Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

Codesria 2014 Gender Institute: Gender and Land Tenure

Deadline: 5th April, 2014

Number of visits: 3657

Date: 16th -27th June 2014
Venue: Dakar, Senegal

Call for Applications

Every year since 1994, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) has organized a Gender Institute which brings together between 12 and 15 researchers for 3 weeks of concentrated debate, experience-sharing and knowledge-building. The duration of the institute for 2014 will be two weeks. Initially aimed at promoting widespread awareness of the concept of gender in the social science research community, the institute has subsequently been organized around specific themes designed to strengthen the integration of gender analysis into social science research in Africa and encourage the emergence of a community of researchers versed in the field of gender studies.


The activities of all CODESRIA institutes centre on presentations by African researchers, resource persons from the continent and the Diaspora, and participants whose applications for participation as laureates have been successful. The sessions are led by a scientific director who, with the support of resource persons, ensures that the laureates are exposed to a wide range of research and policy issues. Each laureate is required to prepare a research paper to be presented during the institute. The revised version of such a paper will undergo a peer review for publication by CODESRIA. The CODESRIA Documentation and Information Centre (CODICE) will provide participants with a comprehensive bibliography on the theme of the institute. Access to a number of documentation centers in and around Dakar will also be facilitated. The CODESRIA Gender Institute will be held in both English and French through simultaneous interpretation.


For the 2014 edition, CODESRIA has chosen the theme “Gender and Land Tenure”. The international context and the interest of many actors (developed countries and emerging powers, multilateral institutions and development partners) in the African continent gives particular resonance to the scale and speed of land-grabbing which is undoubtedly one of the most striking phenomena of neoliberal hegemony in this 21st Century. Food crises, the exploitation of mineral, forestry and oil resources, the development of agribusiness, the variety of other threats on farmlands, have all focussed attention on land which provides the livelihoods of over 70% of the population in Africa and is of paramount importance to African economies. This large-scale land acquisition phenomenon, legitimised by the idea of the great availability of agricultural land in Africa (10 million irrigable land areas in West Africa, of which only 10% are developed), is considered by some as the third land rush, after the first rush that followed colonisation and the second that was linked to economic liberalisation in the 80s. Globalisation has had real impacts on African societies, especially rural societies, with growing inequality and unprecedented changes involving land and the economy along with the lifestyles built around them. A central resource in the lives and livelihoods of populations owing to the mainly agrarian nature of subsistence activities, land remains an area in which identities are defined, a place where customs and traditions are rooted and a vector for the construction of gender and power relations for African populations that are increasingly integrated into the global economy.
Women play a significant role in the agricultural labour force and represent a vital resource in food crop production. Despite this, exclusionary structures and processes resulting from certain forms of socialisation have confirmed the idea of a “social fabric of women’s exclusion from access to land resources”, which was not ended by normative pluralism. Indeed, while in some African countries equal access to land is often guaranteed by positive laws, or even by constitutions, customary land practices and patriarchal systems of land ownership are still having an impact on the governance and regulation of the use, inheritance and ownership of land resources. The effectiveness of this normative pluralism, combined with the social, economic and political crises African societies faced has somehow contributed to increasing the precariousness and vulnerability of local communities, including youths and especially women who on whom disproportionate burdens of social reproduction and domestic work fall.
Public policies initiated at the local level and structural reforms related to land and to investment codes tend to mostly address the need to better connect national economies to international capital. The desire to attract foreign direct investment in African countries has somewhat undermined states’ sovereignty. Liberalisation and privatisation programs related to this desire have transformations African societies influencing new forms of socialisation that have direct impact on gender relations. This has significantly affected the lives of women, especially those in rural areas. It has also motivated and underpinned new forms of adaptation and creativeness in their daily life. Women have adopted diverse forms of resistance, including the deployment and exploitation of political and legal mechanisms in their quest for citizenship, sustainable and decent living conditions and gender equity in access, control and ownership of land.
A significant body of work attests to researchers’ attention to the land issue. But recent work indicates the divorce between literature on the issue of land and that on the issue of labor, limiting the full exploration of each of these issues as well as the analysis of the important interactions between them. The aim of the institute is to explore these interconnections in order to better understand the relationships between gender and land tenure, while integrating labour relations. How did the various constraints to tenure impact on gender inequalities in access, control and ownership of land? How did these constraints also affect labour relations especially in terms of the structuring of livelihoods from a gender perspective? What was the impact of global dynamics and public policies and decentralization efforts on land governance and women’s access to land resource? Were these policies effective mechanisms for social justice and gender equity in the distribution of land resources? What legal instruments have been put in place at the local, sub-regional and regional levels to address land-related gender inequalities? How are these instruments used by women in their adaptation efforts and in their struggle for greater equality? How do issues related to the theme of gender and land tenure contribute to the democratisation of public debates in Africa? What insights do the social sciences provide on the relationship between gender and land tenure? What paradigms, concepts and theories help us question the connections between gender and land tenure in Africa?
The goals of the 2014 Gender Institute are threefold:
1. Expose laureates to concepts and methodological tools in women’s and gender studies and to methods of feminist criticism and gender analysis;
2. Expose laureates to gendered perspective on issues relating to the theme of the institute: Gender and Land Tenure; and
3. Help laureates develop critical perspectives on the relationships between gender and land tenure.

