Following an excellent response to our earlier Call for Panels, we now cordially invite proposals for individual papers.

All paper proposals (maximum 250 words) must be submitted by email directly to the panel convenors by 30 November 2017. Proposals will be provisionally accepted or rejected until 31 January 2018.

Please find below all panels:


Panel Title


P 01
The panel focuses the topic of the conference ‘African Connections’ on the level of higher education and by considering experiences of contemporary connections between various African and German higher education institutions (student exchange, twinning, branch campus, educational imports & exports, and others). While most of such arrangements euphemistically appeal to practice ‘cooperation’ this term often obfuscates the very different nature of connections implied. This is why, in the panel, ‘cooperation’ is only used as an umbrella term covering a variety of cross-border relations in sectors of higher education. These will be typified in the panel as (main variants): aid, exchange, cultural diplomacy, or trade, whereby ‘aid’ refers to typical dependence on donor-recipient relations, ‘exchange’ means reciprocal relations, ‘cultural diplomacy’ echoes the foreign policy and nation-branding which is implied, and ‘trade’ defines entrepreneurial relations across national borders, including fee-financed non-profit courses or institutions, but also profit-oriented commercial activities.

Christel Adick (University of Bochum)
Kirstin Grosse Frie (University of Halle-Wittenberg)

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Adick, Christel
Grosse Frie, Kirstin
P 02
Education connects Africa in manifold ways with other parts of the world, as education has been a transnational enterprise since early colonization. In the context of secular as well as religious education, teachers and students, as well as schoolbooks, curricula, and ideas about ‘right’ ways of learning and teaching have travelled around the globe. Moreover, the introduction of western education systems in Africa has not only connected institutions and people, but also created an imaginary connectedness. For example, mission (and boarding) schools in Africa often try to constitute a world apart from its surrounding and attempt to connect and prepare students for an imagined future. Imagined and real connections to European, Asian, or American educational spaces are often part of public and private education.
This panel seeks to understand the space of education in Africa as being made and shaped through social, economic, religious, material, medial, and epistemic connections. We would like to ask:

  • How is the space of education in Africa made through connections?
  • Which actors are connected through education?
  • How are connections in the field of education created, imagined, practiced, maintained, or terminated?
  • In which ways and for whom are these relations inclusive or exclusive?
  • What are the implications of educational connections for various actors?

Possible themes for paper contributions focus on religious, public, or private education in Africa, development cooperation, south-south cooperation, higher education, rural- urban connections, and educational migration. We appreciate papers from various disciplines, such as history, educational science, sociology, anthropology, and political science.

Erdmute Alber (University of Bayreuth)
Sabrina Maurus (University of Bayreuth)

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Alber, Erdmute
Maurus, Sabrina
P 03
Representations of African men tend to be simplistic. The so-called ‘crisis of masculinity’-discourse, prominent especially in South Africa, is depicting men as being criminal, violent, dominant, and irresponsible (for example regarding fatherhood and money management). This panel, in contrast, aims at critically engaging with the concept of hegemonic masculinity and argues that multiple images of masculinities exist in Africa and beyond. By masculinities, we understand what men say and do to be men. To comprehend discourses and practices around masculinities we must also consider the question of how masculinities emerge. Imaginations of masculinities are negotiated on different levels and among diverse actors. Discourses and practices relating to masculinities and manhood are situationally and relationally adopted, contested, transformed, and reconfigured.
We invite papers which contest stereotypical representations of masculinities and analyse their implications. This panel encourages especially contributions which enlarge the dominant focus on young men in South Africa and engage in research on masculinities throughout the continent and beyond. We aim at examining how ideas and practices of masculinities influence individual and collective agency on the social, economic, political, and cultural level. Paying attention to the historical, geographical, and cultural diversities of masculinities, we wish to discuss papers which investigate how images of masculinities evolve and manifest in everyday life and analyse how these imaginations circulate within transnational and translocal spaces. This panel is open for empirical and theoretical papers which interdisciplinary explore the making and remaking of masculinities, for example from a life course perspective.

Carole Ammann (University of Basel)
Sandra Staudacher (University of Basel)

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Ammann, Carole
Staudacher, Sandra
P 04
After decades of limited attention and severe budget cuts under structural adjustment programs, universities are now viewed as pivotal to the social and economic development of African countries. This panel’s convenors place universities at the centre of African countries’ ability to participate in globalization. At the same time, universities are mirrors of the wider society and the challenges and opportunities that African countries face today, such as mediating historical exclusions.
More and more students are graduating from secondary schools, hoping to attend universities and to receive academic degrees. Simultaneously, universities try to contribute to national economic development through knowledge and technology transfer and research commercialization and compete in international scientific markets (i.e., international publications and research collaboration, improving research capacities, academic mobility).
Ultimately, African universities are embedded in politico-economic networks that are marked by Euro-American economic and intellectual hegemony and capitalistic modes of reasoning and extraction. Searching for more diverse sources as alternatives, universities have fostered cooperations with the private sector and across countries of the Global South. Recent examples include bilateral, regional, and Pan-African higher education policies, branch campuses, university-related institutes such as Confucius, Yunus Emre, and the Korea Foundation, scholarship, and exchange programmes. Looking at universities can reveal striking insights and help to understand past and present chances and pitfalls of globalization in the southern hemisphere.
We invite papers to discuss empirical and theoretical approaches that explain the increasingly important positions and the local and global entanglements and connections of universities in African societies with other universities, university-related institutes, and social and economic players.

Akiiki Babyesiza (CHE Consult GmbH – Centre for Higher Education)
Susanne Ress (Humboldt University of Berlin)
Stefan Skupien (WZB Social Science Center Berlin)

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Babyesiza, Akiiki
Ress, Susanne
Skupien, Stefan
P 05
For colonial and postcolonial governments, African mobility has often been suspicious. While many Africans have utilized travel and migration in order to maintain, negotiate, and create social, cultural, political, and economic networks within and outside Africa, colonial and postcolonial administrations have rather been inclined to control this mobility by imposing checkpoints, border controls, and surveillance systems. This panel examines the tension between African mobility, which has largely contributed to the connectedness of the continent, and the politics of control and suspicion. The panel is mainly focusing on the colonial, decolonization and Cold War period, but is also open to papers which propose more recent case studies on mobility control and suspicion. During the colonial period, traveling without a travel permit was per se suspicious, even when the destination was considered to be a ‘friendly’ country. However, colonial administrators mistrusted even more African students as well as political and religious leaders who travelled to Arab countries or to the East, fearing that they would connect with pan-Islamic and communist movements. Even after independence, in a Cold War context, former colonial powers continued to follow the paths of mobile African ‘suspects’, while newly independent African countries encouraged exchange with some countries, but distrusted those who were passing through others as travellers, migrants, students, or displaced people. This panel argues that it is important to consider the political restrictions on African mobility and exchanges when exploring African connections within Africa and around the world.

Susann Baller (German Historical Institute Paris-Dakar)

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Baller, Susann
P 06
Earlier studies on urban Africa mainly looked at rural-urban migration and social change. Today, many Africans have been born and bred in cities, where challenges of urban life, such as the lack of infrastructures, the prevalence of informal livelihoods, or the mushrooming of make-shift settlements persist. In their daily life, individuals have to constantly pay attention to the social worlds through which they move and to initiate and maintain relations with relatives, friends, acquaintances, neighbours, work mates, and representatives of public authority, each of whom may be instrumental in solving everyday problems. Some authors have employed the concept of ‘social navigation’ for the constant necessity to ‘read’ and respond to the urban environment.
This panel asks how socio-spatial navigation connects city dwellers to the cities they live in. Navigation comprises skills such as embodied knowledge, routinized sense-making procedures, and verbal and non-verbal strategies that enable urbanites to ‘find their way in the city’ and ‘to do their city’, that is: learn, re-assemble, make sense of the urban space. How are these skills employed in reading and describing the cityscape, in mobilizing social relations, or in manipulating notions of belonging to particular social categories? How do urbanites become competent in dwelling and moving in urban spaces, and how do these spaces in turn make the urbanites?
The panel welcomes contributions on practices of ‘doing the city’ in urban Africa. We are interested in papers that explore the theoretical, empirical, and methodological potential of ‘doing the city’ for Urban and African Studies.

Rose Marie Beck (University of Leipzig)
Irene Brunotti (University of Leipzig)
Katja Werthmann (University of Leipzig)

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Beck, Rose Marie
Brunotti, Irene
Werthmann, Katja
P 07
Concepts and their corresponding terminology shape the relationship between researchers and their objects of investigation; at the same time they are constitutive of how we perceive of and know the world, how we connect to the world and configure boundaries. Yet the criteria and theoretical backgrounds of concept building have become increasingly contested. Paradigms of universal reason and its historical progress, of religious and metaphysical frameworks of finality, and also of political and economic ideologies have undergone crises of legitimation. Recently also science’s cogency appears to falter. Confronted with challenges to science and its forms of substantiation, we need to ask ourselves as academics how to approach this development: from which positionality and with recourse to which terms is it possible to analyse the loss of scientific persuasiveness when the methods of doing so are themselves subject to debate? Furthermore, how does the differentiating entanglement of conceptualizations of Africa and science contribute to and challenge these debates? Situated in global entanglements, the conceptual interventions from decidedly non-European perspectives (such as Postcolonial Studies, Theory from the South) are interwoven with requirements of theoretical frameworks to address the complexity of issues that span the globe. The turn to strictly empirical studies that subvert grand narratives coincides with enacted life designs that are oriented at the global.
How are concepts related to the world and how do they form our understanding of it? How do scientific concepts create connections and configure boundaries within an African context? How do concepts orient our perception of reality and structure our practices? How are concepts malleable through time and space? If science fundamentally relies on concept making as its main instrument of cognizance, on what is such scientific conceptualization based and how does that feed back into conceptualizations of science and the world? Which power do concepts unfold in which contexts, in the name of which interest, and for whom?
In this panel we seek contributions that engage with the genealogy of specific concepts, their positionalities and performativities within and relating to the African context. We aim to elucidate the connections between concepts and their underlying reality assumptions, power relations, and knowledge formations.

Rose Marie Beck (University of Leipzig)
Manuela Kirberg (University of Magdeburg)
Hanna Nieber (Free University of Berlin/Utrecht University)

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Beck, Rose Marie
Kirberg, Manuela
Nieber, Hanna
P 08
Since the Ebola epidemic in West Africa 2014-2016, zoonotic diseases are acutely on the radar of policy makers, politicians, and the public. Zoonotic diseases, transmitted from animals to humans, are predicted to be on the rise, with rare and previously less known infectious disease outbreaks occurring more frequently than before. Such epidemics are horrifying and exceptional, but presumably part of greater ecological transformations, which significantly change how animal life, human life, and the environment interact. This panel invites scholarly work within African Studies on these emerging and emergent infectious connections and what it means for the study of health and diseases by exploring interactions between humans and animals, humans, and micro-organisms as well as the lived or self-destructive practices through which changing environments are inhabited. We are also interested in socio-cultural analysis of the interconnections between humans and fragile, fragmented, or ailing public health infrastructures; technological innovations to build ‘better’ or change ‘natural’ environments. In specific, we invite papers on:

  • the global circulation of zoonotic diseases,
  • the political ecologies of such harmful multispecies encounters,
  • the political economy of disease emergence, clinical and epidemiological research into neglected diseases,
  • the modes of production of data as well as medicines,
  • preparedness practices and biosecurity measures more generally.

