as the National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew Mellon Fellowship at Harvard University, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, and the Social Science Research Council, among others. Professor Sikainga is currently working on two research projects. The first deals with slavery and wage labour in the Arabian Gulf, with a focus on Qatar. The second examines the role the slavery and ethnicity in the development of popular culture in contemporary Sudan.

Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò

Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò is Professor of African Political Thought at the Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, US His research interests include philosophy of law, social and political philosophy, Marxism, and African and Africana philosophy. Táíwò is the author of Legal Naturalism: A Marxist Theory of Law, (Cornell University Press, 1996), (Chinese translation, 2013); How Colonialism Preempted Modernity in Africa, (Indiana University Press, 2010); and Africa Must Be Modern: A Manifesto, (Bookcraft, 2012), (Indiana University Press, 2014). He was joint editor with Olutoyin Mejiuni and Patricia Cranton of Measuring and Analyzing Informal Learning in the Digital Age, (IGI Global, 2015). His writings have been translated into French, Italian, German, and Portuguese. He has taught at universities in Canada, Nigeria, Germany, South Korea, and Jamaica.

Benjamin Talton

Benjamin Talton is a historian of modern Africa and the African diaspora. He is the author of In This Land of Plenty: Mickey Leland and Africa in American Politics, forthcoming from University of Pennsylvania Press. He is also the author of Politics of Social Change in Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality, (Palgrave, 2010). With Quincy Mills (Vassar College), he is the author of Black Subjects in Africa and its Diasporas, (Palgrave, 2012). Professor Talton is an editor of African Studies Review and has edited special issues for The Journal of Black Studies and Ghana Studies. He is the past president of the Ghana Studies Association and a current board member for the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora. Talton has been a Professor of African History at Temple University, Pennsylvania, US, since 2008. He has also taught at Hofstra University, New York, US and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Dagmawi Woubshet

Dagmawi Woubshet is the Ahuja Family Presidential Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, and works at the intersections of African-American, LGBTQ, and African studies. He is the author of The Calendar of Loss: Race, Sexuality, and Mourning in the Early Era of AIDS (2015), and co-editor of Ethiopia: Literature, Art, & Culture (2010), a special issue of Callaloo. His essays have appeared in several publications including Transition, The Atlantic, and NKA: A Journal of Contemporary African Art. In 2016, he curated Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show at the Modern Art Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is currently completing a book on James Baldwin’s late style.

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

Paul Tiyambe Zeleza has been at a dozen universities in six countries on three continents and the Caribbean region. He completed his PhD at 26 and became a full professor in Canada in his thirties. He has also held the positions of President’s Professor and Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in the United States. As an administrator, he has served as College Principal, Center Director, Department Chair, College Dean, and Vice President. Since 2006 he has held the title of Honorary Professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He was a fellow at Harvard University (Fall, 2015). Currently he is Vice Chancellor and Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the United States International University-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya.

In the early 2000s he worked as a consultant for the Ford and MacArthur Foundations on their initiatives to revitalise higher education in Africa and as an adviser to the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development on global gender developments. His research project on the African academic diaspora conducted for the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 2011 to 2012 led to the establishment of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program in 2013 that has to date sponsored nearly 400 African born academics in the United States and Canada to work with dozens of universities in six African countries. He was President of the US African Studies Association from 2008 to 2009.

He has raised millions of dollars in personal research projects and for institutional development. His academic work has crossed traditional boundaries, ranging from economic and intellectual history to human rights, gender studies, and diaspora studies. He has published more than 300 journal articles, book chapters, reviews, short stories and online essays and authored or edited 27 books, several of which have won international awards. He has presented nearly 250 keynote addresses, papers, and public lectures at leading universities and international conferences in 30 countries and served on the editorial boards of more than two-dozen journals and book series. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Bibliographies Online in African Studies.

He has received numerous international awards from major universities, among them the AMISTAD Award for Contributions to Africana Studies and Excellence in Scholarship, Distinguished Africana Award for Scholarly Excellence, Distinguished Academic and Leadership Award, Distinguished Africanist Award, Distinguished African Academic Excellence Award, and the Thabo Mbeki Award for Leadership.


Programme Summary

Day I: March 12, 2019

10:00-11:00 AM : Coffee and Registration

11:15 AM : Welcoming Remarks

11:30 AM - 01:30 PM : Panel I: Africa and African Diaspora Studies - The State of the Discipline

02:30 AM - 04:30 PM : Panel II: African/a Philosophy and The Black Intellectual Tradition

04:30 PM - 06:30 PM : Panel III: African and African Diaspora Literature, and Performing Arts

Day II: March 13, 2019

11:00 AM - 01:00 PM : Panel IV: African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Studies

02:30 PM - 04:30 PM : Panel V: New Directions in African and African Diaspora Historical Studies

04:30 PM - 06:30 PM : Panel VI: Revisiting Afro-Arab Histories and Relations

Day III: March 14, 2019

11:00 AM - 01:00 PM : Panel VII: African Studies in Africa and the Diaspora: The Critical Humanities

02:30 PM - 04:30 PM : Panel VIII: African Studies in Africa and the Diaspora: The Critical Social Sciences

04:30 PM - 06:30 PM : Panel IX: Knowledge Production and Institution Building in Africa



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