The 2014 Gender Institute will be directed by Zenebework Tadesse Marcos, one of the most eminent African experts on Gender. As Director of the Institute, Zenebework Tadesse Marcos will:
• Participate in the selection of laureates;
• Assist with the identification of appropriate resource persons;
• Interact with resource persons and laureates towards adequate preparation for the Institute;
• Design the courses for the session, including the specification of sub-themes;
• Deliver a set of lectures and conduct a critical analysis of the papers presented by resource persons and laureates;
• Submit a written scientific report on the session

Zenebework Tadesse Marcos will (co) edit the revised versions of the papers presented by the resource persons with a view to submitting them for publication by CODESRIA. She will also assist CODESRIA in the assessment of papers to be presented by laureates during the Institute.

Resource Persons

Lectures to be delivered at the Institute are intended to offer laureates an opportunity to advance their reflections on the theme of the Institute. Resource persons should therefore be senior scholars or researchers who have published extensively on the topic and who have significant contributions to make to the debates on it. They will be expected to produce lecture materials which are capable of stimulating laureates to engage in discussion and debate around the lectures and the general body of literature available on the theme.
Once selected, resource persons must:
- Interact with the Director of the Institute and laureates to help the latter readjust their research questions and their methodological approach;
- Submit a copy of their course material for reproduction and distribution to participants not later than one week before the time for the delivery of their lectures;
- Deliver their lectures, participate in debates and comment on the research proposals and papers of the laureates;
- Review and submit the revised version of their lecture notes or research papers for publication by CODESRIA, not later than two months after their presentation at the Institute.

Candidates should be PhD students working on the field of gender and land or scholars in the early stage of their careers, with a proven capacity to conduct research on the theme of the Institute. Intellectuals active in the area of policy process and/or social movements and civil society organizations are also encouraged to apply. The number of places available for laureates of this Institute is only fifteen (15). Non-African scholars who are able to raise funds for their participation may also apply for a limited number of places.


Applications for the position of resource person must include:
1. An application letter;
2. A curriculum vitae;
3. Two (2) published papers on the theme;
4. A proposal of not more than five (5) pages in length, outlining the issues to be covered in their three (3) proposed lectures, including one on methodological issues.

Applications for consideration as a laureate must include:
1. One duly completed application form;
2. An application letter;
3. A letter indicating institutional or organizational affiliation;
4. A curriculum vitae;
5. A research proposal of not more than ten (10) pages , including a descriptive analysis of the work the applicant intends to undertake, an outline of the theoretical interest of the topic chosen by the applicant, and the relationship of the topic to the problematic and concerns of the theme of the 2014 Institute;
6. Two (2) reference letters from scholars or researchers known for their competence and expertise in the candidate’s research area (geographic and disciplinary), including their names, addresses, telephone and/or fax numbers and e-mail addresses.

The deadline for the submission of applications is 5th April, 2014. Laureates will be informed of the outcome of the selection process by late April 2014. Laureates are expected to use the month of May to carry out their fieldworks and/or collect information to prepare the draft research papers to be presented during the Institute. Each draft research paper should be submitted to CODESRIA not later than 1st June, 2014. Laureates will be expected to work on this document (and not on the abstract of the proposal) and prepare it during the Institute for subsequent publication.
Please note that any application which is submitted without duly completed application form will be automatically disqualified.

Date and Venue

The Institute will be held from 16th to 27th June, 2014 in Dakar (Senegal). All applications should be sent to:

Gender Institute
Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop X Canal IV
B.P. 3304, CP 18524, Dakar, Senegal
Tel. (221) 33 825 98 21/22/23 - Fax: (221) 33 824 12 89
E-mail: or

February 17 2014