Uli Beisel (University of Basel)
Sung-Joon Park (University of Halle-Wittenberg)

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Beisel, Uli
Park, Sung-Joon
P 09
Papers, prayers, and procedures create connections between people and institutions. Both religious and bureaucratic practices mediate between the experiential and locally inscribed situation of the individual and the shared, routinized, and often transnationalizing norms of larger social formations. In both the spiritual and the bureaucratic spheres of action this process of mediation mobilizes semiotic, aesthetic, and ritual-procedural elements in order to bring about, shape, and institute a more widely authorized and shared sense of belonging and ethical behaviour. Both spheres coincide through the use of documents, pens, lists, and ledgers in the training and imagination of religious followers, or when ‘performative papers’ such as baptism or membership cards are circulated to foster a trans-local sense of belonging. The bureaucratic and the spiritual get combined when money is spiritualized, military aesthetics are appropriated in religious contexts, dress codes are ‘uniformized’, or when reunion templates are ‘liturgically’ cherished by followers of religious movements as part of their religious everyday. Against the background of Thomas Kirsch’s (2008) argument that writing and bureaucracy can assist the generation of charisma, the panel investigates the role of religious actors/movements as agents of bureaucratization, while in return state and economic bureaucratic practices may be appropriated spiritually. Bringing together historically and ethnographically informed contributions that emphasize the perspective of African actors, our panel focuses on the role of both religious and bureaucratic materials in the generation of shared and often spatially laden practices and imaginaries that connect the individual with larger social formations and the local with the transnational.

Johara Berriane (German Historical Institute Paris / Centre des recherches sur les politiques sociales, Dakar)
Peter Lambertz (German Historical Institute Paris / Centre des recherches sur les politiques sociales, Dakar)

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Berriane, Johara
Lambertz, Peter
P 10
The understanding of language as a bounded system, Herderian-type ideologies of ‘pure’ languages and the construction of an inextricable link between language, ethnicity, and nation constitute one of the major inheritances of colonial linguistics. In Africa, languages in this narrow sense keep being entangled with ethnic and national imaginaries that fragment people and stir contested identity politics. And yet, this ethnolinguistic assumption (Blommaert et al. 2012: 7), i.e. the idea that language is inextricably linked to a specific identity and nation in a monolithic way, is rather far removed from the realities of sociolinguistic practices, communication patterns, and complex identity trajectories in Africa. Nonetheless, language in Africa continues to be caught in a complex web of socio-political dynamics involving questions of ethnicity and nationalism.
The aim of this panel is to engage with a variety of approaches that tackle the broad concepts of ‘ethnicity’, ‘nation’, and ‘language’ in order to broaden our understandings of contemporary Africa framed in historical, cultural, sociolinguistic, and geopolitical terms. We aim to critically interrogate essentialist sociolinguistic identity politics on the African continent and question terminologies and concepts from the Global North in terms of their applicability. We invite papers focused on methodological and theoretical concerns and welcome interdisciplinary approaches and collaborations.

Natascha Bing (University of Leipzig)
Stephanie Rudwick (University of Leipzig)

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Bing, Natascha
Rudwick, Stephanie
P 11
This panel addresses the relation between promise, archive, and the future, and how the archive forms memory and creates a tension between the past and the living present, the past and the future, and between the actual and the virtual in African contexts. The structure of the archive not only preserves but shapes memory and is always future-oriented. As Derrida explains in Archive Fever: “the archivization produces as much as it records the event.” We are interested in how the archive embraces contradictory experiences of irredeemable losses in the past and the future hope. In African contexts, the archive continues to remain instrumental in bringing to the fore these contradictory experiences and at the same time lies in the ‘experience of the promise.’
We are specifically interested in promises and well as challenges of the archive in regard to access to the past, the forming of memory and imagination of history, postcolonial and decolonial knowledge practices, the establishment of evidence and facts, the workings of denial and denunciations based on archival work and its prospect of comparison, the possibilities and limits of practices of critique.
Contributions should trace some of the connections and disconnections, conceptions and misconceptions, access and exclusion regarding knowledge and comparison in relation to archival practices. Specific interest will be paid to forms of organization, writing, technologies of inscription, laws, everyday practices and narratives that accompany the archive and its quest toward memory making, knowledge preservation, but also ignorance, denial, or forgetting.

Stefanie Bognitz (University of Halle-Wittenberg)
Fazil Moradi (University of Halle-Wittenberg)

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Bognitz, Stefanie
Moradi, Fazil
P 12
In deconstructing Western knowledge orders and traditions, decolonization projects of higher education in Africa also question established structures, standards, and languages of academic publishing. This panel calls for interdisciplinary contributions reflecting on and proposing alternative publishing projects, networks, formats, and visions for publishing in African Studies.
So far, the issue of adapting publishing contents and structures to endogenous social needs and expectations of has often been neglected in the discussions about decolonizing higher education in Africa. Local scholarly publishing initiatives, for instance, are essential to increase research capacities of higher education institutions.
Hence, paper proposals to this panel should address the following or related questions:
Is the current academic standard of an article printed on ISO DIN A4 white paper in English published by a reputable and highly ranked global publisher the only suitable way for communicating findings on current social complexities in a world that is increasingly shaped by digital and visual material?
Where does African academic publishing – especially in African languages – currently stand? Are there feasible alternatives to publishing academic content in English? How are Open Access projects promoted and adopted throughout the continent? As gateways for global access to local research, how do they interlink African institutions of higher education and connect them to the international scientific community?

Abraham Brahima (University of Bayreuth)
Irina Turner (University of Bayreuth)

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Brahima, Abraham
Turner, Irina
P 13
In view of the long pre- and (post) colonial history between Namibia and Germany, it comes as no surprise that many museums and collections in the German-speaking region keep extensive holdings of objects from Namibia. In 2016, the NAMIBIA ACCESSIONED Working Group was set up to identify institutions that have collections from former German-Southwest Africa/Southwest Africa and present-day Namibia and to exchange information as well as to explore how future research could be conducted with partners in Namibia. We wish to give the working group a forum with this panel. We also aim to discuss methodical issues about, for instance, provenance research: how can colonial acquisition contexts be examined without reducing the history of the objects to ‘looted art’ (Raubkunst) or investigating them only in relation to the time point of their acquisition? How can the history of objects be told, for instance, along the lines of ‘intertwined history’? How can museums’ depositories be reactivated and become points of departure for a new, transnational network of relations in which the contemporary meaning and mobilization of the objects can be discussed? What kinds of joint knowledge production are possible and in what circumstances? How can the work on and with the collections lead to a process of decolonizing museums as institutions and their knowledge system?
Papers that present an inventory or case study, formulate conceptual ideas for future projects, or discuss possible theoretical frameworks are welcome.

Anna-Maria Brandstetter (University of Mainz)
Larissa Förster (Humboldt University of Berlin)

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Brandstetter, Anna-Maria
Förster, Larissa
P 14
The interplay of land use and mobile livelihoods offers exciting perspectives to new and old forms of maintaining a living. Our specific interest lies in populations that are on the move. This includes pastoral communities, migrants, and people who have been displaced by development projects, nature, or civil strife. One can observe a transformation and yet continuation of mobile land use techniques like pastoralism (nomadic herding) especially in areas which are otherwise difficult to access or commodify. Migration patterns also influence local land use systems. Also, customary tenure systems change through individual members’ travelling strategies with implications for women’s land access and use rights. In the context of border crossing and reintegration of both voluntary and involuntary return migrants, access to land plays a vital role. So do internal migrants who often re-locate in search of farmlands.
All of these issues are highly interconnected. Land acquisitions lead to massive migrations, displacements and sedentarization. Displaced pastoralists become migrants to the global North. Not only conflicts and civil wars can be explained by struggles over land but land ownership and land rights also play a pivotal role in peace building process and the repatriation and reintegration of refugees and displaced people.
The panel will follow up these questions by using an intersectional perspective on land use and mobile livelihoods. We are interested in papers that look into the ways mobile people succeed in securing land rights, how these land rights are contested by processes of sedentarization, commercialization, and customary land tenure systems which often favour settled communities, and the power relations which play role in contexts mobile livelihoods are sustained.

Akua Opokua Britwurm (University of Cape Town)
Ulrike Schultz (Friedensau Adventist University)

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Britwurm, Akua Opokua
Schultz, Ulrike
P 15
Medical histories in and on Africa have often focused on Euro-American missionaries, philanthropists, humanitarians, scientists, and organizations. For a long time, discourse on innovation was based on the (tacit) understanding that new developments occur in the West, while lower-income countries in other parts of the world adopt them only after some delay. Challenging these unidirectional models, this panel focuses on African contributions to global health. What knowledge, practices, or applications have been designed for improving health in Africa and have become relevant to global questions of health?
While our panel is motivated by present-day concerns to respond to challenges in health systems, it is based on the premise that intercontinental exchanges in public health share a much longer trajectory, starting before the onset of colonialism and continuing after the Second World War with the emergence of international health politics. We invite contributions in the timeframe from decolonization to the present day, focusing on colonial and international cooperation in different African contexts and the thematic fields of medical knowledge, healthcare systems, and their financing as well as environmental health and holistic approaches to healthcare, such as One Health.

Benjamin Brühwiler (University of Basel)
Tanja Hammel (University of Basel)

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Brühwiler, Benjamin
Hammel, Tanja
P 16
During the last two decades, economic and social processes of change engendered new forms of social differentiation in African societies. They are usually analysed with concepts of class and stratification. But there are also socio-cultural differences inside of social strata that are not restricted to ethnicity. We find clusters of norms, values, convictions, and aesthetic practices, which social groups use to represent their social positions and cultural orientation. These groups can be conceptualized as milieus, i.e. sub-cultural entities inside society comprising people with similar values, subjectivities, and ways of life (Flaig et al. 1991, 55). Significantly, while nobody would contest the central role of religion for the dynamics of cultural belonging in contemporary African societies (e.g. with regard to conversion, religious conflicts, moral discourses on marriage, sexuality and family), religion has hardly been recognized for its role in drawing cultural boundaries. These boundaries exist not only between large religious groups (e.g. Muslims, Christians, Hindus), but also between different Christian denominations or between schools of law in Islam. At the same time, there are milieus that include different religious groups.
Against this background we invite papers focused on main questions are:

  • Through which practices, discourses and cultural forms of expression is religion implicated in the formation of milieus?
  • How do religious milieus emerge and how do they distinguish themselves from other groups?
  • To what extend are there clearly expressed forms of cultural orientation and equivalent horizontal process of differentiation that cut across different religions and/or denominations or schools of law?
  • Does religion as mode of identification weaken in milieus that include different religions, or do these milieus stress general norms and modes of piety?

