The theme of ASAA’s 3rd Biennial Conference 2019 is African and Africana Knowledges: Past Representations, Current Discourses, Future Communities. The conference will be held for the first time in East Africa at the United States International University-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, from October 24-26, 2019.
The aim of this year’s conference is to invite and initiate a scholarly stocktaking of the knowledge produced by Africans in Africa and the Diaspora in various forms—from scholarly work to artistic expressions—and to examine representations and current African realities and emerging futures with African knowledges. In other words, by stocktaking accomplishments and challenges facing African peoples globally, we hope to address the ideological basis of the current disproportions in the distribution of worth, power and wellbeing affecting Africans and diasporic Africans.
Although Africa has contributed more human and material resources to global welfare, it is ironic that it continues to be regarded as the poorest continent intellectually and materially. Besides, the ‘African condition’ today is a result of those past representations and the production of a knowledge that still represents Africa in popular media and scholarship as hopeless, poor, dark and devoid of knowledge. Obviously, the multifaceted crises facing contemporary African societies are rooted in and stem from old structures of knowledge production. As a result, a disconnect has ensued between academic knowledge, often produced from an outsider’s vantage point, and African lived realities.
As academic debates intensify about the possibility of producing theoretical knowledge with bearings on transformational praxes in Africa, it is an important time to rediscover and benefit from the Afrocentric canon and kinship between African and Africana Studies. These two different perspectives on African ontologies have been pitted against each other—separated by historical, political, geographical, and economic trajectories as if they were competing disciplines, and yet they complement each other. It is ASAA’s hope that this politically-motivated dichotomy introduced between African and Africana studies can be overcome.
To this end, and against existing hegemonic discourses, this conference invites scholars, artists and activists to look at old representations, Afrocentric counternarratives, and the futures that Africans and Africans in the Diaspora imagine and want for themselves. With a view to contributing toward the canonization of new perspectives emerging from both African and Africana scholarship, we invite interdisciplinary scholarship using empirical, theoretical and methodological approaches, including those highlighting African emancipatory traditions. It is an opportune time to critically challenge both dominant discourses on Africa and the inherited structures of knowledge production that still constrain our African imaginations.
The ASAA executive committee and the local organising committee welcome the submission of paper and panel proposals addressing the theme: African and Africana Knowledges: Past Representations, Current Discourses, Future Communities under the following subthemes. The list is not exhaustive and the conference co-chairs welcome other proposals.
The conference will present distinguished African/a and Africanist keynote speakers, award-winning films, inspirational performances and the opportunity to join pre-conference workshops.
May 30, 2019 (Individual Submissions)
June 15, 2019 (Panel Submissions)