Marian Burchardt (University of Leipzig)
Dieter Neubert (University of Bayreuth)

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Burchardt, Marian
Neubert, Dieter
P 17
From the late 1940s to 1990 a unique historical constellation enabled Africans to venture abroad in order to gain knowledge and qualifications. This global constellation saw the Cold War, struggles for decolonization, and development intersecting to open up migration routes previously closed to the vast majority of Africans. Destinations now included countries of the socialist ‘East’ and the global ‘South’ like Egypt, China, or India.
Newly independent African states sent their citizens around the world to get vocational and academic training to support development. Liberation movements trained their freedom fighters in camps abroad. The list of Africans who temporarily became internationally mobile includes university students, school children, vocational trainees, trade unionists, party cadres, contract workers, soldiers, and freedom fighters. These groups were united by an understanding that their individual journeys were part of a wider struggle for ‘progress’, ‘decolonization’, and ‘development.’ This panel explores the diverse experiences of these groups, focusing on how African female and male migrants interpreted the world around them, seized opportunities, and pursued their interests.
Studying these Cold War entanglements enables us to place African history into a global perspective, as African actors travelled and left their footprints in the world. We come to understand what Luise White and Miles Larmer call ‘un-national histories’ of liberation, and how ‘un-national histories’ of decolonization and development were experienced from below. Finally, our focus on the African actors allows us to incorporate micro history into a macro story of regional and global economic and political processes that shaped the post-colonial African nation.

Eric Burton (University of Vienna)
Marcia C. Schenck (Princeton University)

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Burton, Eric
Schenck, Marcia C.
P 18
In recent years, significant contributions were made to research on infrastructure, advancing technopolitical critiques and generating insight into its biopolitical dimensions. However, less attention has been paid to the effects of sedimentation of infrastructural projects that layer up over different time periods, evoking memories of failure and success and haunted by the fantasies of past generations. The foundations of many physical infrastructures in the Global South were laid in colonial times, part of modernist promises of development and later the focus of centralizing efforts of postcolonial state-building. Good, efficient infrastructure conjures an ideal image of being impersonal and highly standardized across time and space. Yet, infrastructural breakdown has been a common feature of many African sites, and the focus in scholarship has turned to exploring ‘people as infrastructure’, probing how people stand in for defunct artefacts. We contend that the gaps and breakages in infrastructure experienced in many African countries provoke experiences that merit further historical and ethnographic inquiry. Recent scholarship has explored the affective dimensions of infrastructure. We extend this inquiry to understanding how failure is experienced personally; humbling, harming, and disappointing people as they carry out their work; forcing them to find alternate solutions to maintaining movement in what are imagined and, presumably desirable, circulatory systems. We invite papers that explore how people experience the remains of infrastructure. How do people reconcile failure with past and future promises? What fantasies emanate from the historical layering of discontinuous infrastructural projects and the leftovers of empire? And what intimate relationships form in infrastructural gaps?

Sandra Calkins (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle)
Kerry Holden (Queen Mary University, London)

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Calkins, Sandra
Holden, Kerry
P 19
The aim of this panel is to gather information and analyse the multi-directionality of the connections established by African man/woman of letters at the translocal and transnational level. We refer here to a group of formal and self-educated scholars whose contribution to the cultural development of their African countries is rooted in the humanities, being themselves more often than not versatile in various fields. Frequently, these intellectuals work within an interdisciplinary approach, embedding literature, history, and politics into their writings, and most of the time they master the fields of poetry, fiction, and linguistics simultaneously. It is not hard to find African men/women of letters with vast curricula as novelists who write both in the imperial language inherited during colonization and in their vernaculars. They work as ethnographers, doing linguistics with their patrimonial languages. Migration also helps to understand the texture of academic and intellectual relations established with former colonies as many expatriated Africans contribute to decolonize their history, living in the peripheries of a centrical postcolonial society, geographically, and intellectually speaking.
In examining their work, we can shed light on the redefined and re-elaborated connections that these African intellectuals create with their former colonizing countries, their literature, languages, and cultures. How do African literates relate themselves with the labels 'francophone', 'hispanophone' or 'lusophone' literatures used by Western scholars? Are they still (be) in the margins as observers? What is the perception of the inside agents toward these 'Europeanized' and colonial appropriations of the Africa literature? Can we talk about any kind of inter-textuality between North and South, colonizers and colonized and vice versa?
Moreover, by analysing the connections entangled by African men/women of letters with the language they use in their scholarship we can also 'mise en valeur' their work as native ethnolinguists, and compare it to studies done by outsiders. Being that many African languages from different ethnic groups are mutually intelligible, do African linguists mirror the work of their neighbours? What type of intersections can we find? What are the conditions that foster academic cooperation among African scholars? Can we talk about a new order inside academia coming from African countries since it deals with multiple means of connections at local and global levels?
Papers discussing these questions and related to the role played by African intellectuals in generating new ways of intersections with other scholars in Africa and Europe are welcome.

Susana Castillo Rodríguez (State University New York at Geneseo / Centro de Estudios Afrohispánicos, Madrid)

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Castillo Rodríguez, Susana
P 20
This panel will explore connections between liberation movements in Southern Africa and between those movements and countries in the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War decades of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The many different forms such connections took have been little investigated. This panel will include some case-studies of such interactions, at both leadership and grass-roots levels, seeking to explain why they took the form they did. As resistance increased in Southern Africa, the relationship between liberation movements and Eastern European states changed over time. What role did actors in both Southern Africa and Eastern Europe play? What can we learn by looking at biographies in a time of increasing racial and international conflict? Members of liberation movements worked together in exile headquarters in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere, and in camps such as Kongwa in Tanzania. Some travelled to Eastern Europe for military training or to receive university education. Such connections will be teased out and an attempt made to bring threads together for the region as a whole.

Lena Dallywater (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL) / Leibniz ScienceCampus »Eastern Europe – Global Area«)
Chris Saunders (University of Cape Town)
Helder Fonseca (University of Evora)

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Dallywater, Lena
Saunders, Chris
Fonseca, Helder
P 21
Rapid urbanization, neo-liberal restructuring, and the planetization of slums frame connections and encounters between a variety of actors across the globe and in Africa. This panel is interested in two dominant agendas vis-à-vis rising urban poverty and inequality. One is epitomized by the development politics, top-down and SDG-driven, promoting concepts and visions of the sustainable, smart, and resilient city. The other agenda is advanced by various social movements which counter urban development planning, claiming equal access to resources, spatial justice, and the right to live. The panel is interested in the various connections between these two agendas in urban contexts. Hence, the urban arena stays here at the centre of attention where concepts, rationales, and visions of the equal, just, and/or emancipatory city evolve, compete, and challenge each other’s approaches, framing problems, solutions, struggles, solidarities, and creativities (e.g. the Africa Forum 2016, World Social Forum 2007, Urban Social Forum 2016, People Economic Forum 2017). Central questions for us relate to the kind of connections, encounters, in-dependencies, co-optations, and asymmetries which materializes in these arenas and forums, and which link the top-down and bottom-up takes on contemporary urban Africa in surprising ways.

Antje Daniel (University of Bayreuth)
Sandrine Gukelberger (University of Bochum)

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Daniel, Antje
Gukelberger, Sandrine
P 22
If we are following the present media discourse about the African continent we are witnessing a deep disillusionment caused by ongoing crises. These crises are seen as causes of migration, whereby people want to leave their crisis-ridden countries. Due to corruption, insufficient civil services, social or economic disparities, and the ongoing fight against poverty, some scholars argue that long-term imaginations of the future seem to be engulfed by continuous present and experience of recent crisis. In contradiction to this widespread image we are experiencing that people are developing capacities to cope with emerging challenges. In resistance to the state (and/or the market economy) or in contrast to the supposed mainstream society, at urban or rural places where the state and market are not sufficiently present, different actors develop utopian ideas on how a society should be and experiment with new forms of living, decision-making, or production. But not just citizens are developing utopian ideas to improve their society in a future perspective, also politicians, artist, activist, or other social actors are involved in these processes.
Utopia draws our attention to the agency of different social actors to cope with the undesirable present, to condemn or glorify the past, and to imagine an alternative future. Utopias reveal connections in time: past and present are shaping future imaginations. This also includes considerations to what extent different spaces, special contexts or connectivity are conditions for ‘utopian’ thinking and if – for example – digital media can open up new spaces for utopia.
The panel invites presentations from various disciplines, including media studies, philosophy, sociology, geography, or anthropology which consider how different social actors develop utopian ideas and how they aspire for an alternative future. We would like to discuss to what extent reflections about connections and disruptions in time and space can help to shed light on utopia. The panel welcomes theoretical as well as empirical contributions that deal with utopia in different African contexts.

Antje Daniel (University of Bayreuth)
Johanna Rieß (University of Bayreuth)

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Daniel, Antje
Rieß, Johanna
P 23
Dans le passé, les échanges entre l’Afrique subsaharienne et l’actuelle Amérique latine se réduisaient à la traite négrière atlantique. L’Afrique subsaharienne constituait une source d’approvisionnement en esclaves des plantations du « Nouveau Monde ». L’abolition de l’esclavage, l’accession à l’indépendance et la présence d’afro-descendants ont changé les relations entre ces deux régions du monde. Par ailleurs, les pays africains et latino-américains présentent une histoire, une géographie et une structure économique semblables. Ils se sont engagés dans la coopération Sud-Sud. En 1984, s’est tenu le Congrès international hispano-africain de la culture à Bata en Guinée équatoriale. Au cours des dix dernières années, les pays membres de l’Union Africaine (UA) et ceux de l’Union des nations sud-américaines (UNASUR) se sont retrouvés à l’occasion de trois sommets organisés successivement au Nigéria en 2006, au Venezuela en 2009 et en Guinée équatoriale en 2013.
Ce panel se propose d’analyser les relations culturelles et économiques actuelles entre l’Afrique et l’Amérique latine. Il s’inscrit dans une perspective pluridisciplinaire et est ouvert aux chercheurs, enseignants-chercheurs, post-doctorants et doctorants. Les propositions de communications porteront sur les thématiques suivantes :

  • Histoire et mémoire(s) de l’esclavage et de la colonisation ;
  • Échanges commerciaux et transferts culturels (musique, peinture, religions, cinéma) ;
  • L’Afrique dans les littératures latino-américaines ;
  • Migrations : afro-descendants et migrations africaines actuelles en Amérique latine ;
  • Origines et portée des principales rencontres interrégionales : le Congrès hispano-africain de la culture de 1984 et les trois sommets Afrique-Amérique du Sud (2006, 2009 et 2013).

Adeline Darrigol (University of Rennes)

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Darrigol, Adeline
P 24
Le bassin du lac Tchad a toujours été un carrefour entre l'est et l'ouest et entre le sud et le nord, reliant ainsi différentes façons de penser, différentes cultures et différentes religions. La longue histoire d'échanges avec le monde islamique de la péninsule arabe, du Maghreb et de l'Afrique de l'Ouest a donné forme à plusieurs façons d'exprimer et de vivre les croyances et pratiques religieuses principalement basées sur la tolérance et la cohabitation.
Ces dernières années cependant, les nouveaux extrémismes religieux à l'instar par Boko Haram ont eu des effets destructeurs sur la région, ont détruit des structures locales et transfrontalières, ont forcé des millions de personnes à fuir leurs domiciles et a poussé des pays tel que le Nigéria, le Tchad et d’autres dans une guerre contre le terrorisme religieux. Parallèlement, légèrement plus au sud, la guerre centrafricaine tend également à s’inscrire dans un conflit religieux. Globalement, jusqu'à présent connu pour une zone de cohabitation des religions, le bassin du lac Tchad est devenu une région de conflits. Chaque pays riverain du Lac doit faire face à une présence de plus en plus forte de réfugiés et de déplacés.
Le panel visera à explorer le passé et le présent du bassin du lac Tchad sur le plan religieux, en particulier les échanges et connexions locaux et internationaux entre les savants et les leaders islamiques. Il étudiera par ailleurs les récents développements des extrémismes et des conflits religieux.
L’Islam traditionnellement tolérant est-il capable d’offrir des alternatives de paix dans une région déchirée par les conflits et les migrations ? Les acteurs et réseaux religieux internationaux influencent-ils le développement ? Les politiques des Etats ont-elles des répercussions sur les conflits actuels ? Les chercheurs sont invités, à partir d'études de cas, à présenter des analyses historiques et contemporaines de ces questions.

Helga Dickow (Arnold Bergstraesser Institute, Freiburg)

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Dickow, Helga
P 25
This panel deals with the transformative potential of conflicts over resources—namely, mining and land—that are related to contemporary political-economic and socio-ecological crises. In such conflicts, social actors mobilize against the privatization and concentration of land, displacement and the loss of livelihoods, ecological impacts, etc. At the same time, political and cultural rights, citizenship, or the recognition of rights to territorial self-determination and autonomy have often been claimed. Connections and networks between actors, both horizontally and vertically, thereby play a core role for social actors as well as for their adversaries on the side of the private sector and state.
In many cases social actors achieve the cessation of projects or legal changes as well as changes in project design. However, it remains unclear what sort of transformative power – in relation to democracy and self-determination, and labour, rural, and environmental justice – emanates from conflicts over resources, and thus which possibilities of ‘transformation from below’ exist. Based on the assumption that conflicts contain the potential for social change, this panel asks for the possibilities and limitations of transformations from below:

  • How do actors combine claims for social transformation with their protest against specific mining or agribusiness projects, laws, etc.?
  • What are the starting points of transformations from below within and beyond nation states and regions?
  • Which connections between actors exist in these conflicts? How are networks and connections negotiated between different sectors, social classes, and scales? How are connections challenged and changed in resource related social struggles?

Kristina Dietz (Free University of Berlin)

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Dietz, Kristina
P 26
African governments, donor countries, and international organizations all seem to agree on how to connect African countries to each other and to the world: through infrastructure development. The return of big modernist concrete projects promises to bridge markets and to lower transaction costs, thereby increasing connections, cooperation, and efficiency, and ultimately furthering both economic development and political integration.
Since they are mostly debt financed – either directly or through mineral concessions –, these infrastructure projects need to generate local economic growth in order to become sustainable for African countries. In practice, however, many of the new roads, railways, and harbour terminals are mainly used to bring African mineral resources out of the continent more speedily, increasing profits for international investors.
Against this background, the panel invites contributions that focus on the real-world consequences of large transport infrastructure projects. Who is using the new roads, railways, and harbours? What goods and people are transported on them, and by whom? Are new transport corridors creating new opportunities for local economic growth? Who is able to use such opportunities? How does new transport infrastructure change socioeconomic power relations within and between countries?
Particularly welcome would be presentations on transporters and logistics companies in the commodity sector. Here, as well, the elimination of local frictions – both physical and administrative – creates chances for and increases the market share of global logistics companies. How does this change how African countries are connected to each other, and how the continent’s economy is integrated into the globe’s?

Gregor Dobler (University of Freiburg)

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Dobler, Gregor
P 27
Recently, processes of re-spatialization around violent conflict in West Africa have gained considerable attention by highlighting complex African connections. Two interesting cases in point are, first, the secessionist attempts by groups of armed Tuareg in Mali in 2012 coupled with other violent actors labelled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘Islamists’, and second, the continuing instability in Guinea-Bissau, among other things characterized by recurrent military coups and activities of transnational drug networks. Diverse actors, among them nation-states, international, and regional organizations are connected in their attempts to deal with these developments, at times competing at others cooperating, and have become part of the unfolding dynamics. To name but a few examples, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, but also the United Nations and the European Union have played key roles, simultaneously reacting to and shaping processes of re-spatialization.
In this panel, we are interested in different spatial articulations, perceptions, and connections of such conflicts, explicit or implicit spatial references and imaginations of the involved actors, and the results of their intended or unintended spatializing actions. Therefore, we invite empirically based and theoretically guided contributions that reflect on the spatial dimension of historical or recent processes of social and political reordering in West Africa and their connections.

Katharina Döring (University of Leipzig)
Jens Herpolsheimer (University of Leipzig)

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Döring, Katharina
Herpolsheimer, Jens
P 28
Entrepreneurship has gained wide currency on the continent of Africa. This realization has caught up with many African actors (institutions, firms, and entrepreneurs) alike. In effect, players with a Pan-African agenda like the African Development Bank, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and the high profile conglomerate Dangote Group have translated entrepreneurship into success by either supporting or promoting it across the continent. On the other side, most of the local ecosystems to promote entrepreneurship are still weak and suffer from the limited linkages between the actors. To further understand entrepreneurship development in Africa, we propose an inter-disciplinary panel that welcomes papers related to economic, business, social, and environmental aspects of entrepreneurship. We welcome papers which illuminate our understanding about African actors who have taken lead roles in entrepreneurship on the continent, while assessing the influential power of these actors on the entrepreneurship landscape. Furthermore, we ask for papers that showcase the forms of control exerted by these actors and the opposition being met from other non-African actors. Finally, we would like to discuss the international connections of African entrepreneurs and analyse the development of born global start-ups. This way, we are able to observe the development status of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa to generate both positive and negative effects on the continent. In the general perspective, we aim to place Africa as a subject capable of exerting influence on how entrepreneurship is shaped on the continent.

Utz Dornberger (University of Leipzig)

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Dornberger, Utz
P 29
The increasing economic importance of the resource sector has resulted in many countries—in Africa and worldwide—in an unprecedented spatial expansion of mining and agro-industrial production into areas hitherto sparsely exposed to capital forces. Scholars have demonstrated from a global history perspective how capitalism advances by expanding the ‘frontier’ of key commodities’ (both agricultural such as sugar, rice, and cotton, and fossil and mineral, such as copper and coal) exploitation to ever more peripheral rural zones. The expansion of the ‘commodity frontier’—thus, capitalism penetrating the global countryside—does not remain uncontested but leads a variety of social conflicts on different scales.
However, this does not mean that (local) contestations are to be understood as direct consequences of (global) political-economic transformation. Rather, conflicts over agricultural, mineral, and fossil resources are contingent and context dependent, impacted by numerous factors, and therefore vary in respect of issues, actors, claims, and outcomes.
This panel welcomes theoretical papers on transformation of the global countryside and related conflicts, and respective empirical studies from various academic disciplines (anthropology, geography, history, political science, sociology, economy) and fields of research (e.g. critical agrarian studies, political ecology, development studies, social movement studies).

Bettina Engels (Free University of Berlin)

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Engels, Bettina
P 30
Die transatlantischen Beziehungen zwischen Afrika und Amerika werden spätestens seit Paul Gilroy’s Klassiker ‘The Black Atlantic’ insbesondere als das Dreieck Europa-Afrika-Amerika seit dem Sklavenhandel gedacht. So wurden etwa Cartagena de Indias in Kolumbien und Salvador da Bahia in Brasilien, Elmina an der Ghanaischen Goldküste, die Ilha de Mocambique, oder die Ile de Gorée aufgrund ihrer leidvollen Geschichte als Sklavenhäfen zum UNESCO-Weltkulturerbe ernannt: Eine Sichtbarmachung des afrikanischen Erbes, in nach wie vor durch Rassismus geprägten südamerikanischen Gesellschaften mit einem hohen Anteil an afrodeszendenter Bevölkerung. Zeitgenössisch rücken dabei zunehmend Fragen in den Vordergrund nach der Konstruktion nationaler Identität unter Berücksichtigung des afrikanischen Erbes, der Einfluss Afrikas auf die südamerikanischen Lebenswelten und vice versa, sowohl in sozialen und räumlichen Strukturen als auch in Sprache, Musik und Artefakten.
In einer vergleichenden Herangehensweise sollen folgende Fragen gestellt werden: (1) Die Einrichtung eines ‘World Heritage Site’: Wer gewinnt und wer verliert bei den sich daraus ergebenden ökonomischen, sozialen und kulturellen Veränderungen. (2) Das Konzept eines ‘immateriellen Kulturerbes’ soll in diesen Kontexten hinterfragt werden: Was wird berücksichtigt, was wird ausgeklammert und warum? (3) Neue Formen von ethnischen und kulturellen Gemeinschaften und Identitäten werden sichtbar bzw. entstehen in den sich verändernden Konstellationen. Das Panel möchte sich den „Schattenräumen’ eines z.T. widerständigen Alltagslebens jenseits vermarkteter materieller ‚Afrokultur’ widmen, und sich mit nicht-entfremdeter, kreativer Praxis, Kritik und Artikulation (Graffiti, Literatur, kulturelle Praxis, u.a.) auseinandersetzen.

Ute Fendler (University of Bayreuth)
Eberhard Rothfuss (University of Bayreuth)

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Fendler, Ute
Rothfuss, Eberhard
P 31
Despite the African rise narrative in academia and beyond and the implied increasing role of that continent in global affairs, research on Africa’s role in international relations remains in its infancy. Research conducted thus far primarily explores African states and their engagement in global governance issues. From this perspective, states act either individually or collectively through such organizations as the African Union. Debates concerned with Africa’s global role, seem to assume that African influence is linked to the betterment of global governance or to the correction of a global misbalance. The proposed panel seeks to delve deeper into these topics and welcomes contributions that analyse how African actors (states, groups of states, non-state, and informal actors) act globally, under what conditions they can exert influence, and how they can affect global governance processes and with what intensions and effects. Papers could scrutinize, for instance, Africa’s role in such international institutions as the United Nations, the G20, the G77, the International Criminal Court, or any international regime such as those concerned with climate change, human rights, and anti-terrorism. The following question can be addressed: which African actors can exert influence beyond Africa? What strategies and channels can African actors use? What fruits do their actions bear? What internal support or opposition do African actors face when they try to influence global governance?

Linnéa Gelot (University of Gothenburg)
Martin Welz (University of Konstanz)

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Gelot, Linnéa
Welz, Martin
P 32
Presidential term limits are powerful symbols for constraining the incumbent and may contribute to the deepening of democracy. Yet, term limits have been fiercely contested in many African countries. This struggle has shown mixed results: Large-scale protest movements prevented re-elections in Burkina Faso and Senegal. Their slogans have spread and activists have learned from each other how to mobilize against the removal of term limits. In contrast, rulers in several countries, including Burundi and Rwanda, circumvented term limits in spite of or without facing strong opposition. While perpetual incumbency is on the rise according to some measures, a majority of African citizens supports term limits.
This panel invites empirical and conceptual contributions that investigate the different trajectories of the struggle over presidential term limits in Africa, in particular with regard to the ties, connections, and exchanges both among those that seek to abrogate term limits and Africans that resist such constitutional changes. We encourage submissions that deal with some of the following topics on the basis of case studies, from an intraregional, cross-regional, or diachronic perspective:

  • leaders’ multifaceted attempts to reform term limits, their successes and failures, as well as the spread of strategies and discourses across Africa and beyond,
  • citizens’ perceptions of term limit regulations, popular mobilization in their defence and the respective movements’ cross-border exchange,
  • the domestic repercussions of enforcing or violating term limits for democracy,
  • the exchange within (sub-)regional organizations and the question of whether a continental norm evolves through these connections.

Julia Grauvogel (GIGA Institute of African Affairs, Hamburg)
Charlotte Heyl (GIGA Institute of African Affairs, Hamburg)

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Grauvogel, Julia
Heyl, Charlotte
P 33
Infrastructures provide the more or less stable foundations for our modern world by bridging micro, macro, and meso scales of space, time, and social interaction (Edwards 2003). Appearing strictly utilitarian, infrastructures always point to larger societal structures (Howe et al. 2015) and thus provide a rich field for multi-scalar research (Moss et al. 2008). They carry promise and meaning well beyond their physical functionality (Harvey and Knox 2012; Larkin 2013). As materialized articulations of power, politics, and imagination, infrastructures represent cross-scalar linkages par excellence, as their planning, implementation, and operation implies constant flows and negotiation between different scales and political and administrative hierarchies. This includes the flow of workers and experts, knowledge, and finance, but also contested visions, socio-technical imaginaries, investment, and governance models (Jasanoff and Kim 2015). This panel explicitly focuses on the scalar nature of these aspects and infrastructure projects more generally and will critically examine the role of infrastructures in past- and present-day Africa. With the new wave of infrastructure projects in Africa, this topic is all the more timely, for example transport corridors, large-scale renewable, and other energy projects, health and educational as well as digital and communication infrastructures. Empirical as well as conceptual contributions from all interested disciplines are welcome.

Clemens Greiner (University of Cologne)
Britta Klagge (University of Bonn)

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Greiner, Clemens
Klagge, Britta
P 34
Early in the history of international development cooperation, non-governmental institutional actors have played an essential role in the implementation of development goals. With the advent of structural adjustment programs in the 1980s, non-governmental organizations became the central hope of a development which no longer wanted to depend on weak states in the Global South.
Over the past 30 years, however, NGOs have developed in very different ways. While critical voices have been raised in the worldwide public, especially against global NGOs (e.g. because they do not meet the standards of international development cooperation), they continue to play an extremely important role in the local arenas of many countries in Africa. A provisional distinction between local, national, and international NGOs makes the different economic cycles easier to recognize: While there is an unbroken interest and ongoing start-ups at the local level, many national NGOs currently come under criticism. Finally, international NGOs today are increasingly becoming key figures of the North-South transfer.
With this panel we invite contributions on the historical development and different careers of NGOs in Africa, but also in transcontinental contexts. We are especially interested in a particular focus on the strategies of the actors involved as well as on the institutional history.

Hans Peter Hahn (University of Frankfurt)
Kathrin Knodel (University of Frankfurt)

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Hahn, Hans Peter
Knodel, Kathrin
P 35
Boomtowns’ bust and boom resonates with multiple connections to and from the wider region and beyond. Events such as the implementation of large infrastructural projects, resource extraction, migratory movements, or the spread of violence and wars, all have repercussions on the rise or fall of towns, which are often situated in previously marginalized areas but can gain power and significance. Yet their growth, wealth, and permanence are fragile since they depend on political, economic, and cultural connections and relationships that play a constitutive role in the making of the towns. Hence, boomtowns might vanish or decay again, leaving behind ruins of prosperity, unemployed people, and lost dreams. The panel seeks to trace the connections of boomtowns and how they undo or shape the make-up of these urban settlements. Be it a flourishing border town or a prosperous trading town, they attract, host, and incorporate diverse actors, seeking refuge, work, economic opportunities, or urban lifestyles. In turn, conviviality, interaction, and shared practices contribute to the formation of specific social figurations, political orders, and identities. At the same time, interactions and connections are contested by struggles over services, environmental pollution, rights, participation in wealth, or infrastructural investments in the town and its regions. Historical, theoretical, and/or empirical contributions that explore the connectivity and make-up of boomtowns as well as the inhabitants' experiences of boom and/or bust are equally welcome.

Valerie Hänsch (University of Bayreuth)

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Hänsch, Valerie
P 36
The panel offers close-up looks into the conceptualizations of politics, strategic networks, and forms of political mobilization of African ‘megachurches’, founded by self-styled ‘charismatic heroes’ from around the late 1970s. Forming part of charismatic/Pentecostal sections of African Christianity, megachurches do not just claim to transform religious landscapes; meanwhile they position themselves as potent political players. Megachurches have gained relevance within diverse sub-Saharan political cultures, notably through their closeness to political elites. A peculiar feature of megachurches is their network structure. Megachurch networks stretch over diverse local, regional, and global co-operations within like-minded milieus, including migrant communities. These networks of churches, institutions, and movements also generate similar taxonomies of politics. Popular variants are related for instance to concepts of ‘spiritual warfare’ or ‘dominionist’ theologies to ‘conquer a nation for Christ`. Such political theologies are transmitted, adapted, and reframed within network discourses, often assuming an ideo-theological American hegemony. Networks of megachurches also exchange and disseminate transcultural strategies to impact a given political culture. However, little is known on these travelling concepts of society, negotiated within African megachurches.
Thus the panel is interested in case-studies or comparative approaches on political strategies of megachurches and their respective networks (nods and codes). What kind of political visionaries do they create, and how do they negotiate and adapt them in differing socio-political contexts? Through which kind(s) of network structures do megachurches create (political) legitimacy and where do strategic models to shape politics originate? Finally: what are the limits of their political imaginations and ways of mobilization?

Andreas Heuser (University of Basel)

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Heuser, Andreas
P 37
This panel invites communications that analyse the importance of different forms of ‘connections’ for associations that defend causes which remain not only taboo in large sections of African society, but which concern acts that are illegal (for example homosexual relationships, abortion, etc.). Two of the key-issues are the legal context and the question of image and ‘social cost’.
On the legal side, formal guarantees of freedom of association are easily circumvented in African countries in order to prohibit the creation and/or functioning of associations whose social purpose does not correspond to socially accepted values. Associations that defend ‘critical’ rights can connect to international associations for support, to key actors of the UN-machinery in charge of the application of international conventions, to international funding agencies, etc.
On the image side, international connections can have ambiguous effects. Local actors can be criticized for being under foreign influence, for wanting to introduce foreign, Western, Northern, ‘non-African’ ideas and norms. The alliance with foreign actors can therefore provide support, but also trigger of ‘social costs’ in terms of the image of an African association.
This panel welcomes communications that draw on sociology, political, and legal sciences, history as well as transdisciplinary approaches to mobilization, civil society, collective strategies, advocacy, etc. Contributions can analyse strategies of connections or de-connections for the defence of rights that are socially taboo, namely concerning the legal dimension, the position in the stakeholder landscape, the choice about alliances, connection to social-networks, etc. Comparative studies are also of interest.

Elisabeth Hofmann (University of Bordeaux)
Jean-Christophe Lapouble (Institute of Political Studies, Bordeaux)

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Hofmann, Elisabeth
Lapouble, Jean-Christophe
P 38
This panel investigates the contemporary remaking of borders in Africa in light of the securitization of migration and mobility and the externalization of the European border regime. Whereas migration in and from Africa has been has been variously examined, made subject, and analysed from different perspectives, the policies and practices that attempt to govern, control, and manage migration and mobility across, within, and from the continent at borders and through related technologies have received much less attention. The rich literature on borders and borderlands in Africa has predominantly focused on the level of the local, often at the expense of considering rather distant actors and forces at play in shaping the policing, control, and management of borders.
This panel seeks to explore and trace the various connections and disjunctures that emerge around much more ‘globalized’ processes of border policing in Africa. We seek contributions that offer an understanding of the contemporary remaking of the management of mobility and borders in various parts of Africa from different perspectives, whether centring on actors or institutions (e.g. states, international/regional organisations), policies and practices, tools or technologies (e.g. infrastructure, biometrics, visa regimes, fences), practices, and/or examining the variegated effects and consequences these entail in/across different places and contexts in Africa.

Julian Hollstegge (University of Bayreuth)
Martin Doevenspeck (University of Bayreuth)

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Hollstegge, Julian
Doevenspeck, Martin
P 39
The study of extractive and other large-scale infrastructural projects such as mines, power stations, and dams is back on the agenda in African Studies – just as such projects are back on the agenda of development institutions and international investors. Scholars often argue that such big and technically implemented projects are disconnected from their local contexts and hasten to criticize their external imposition. In this context, James Ferguson and Hannah Appel have argued for the existence of ‘exclaves’, suggesting successful disconnection and complete independence of large infrastructure projects such as mining complexes from the environment.
The panel wants to step back and ‘disenclave’ what might indeed be planned as an enclave. Looking at large-scale projects as enclave from the start might not only blind us to looking at how such projects are materially, socially, and discursively constructed as enclaves, but might also keep us from questioning investors’ and planners’ rhetoric of exceptionalism.
This panels seeks empirically rich and theoretically sound papers which examine the mundane, lived, and discursive connections between large-scale infrastructural investments in Africa and a diversity of actors. It encourages papers from a diverse number of perspectives – from material culture to political economy to ANT – to better understand the relationship between the map (broadly conceptualized), the built environment, and people’s agency in contexts of massive infrastructural change.

Rita Kesselring (University of Basel)

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Kesselring, Rita
P 40
Africa has been neglected as an actor when formulating global environmental policies. This may stem from the hypothesis that industrialized states are unwilling to change environmental behaviour and that the industrializing states are waiting for the former to take the lead. For some time now, Africa has occupied an inferior position within global politics, resulting in many regarding the continent as one of vulnerability. This vulnerability arises from the narrative that Africa’s legacy of colonialism and foreign domination/exploitation has left Africa in a vulnerable state. In addition, the global focus of environmental governance has been on developed rather than developing states, by nature excluding many African states. This panel aims to explore environmental governance in Africa, which will include uneven distribution of resources, transnational relations, and international environmental politics. This can include, but is not limited to the impact of external actors on environmental governance (e.g. new investors/state or non-state/local and international), challenges to environmental governance on the continent, and claiming back African agency regarding environmental politics. These broad topics can of course be tailored to focus only on one specific commodity or industry or one specific aspect of environmental governance (domestic and regional policy development and transboundary continental cooperation).

Derica Lambrechts (University of Stellenbosch)
Michael Hector (University of Stellenbosch)

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Lambrechts, Derica
Hector, Michael
P 41
Although the history of emotions is a booming field, historians of Africa have rarely taken up this approach. And yet the history of emotions is crucial for a better understanding of many fields, among them spirituality and religiosity. Cultures of religious preaching and teaching often rest upon the emotionalization of adherents and students. This panel analyses religious cultures in Eastern and Central Africa and their forms of expression in the emotional realm. It aims to take a closer look at these processes of emotionalization from the perspective of African religious actors such as students at religious institutions, religious authorities, preachers, and lay persons.
We invite papers that explore any of these aspects, e.g. the role of emotions in the circulation of spiritual ideas and practices between regions as well as across denominations; the emotional regime of religious education and the relationship to secular education; bodily expressions of spiritual identities; denominational rivalry and emotions, etc. The panel is open to scholars of both Islam and Christianity. Papers exploring Indian Ocean Islamic networks are equally welcome as are those focusing on Eastern/Central African expressions of Christianity, African initiated churches or other forms of spirituality. Generally, the panel seeks to provide a wider understanding of the flow of spiritual ideas and practices and the role emotions play in these flows in the present and the past. German, English, and French papers are welcome. The language of the panel will be English.

Stephanie Lämmert (University of Oxford)
Liese Hoffmann (Berlin Graduate School Muslim Culture and Societies)

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Lämmert, Stephanie
Hoffmann, Liese
P 42
The recent resurgence of research in African economic history has coincided with the relative growth in African economies. Although economic historians of Africa study the continent’s past, many current debates strive to explain Africa’s apparent failure to sustain economic growth and development. Both economists and historians have profited from the introduction of new quantitate techniques and data sources to revise many debates about the continent’s rich and varied past. While it remains true that economic historians working in Africa experience significant constraints, new partnerships between universities in Europe and those south of the Sahara are creating exciting opportunities for collaboration and dynamic learning. Even if economic history can be defined most generally as the history of economic activity of human societies, the study of business administration and the sources of financial capital provide important insights into how pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial societies in Africa allocated the continent’s resources.
This panel aims to explore new research in Africa’s business, economic, and financial history at German-language universities. What are the new research themes in the study of Africa’s economic past and how can they be analysed in terms of contemporary social developments? We welcome all papers that engage with any aspects of Africa’s socioeconomic history, but encourage potential panellists to focus their proposals on methodology and new data sources for the study of Africa’s past.

Mariusz Lukasiewicz (University of Leipzig)
Dmitri van den Bersselaar (University of Leipzig)

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Lukasiewicz, Mariusz
van den Bersselaar, Dmitri
P 43
Studies of resource extraction in the south moved from a strong focus on labour issues in the seventies to attention for large-scale land acquisitions in Africa and elsewhere (‘land grabs’). This entailed a radical swing from debates on labour to land, particularly because new forms of large-scale land use were less labour intensive. However, a return to the ‘labour question’ was signalled by scholars such as Tania Li (2009, 2011) who discussed the redundancy of local populations, precisely because of the current characteristics of large-scale land investments in Africa. This fed into broader moral discussions on the question of benefit sharing: Can and should labour still be considered the major basis for creating value? Should we not move towards new ways of wealth redistribution? In this discussion, extraction of resources takes centre stage. Ferguson (2016) shows, for instance, how mineral wealth is often conceived as something that cannot be owned solely based on labour and capital put into extraction practices, but that it belongs to groups of people with long histories ingrained in landscape. Subsequently, discussions concerning, for example, resource curse, local content, CSR, and employment, can be framed in wider perspectives on (re)distribution of extracted wealth, based on legacies and politics of belonging and more inclusive futures.
‘Labour’ has thus returned in scholarly debates, but embedded in debates over value of land and people living and labouring extractive landscapes. This panel invites papers that address this issue of ‘laboured landscapes’ and the connected (moral) issues of wealth distribution.

Sabine Luning (University of Leiden)
Robert Pijpers (University of Oslo)

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Luning, Sabine
Pijpers, Robert
P 44
Ethnographic studies in recent decades could not ignore the influence of so-called globalization on African life-worlds. Anthropological approaches to globalization have turned our attention to diverse ‘global flows’ of things, ideas or persons. Such notions of globalization as connection, however, have been complemented by arguments claiming that these processes simultaneously bring about experiences of disconnection, friction, and incongruence. The integration of local actors into global networks is not only contingent upon new forms of communication or social relations, but has also led to new intransparencies and experiences of ‘abjection’ (James Ferguson), of removing knowledge from its object and of disconnecting actors from coherent epistemes. The world-wide expansion of neoliberal economies, institutional arrangements, and regimes of knowledge has resulted in the separation of sign from referent and epistemological fragmentation. On the local level, globalization requires actors and communities to bridge gaps in incoherent knowledge systems by means of cultural appropriation, signification, translation, and narration. Examples for these practices include the re-interpretation of global economic developments in discourses on witchcraft in Cameroon (Geschiere), the way the spread of global human rights disempowers poor Malawians (Englund), or how globally sought-after minerals are given social and historic value in the Eastern Congo (Smith).
The panel invites ethnographically rich papers that explore processes of (dis)connection, epistemological fragmentation, and/or local strategies of signification, translation, and narration on the African continent. How do sign and referent become (dis)connected? What processes are at work in knowledge regimes? Who are the submitters/brokers/recipients involved in processes of knowledge (dis)connection and (re)construction?

Alexis Malefakis (Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich)
Tim Bunke (University of Konstanz)

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Malefakis, Alexis
Bunke, Tim
P 45
Over the past two decades, the African diaspora has emerged as an important development, social, and political actor that is reconfiguring the meaning of citizenship and reshaping the relationship between states of origin and destination. Engaging the diaspora has become a key segment of policies being promoted at the national and international level. While remittances made by African diaspora still play an important role in their home countries, there are connections which are hitherto not clearly visible. African migrants are taking political action (e.g. through social media) and influence the political and social landscape of their home countries.
This panel will take stoke of the growing importance of the African diaspora. It welcomes papers that look at the African diaspora as (political) actors capable of making and unmaking history in the African continent. It invites an interdisciplinary conversation on questions pertaining to the African diaspora’s social and political agency as well as the opportunities and challenges stemming from evolving diaspora-states relations. Further, we are interested in papers investigating diaspora engagement policies being pursued by African states in their quest to extend rights to and extract obligations from the diaspora.

Jack R. Mangala (Grand Valley State University, Allendale, USA)
Marie Cleo Mahouva Massela (University of Leipzig)
Magdalene Pac (Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences)

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Mangala, Jack R.
Mahouva Massela, Marie Cleo
Pac, Magdalene
P 46
Water sector professionals at the International Conference on Water and the Environment in Dublin (1992) and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (1992) set a number of guiding principles to be translated into urgent action programs for water and sustainable development. These principles include concepts such as integrated water resource management (IWRM), which stresses increased stakeholder participation, community-based management, the importance of gender equality, as well as the economic valorization of water. With the institutionalization of these ideas within the global arena, various African states have developed and introduced different national policies and programs in the last two decades to reform their water sectors correspondingly. The aim of the panel is to address the translation politics generated through such global-local policy and developmental currents from perspectives which foreground questions of local agency, creativity, and power. Thus, we want to call for papers dealing with the following questions:

  • To which extent have these blue-print legislations been adopted, transformed, ignored, or rejected within different rural and urban African localities?
  • How do local agents translate top-down legislation and through which practices? What effect do these blue-prints and the ideas they embody have on peoples’ everyday lives, on political and social practices or the way water is valued, managed, accessed, or known?
  • And do translations resemble local knowledge practices, values, and perspectives with regards to the distribution and use of water or contested ideas of community, participation, and gender equality?

Herewith, we thus aim to explore the connections and disconnections between local, national, and global notions, ideals, and practices of water management; to examine the tensions, conflicts, and harmonies between local and global perspectives as well as to analyse the consequences and implications of these processes.

Diego Augusto Menestrey Schwieger (University of Cologne)
Elsemi Olwage (University of Cologne)

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Menestrey Schwieger, Diego Augusto
Olwage, Elsemi
P 47
Advertently or inadvertently, African literary and cultural productions either highlight and explore or question and contest the notions of connections and connectivity in terms of binarity/alterity versus hybridity/transculturality on the levels of content and form. While transcontinental connections of African writing in the Diaspora have been a focus in recent scholarship, such analysis is more often than not presented in one major linguistic and theoretical continuum, predominantly English/Anglophone or French/Francophone. Less attention has been paid to the intracontinental connections of different African literary systems and literary trends emerging in different vernacular and vehicular languages. Therefore, paucity rules comparative research that would open up new critical horizons from the perspective of cross-language, cross-regional, and cross-theoretical studies, which if investigated will open new vistas of connections between different Afriphone and Europhone literatures and cultures that cross all regions of the continent. In addition, there is an urgent need to put different schools of thinking and paradigms of literary theory into dialogue, in order to advance African literary and cultural studies.
The major aim of the panel is to cross over language barriers, regional settings, and theories. Therefore, we invite proposals based on theoretical reflections and/or case studies on literary languages used by African writers/artists and on all literary genres as well as film, drama, and performance in general to explore diverse notions of connection in terms of their subjects and aesthetics. Proposals should reflect on the impact of cross-connections in order to encourage a comparative scholarship of African literatures and cultures that cuts across all languages and regions of the continent.

Pepetual Mforbe Chiangong (Humboldt University of Berlin)
Susanne Gehrmann (Humboldt University of Berlin)

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Mforbe Chiangong, Pepetual
Gehrmann, Susanne
P 48
Anthropologists, historians, or geographers have already pointed out the manifold connections inside and across the Sahara, linking groups, places, and regions one to another and shaping thus identities, social life, economy, or culture. Not least, the intensifying globalization attributes increasing importance to Saharans and the Sahara on an international level. Such Saharan connectivities transcend materialized and imagined borders, go deeper than presumed orders and supposed obviousness. We can only understand them when ‘glancing behind’ political appearances and also when questioning always anew conventional scholarly approaches. We thus invite papers focusing on Saharan connectivities and demarcating themselves by an unconventional approach and a ‘glance behind’.

Tilman Musch (University of Bayreuth)
Dida Badi (University of Bayreuth)

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Musch, Tilman
Badi, Dida
P 49
Scholars and practitioners have shown a renewed interest to rural Africa in the last decade, not least because of the commercial demand for farmland. Rural areas on the continent are increasingly exposed to new technologies and globalized markets. This has far-reaching consequences for local communities, essentially leading to rural transformation. This rural transformation includes changes in land use and ownership, agricultural production, and rural labour markets, all of which have repercussions in terms of human mobility.
Rural transformation contribute to migration flows in at least two ways. Firstly, in many of Africa’s rural areas, evidence shows ongoing land consolidation resulting in larger farm sizes despite rising population densities that would lead us to expect shrinking farm sizes. This suggests that smallholders give up farming and leave their land – either by leasing or selling it to more efficient farmers. In some cases smallholders are forcibly displaced from their land. Secondly, agricultural productivities are starting to rise due to more capital-intensive production. This however releases labour that without alternative employment opportunities also contributes to migration flows.
The effects of rural transformation on poverty, inequality, and food security as well as environmental repercussions are of interest for this panel. Outmigration is a key coping-strategy of rural households. Which households benefit from rural transformation, which households decide to stay and which households leave? This panel seeks empirical and theoretical contributions that concentrate on rural transformations and the repercussions contributing to migration. The panel seeks contributions from all disciplines and aims to offer a lively debate that link migration to rural transformation.

Kerstin Nolte (GIGA Institute of African Affairs, Hamburg)
Franzisca Zanker (Arnold Bergstraesser Institute, Freiburg)

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Nolte, Kerstin
Zanker, Franzisca
P 50
Since the turn of the century, the mobile phone and the growth of the internet have changed how Africans interface with power and connect with the diaspora. With visible affordances in social media, especially in the explicit ‘convoking logics’ such as ‘liking’, ‘friending’ and ‘following’, the convergence of social media and mobile telephony is central to new debates on how social media has become effective as platforms of activism, community policing, civic action, and political deliberation.
In much of Africa, the combination of social media and Smartphones have ‘liberated’ and emancipated mediated communication from the centre (state and institutions) and given more agency to ordinary individuals insofar as participatory governance, accountability, and political/civic action are concerned. With consideration to the popular perception of limited participatory governance in Africa, the urgent question that begs answers is the extent to which citizens’ participation in Africa has been enabled, disrupted, or enhanced by ‘outside forces’ through social media platforms.
The purpose of this panel is to convene scholars from as diverse a field as media studies, anthropology, political science, and history among others for a discussion on how social media in Africa is increasingly mediating between social individuals and groups. Specifically, papers are invited to shed light on how this interaction is creating new forms of social mediation, where various kinds of agency emerge, with specific reference to how groups and ordinary individuals perform what can be subsumed as participatory and productive citizenship.

Duncan Omanga (Moi University, Kenya)
Joyce Omwoha (Technical University of Kenya)
Jacinta Mwende (University of Nairobi)

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Omanga, Duncan
Omwoha, Joyce
Mwende, Jacinta
P 51
This panel seeks to carve out different understandings and potentials of transcontinental analysis. Should we compare cases on different continents to arrive at a more ‘global’ understanding of a particular phenomenon? Or is transcontinental analysis better understood as the tracing of empirical linkages across continents (migration, capitalist networks, the transatlantic slave trade, etc.) through which we may grasp the intertwined nature of the world? What are the methodological, theoretical, or simply pragmatic reasons for preferring one version over the other? What is the role of the researcher in each of them? As the panel seeks to present transcontinental studies in their diversity, comparative analyses on whatever topic are just as welcome as research on diasporas, expatriates in African cities, global youth cultures, political movements, or colonialism. We also solicit presentations about transcontinental biographies and postcolonial fiction, i.e. stories about individuals who straddle geographical boundaries, usually without abandoning them as heuristic tools. The ultimate challenge is to tie these different topics and approaches back to the overarching question of what we want to achieve when crossing continental borders.

Joschka Philipps (University of Basel)
Julia Büchele (University of Basel)

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Philipps, Joschka
Büchele, Julia
P 52
While phenomena of metamorphosis have been associated with predominantly negative connotations within a European frame of reference (namely as mere imitation, deceit, or substitute), they also point towards another meaning, revealing a principle that stresses the significance of materiality as ‘sujet’. Recently, techniques such as sampling have put forth new interpretations of such creative transferrals. Thus, material metamorphoses frequently happen to be also media metamorphoses.
The focus on substance and materialities seems to relate to African notions of classification – material is recognised here as both textile fabric and oral transmission of ‘matter’: objects are often classified according to certain characteristics of materiality and semantics and not only to their formal qualities. The ideational and non-material can become attached to the material, whereas in other contexts certain materialities or matter are reserved for privileged groups or persons.
Since precolonial times, fabrics as objects of transcontinental and transregional trade and exchange play a crucial role in the making and strengthening of social ties and, thus, of status and identities. The importance of material is also reflected in contemporary fashion and design where global belonging as well as local situatedness are claimed. The conscious choice of materials and techniques of labels like, for example, Xuly Bët, Laduma, or Black Coffee, refers to the material expression of a (Pan-)African and decolonial legacy, both critically and playfully.
In contemporary design and art, material morphoses find expression in processes of modernization, democratization, nobilitation, and re-evaluation; they also relate to material innovation and new manufacturing techniques as well as to miniaturizations (reductions, compressions, condensations) found in architecture and furniture design.
We suggest that the analytical lens of material morphosis (Stoffwechsel) can foster new perspectives when examining cultures of materiality, further exploring the ‘dense materiality’ (Sylvanus 2016) of cloth as a social skin, material object, or an archive or when tracing ‘matter’ within their regional and transcontinental entanglements in the past, present, and future. We invite papers that examine material morphosis and sensuous materiality within their temporal and spatial context.

Kerstin Pinther (University of Munich)
Alexandra Weigand (University of Munich)
Kristin Kastner (University of Munich)

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Pinther, Kerstin
Weigand, Alexandra
Kastner, Kristin
P 53
Gold, slaves, cash crops, copper, or oil are among the main objects of exchange through which Africa has been (and is) connected with the world for centuries. Often localized/produced in specific areas and the exchange made from the coastal ones, they have created a geography of blank spaces on the African map, with many sites seemingly outside the globalized world. Groups able to control access to these exchanges have also generated boundaries to determine the participation of others. Nevertheless, not only boundaries have been open for contestation or negotiation, but also exchanges have prompted unexpected developments. This panel is mainly interested in the strategies and creative developments of the excluded to participate in the changes wrought by the global exchanges.
‘Inland connections’ is intended to refer not only to the connections that originated from areas beyond the centres of exchange – such as those from the rural areas – or to the objects of exchange that are not the focus of global exchanges but enabled by them – i.e. products or services for the included – but also, in a more figurative sense, to the strategies of those socially excluded in the centre – e.g., in terms of gender or ethnicity.
The panel welcomes proposals from all disciplines that explore these other connections inside Africa which revolve around the global connections. The focus is on the strategies of inclusion and objects of exchange of those who were/are not seemingly included in the African connections with the world and on the new possibilities wrought by them.

María José Pont Cháfer (EHESS, Paris)

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Pont Cháfer, María José
P 54
Much has been said in academia and the media about South-South Cooperation with the so-called BRICS and other emerging powers as foreign aid donors and less developed states as recipients, many of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, not much has been written or discussed about foreign aid being given by states classified by international organizations at lower levels than emerging or middle powers. Meanwhile, the entrepreneurial classes in countries such as Mozambique – classified as one of the world’s least developed – are growing, expanding their capital, and demanding more shares and autonomy in projects with foreign participation on their soil. This state, for one, reports to be giving humanitarian aid in times of disasters and conflict to Africa, Afghanistan, even Japan, and to be having ideas for development cooperation projects with neighbours. In this state philosophy, development is a package that includes both technical cooperation and the commercial projects resulting from them, aiming to increase productivity above all and espousing the idea that the dividends from extractive industries will spill over into other sectors of the economy, diversifying it and ultimately reducing dependency on foreign donors. This panel welcomes proposals for papers dealing with any Sub-Saharan African state (besides South Africa) that is actively engaging in giving any sort of foreign ‘aid’ or ‘cooperation’ (e.g. humanitarian, development, security) – alternatively, it could be a state that seems to be preparing to do so via the growth of its entrepreneurial-political leadership. All disciplines and perspectives are welcome, from discursive to ethnographic to classic international relations.

Ana Beatriz Ribeiro (University of Leipzig)

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Ribeiro, Ana Beatriz
P 55
Technology gains increasing relevance in most African countries. Agendas of the largest multi- and bilateral organizations promote the use of innovative technologies and emphasize the hopes and benefits a more (technologically) connected Africa could bring to the rest of the world. Even beyond development scenarios, the everydayness of many African citizens is strongly affected by technology. Be it in the form of concrete devices like a cell phones or more in form of complex networks or systems e.g. water, sanitation or electricity infrastructures – the everyday lifeworld of most Africans has been significantly shaped by the use of as well as exposure to modern technologies. In this panel, we will explore the inescapable intertwinement of ‘technicization’ and the ‘lifeworld’ – on the topic of which the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg points out that the two cannot readily be treated apart, and that ‘technicization is lifeworld’. The panel calls for contributions that relate the technology/lifeworld complex to persisting questions of rationalization and standardization – as these are the legitimizations and effects of the infrastructures of modernity, deeply implicated in its institutions, in its administrations and bureaucracies, forecasting, and surveillance systems. We invite conceptual as well as empirical contributions that focus on but are not limited to questions like:

  • How can we study the relation between technology and lifeworld? What are the methodological implications/challenges?
  • What are the onto-epistemic insights/values of thinking technology as integral part the lifeworld?
  • How can these insights be related to already existing concepts like e.g. adaptation and translation?

Richard Rottenburg (University of Halle-Wittenberg)
René Umlauf (University of Halle-Wittenberg)

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Rottenburg, Richard
Umlauf, René
P 56
Worker housing represented the commonest built element in the colonial landscape. It is understood as a distinct component of broader ambitions of colonial powers to shape the physical spaces of (public and private) city lives of African workers and as a means to gain both their consent and achieve domination. The panel will trace, in historical perspective, the aspirations of colonial powers with respect to the governing of African workers in different cities.
The panel will ask for ways and means through which African workers came to ‘reframe’ (responded to) the housing orders imposed on them by the respective colonial powers, be it via adaptation, ignorance, resistance, transformation, subversion, or even profit. Our understanding is that housing represented a terrain shaped by processes stretching beyond its immediate physical landscape – processes of contestation through which multiple perspectives of a variety of players come to be heard. We invite case studies from any forms of employment during the colonial and post-colonial era: be it mining, agriculture, infrastructure buildings, and/or administration.
We look for contributions which will trace interconnectivity at various levels and scales, ranging from local via transnational to global, e.g. by connecting the individual experiences to their respective metropolises. We will point to mobility and transfer of ideas, designs, concepts, experts, policies, and practices across regions and continents, both at individual and structural level.

Kirsten Rüther (University of Vienna)
Daniela Waldburger (University of Vienna)
Martina Barker-Ciganikova (University of Vienna)

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Rüther, Kirsten
Waldburger, Daniela
Barker-Ciganikova, Martina
P 57
Interpretation of history by individuals and societies is determined by ideologies. This applies to the more recent history as well as to the biological evolution of humans and to prehistory. During the last few hundred years, the arrogance of colonialism has either denied the historical knowledge and the historical consciousness of the autochthonous population in Africa, or, with few exceptions, reinvented their own rules relating to biological racism and cultural hierarchy.
To date, a large body of evidence, including palaeontological, geological, environmental, archaeological, ecological, biogeographic, and genetic data allow the reconstruction of the major phases of hominin evolution in Africa. It is unequivocally accepted that the cradle of both earliest hominins and earliest humans lay in Africa. Biologically modern humans also originated on the African continent about 160,000 years ago and populated most habitats of the earth from here.
The evolution of Homo sapiens not only refers to a biological process, but also to a rather complex history, characterized by long-term interdependent biological, cultural, and social processes. Our present knowledge in (palaeo)anthropology, offers the opportunity to reconstruct the manifold, complex, and interwoven historical processes that shape modern humankind and to de-construct racism.
The panel is open for contributions from all fields reclaiming African (pre-)history for the African continent. Especially we are inviting presentations focussing on the following three major topics:

  • the potential of (palaeo)anthropology for a new perception on African (pre-)history and Humanity,
  • scientific approaches towards de-constructing racial concepts and racism (e.g. genetics, biology, bio-cultural diversity),
  • contributions of Muse.

Friedemann Schrenk (University of Frankfurt)

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Schrenk, Friedemann
P 58
Die Verflechtung Afrikas mit anderen Weltteilen vollzog sich nicht unidirektional als progressive Verdichtung von Konnektivität, sondern beinhaltete auch gegenläufige, regressive Elemente: Grenzziehungen, Verlagerungen von Verkehrswegen, Abwanderungsbewegungen und viele andere Phänomene konnten – mal abrupt, mal schleichend – desintegrative Effekte bewirken.
So büßten etwa an der Atlantikküste Afrikas wie auch in „Indian Ocean Africa’ manche Knotenpunkte der Handelsschifffahrt diese Funktion nach der Öffnung des Sueskanals und dem Aufkommen der Dampfschiffe ein. Anderswo verwandelten sich Bergbau- und Goldsuchersiedlungen nach der Ausbeutung der Bodenschätze in Geisterstädte. Manche Landstriche wurden durch das Fortschreiten von Bodendegradation und Wüstenbildung entvölkert – vielerorts beschleunigt durch koloniale Agrarpolitiken –, andere durch Landflucht infolge von Urbanisierungsprozessen oder etwa durch die Einhegung von Naturschutzgebieten. Einwanderungsgesetzgebungen ließen Migrations- und Handelsströme jäh abbrechen, langjährige Zentren des Sklavenhandels erfuhren infolge der Abolition eine Isolierung.
Solche und andere Formen von Konnektivitätsverlust – die Aufzählung ließe sich unschwer erweitern – diskutiert das Panel in historischer Perspektive. Im Mittelpunkt stehen das Abreißen von Verbindungen zwischen Afrika und seinem Äußeren, Konnektivitätsverluste innerhalb des Kontinents sowie Wechselwirkungen zwischen beiden Ebenen.
Makrohistorische Perspektiven können erhellen, wann und wo sich in Afrika gleichsam der „Verdichtungsschübe’ globaler Integration womöglich auch markante Phasen der Regression von Konnektivität manifestierten. In mikrohistorischer Nahsicht ließe sich zeigen, was das Unter- oder Abbrechen von Verbindungen „im Kleinen’ bewirkte. Ein besonderes Interesse des Panels gilt der Bewältigung von Konnektivitätsverlust: Wie reagierten afrikanische Akteure auf das Abreißen von Verbindungen? Wie wurden solche Erfahrungen narrativiert, medialisiert und diskursiviert? Wie werden sie erinnert?

Felix Schürmann (University of Kassel)

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Schürmann, Felix
P 59
The panel invites papers that reflect on theory building, epistemology, and methodology in African Studies. Its starting point is an antinomy: Research on Africa engages with settings that differ markedly from those of Europe, North America, and perhaps other parts of the Global South while at the same time drawing from theories and concepts developed in and, more often than not, for the Global North. Postcolonial debates have shown the problematic nature of the knowledge produced under these circumstances. However, the critiques have stressed epistemological issues and failed to accord as much importance to methodological issues. One way of redressing the balance is to ask what Africa is a case of, i.e. how the hidden descriptive and analytical assumptions of in research practice can be made more implicit.
Our panel addresses African connections from a theoretical perspective. It invites papers that look into (a) how Africa is inscribed into the world developed by social science concepts and theories, (b) the methodological challenges produced by such inscriptions and (c) the role which knowledge produced in Africa can play in subverting or elaborating further on social science theories and concepts. Paper proposals from all disciplines are welcome that address such questions, especially those with a strong empirical bearing.

Florian Stoll (University of Bayreuth)
Elísio Macamo (University of Basel)

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Stoll, Florian
Macamo, Elísio
P 60
After independence, many West African states have built on the former colonial administrative systems. After a process of adoption, the post-colonial governments had to deal with the human rights discourse, for example. After embracing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for instance, the International Labour Organization has been one of many sources producing meaning on what African childhoods should be like. By looking at processes of appropriation and elaboration, we focus on the question of translation and interpretation of concepts travelling in between sites of legitimacy creation. We analyse how administrative systems and discourses have been translated into the heterogeneous reality of West African societies. We understand translation as an open-ended concept, focusing for example on Rottenburg and Kaufmann’s (2012) idea that translation (German Translation) is the spatial, temporal, and social transfer of concepts, things, and ideas. This notion enables us to explore the dynamics of, for example, the various judicial systems as they are translated/localized/domesticated into and from West African reality. We are especially interested in the specific role of ideologies, for instance ideologies of legal authorities, which often contrast with the life worlds of key actors, such as defendants, children, and witnesses. We welcome contributions looking into all aspects of translation from diverse perspectives, including, but not limited to, social anthropology, ethnography, linguistics, sociology, science and technology studies, interpretation and translation studies, etc.: -­- How do narratives in these areas use/refer to colonial ideologies and legitimize a homogeneity, which is reproduced and furthered by postcolonial elites? -­ What are the consequences of the various translation processes for equal representation before the law, for example, and for marginalized groups in society such as children or illiterates?

Natalie Tarr (University of Basel)
Nicolas Mabillard (University of Geneva)
Gabriele Slezak (University of Vienna)

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Tarr, Natalie
Mabillard, Nicolas
Slezak, Gabriele
P 61
The participation of Africa in the globalization process has come with complex and varied forms of connections between local and global markets within Africa and the rest of the Global South. One dominant aspect of connectivity is global operators linking up with those at local level to market goods and services in disregard of the state approval. Across the continent, new patterns of production and consumptions of certain commodities in high demand have given rise to Asian-linked supply chains (China, Indian, Malaysia, and Pakistan) that have in some circumstances overtaken state regulation or diminish its legislation capacity. While there could be some benefits accruing to local markets involved in those connections, alarming concerns over illicit market transactions have been brought to the fore in the public debates. Market capture by certain operators capable of networking with those at the global level has also been identified as a matter of concern. The panel empirically addresses such concerns from the lenses of the interface between economic informality and public policy is situation where local markets connect with global markets. More specifically, the panel interrogates ways in which the dynamics of connections takes place, the nature of actors and the public management of the outcomes that come from these connections.
Focusing on the connection with Asian countries, the markets of interest for the panel are:

  • artisanal fisheries (coastal and inland) with reference to overfishing, illegal fishing and protection of fish species,
  • counterfeit drugs with reference to legislation and law enforcement,
  • popular tourism with respect to conservation and fragile ecosystems,
  • forest logging with respect to the wellbeing of the community at large,
  • mineral extraction with respect to the environment and natural resources,
  • labour recruitment with reference to infrastructure construction and oil industry.

Abstracts of 500 words or (preferably) full papers are solicited to document either sub-theme. They are to be guided by the following questions: How do markets operate in gearing the transactions and connections between local and global actors? What are the politics emerging from market dynamics?

Gabriel Tati (University of the Western Cape)

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Tati, Gabriel
P 62
Informal economic institutions such as saving and insurance institutions were described by Clifford Geertz as useful only for an intermediate stage of development in 1962. He believed they would fade away and be replaced once developed financial institutions are available. Today – although the formal financial sector has developed and spread immensely worldwide – such informal economic institutions are as vivid as ever. While in the past informal institutions have been associated with rural, poor, and female populations, who had less access to formal financial institutions, more recent research showed that informal saving and insurance institutions are as well popular amongst successful and urban elites. Members of such institutions cover all socio-economic classes in their countries of origin as well as in diaspora communities.
In our panel, we invite contributions dealing with informal economic institutions in African countries and especially in their diaspora communities. Topics to be discussed may include:

  • informal financial institutions as social support systems,
  • the role of informal financial institutions in identity formation,
  • the role of informal financial institutions in/following transnational migration,
  • informal financial institutions as travelling models.

Sophia Thubauville (University of Frankfurt)
Kim Glück (University of Frankfurt)

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Thubauville, Sophia
Glück, Kim
P 63
Public debate on migration is subject to volatile political discourses and periodic election campaigns and inevitably connected to questions of cultural integration, security issues, and national economy. Academic discourse is certainly not free from political interest; nevertheless, it has to meet its own standards: Refugee and migration studies have to be founded on thoroughly gathered empirical data and aim beyond simplistic answers – particularly if researchers do not want their results to naïvely support restrictive policies.
This panel invites papers on innovative methodological approaches to migration inside Africa and beyond in its diverse forms and alongside its various itineraries. Field access and migration’s inherent risk, mobility, and informality are typical research problems: So, how to represent people acting under stress and duress without prejudice and harm? How to properly document motivations and cultural imaginaries, social communication, and exchange within local migrant milieus as well as across long distances? How to deal with transit’s usual waithood and deceleration - and the sudden dynamics of new options and passages? How to grasp historicity and political context of contemporary migration from Africa to Europe and elsewhere? And how to perceive migrants’ personal changes and transformations under these circumstances?
We welcome approaches and efforts from all disciplines which do not simply apply impersonal and ready-made methodology on individual sites and settings, but aim at further developing and refining social research on refugees and migration. After all arguments based on empiric research are urgently needed in current days’ public debate.

Magnus Treiber (University of Munich)
Hartmut Quehl (Felsberg Institute for Education and Academic Research)

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Treiber, Magnus
Quehl, Hartmut
P 64
In general, sports and leisure are widely perceived as means and spheres of human interaction, integration, social mobility, and the promotion of physical and mental well-being. Hence, they seem to facilitate social connectivity at various levels. However, as both historical and current dimensions of leisure and sports in African contexts indicate, access to and through physical activity has also been regulated, denied, and exploited (e.g. as colonial means for disciplining local populations). Therefore, sports and leisure may also serve as tools and spheres to disconnect and exclude people from rights, places, identities, and mobilities.
In current African settings, those dis/connections relate to various dimensions and often play out simultaneously. Sports and leisure may reflect hopes of social mobility yet often reproduce social exclusion (e.g. among transnational football migrants). The rise of an African middle class has introduced new spheres of physical leisure time activities (e.g. gym fitness) which may promote rather exclusive body cultures that manifest social stratification. Sport and leisure also serve as an arena for political engagement (e.g. as football supporters have proven during the Arab Spring). Yet, they may also serve as self-exclusions from cultural norms and reflect hedonist discourses of alternative lifestyles (e.g. surfing communities). Moreover, leisure may also play out as sport’s other (e.g. as forms of idleness or self-exclusion from physical activity). However, particularly social activities such as collective drinking have the potential to unite people peacefully while also cause fights and thus dis/connect people.
Given sports’ and leisure’s ambiguous roles, this panel aims at investigating further the issues and dimensions of their dis/connections in African contexts. We particularly welcome papers which are empirically grounded in ethnographic fieldwork and are related to dis/connections in the fields of social and spatial mobilities, urbanities, politics, race, age, and gender.

Christian Ungruhe (Aarhus University)
Silke Oldenburg (University of Basel)

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Ungruhe, Christian
Oldenburg, Silke
P 65
Africa’s Indian Ocean littoral – from the Red Sea to the Cape of Good Hope – has long been a place of passage: seamen and migrants, traders and scholars from across the Indian Ocean came to work, settle, do business, teach, and convert, both on the coast and in the hinterland. Likewise, Africans moved outwards with similar aims and intentions, taking ideas and their material culture with them. For centuries, slaves were exported, but others moved of their own free will, and continue to do so, in increasing numbers: scholars and pilgrims to the Arabian Peninsula, traders and labourers to China and Japan, migrants and refugees to Australia. In a contemporary world, they come not just from the Swahili coast but from all over the continent.
How do these Africans negotiate encounters across the region? How are links maintained with homelands, and how do contemporary forms of technology shape practices and worldviews? What are the political, social, and economic implications of these transnational networks? How do these movements, the diversity of experiences of those who move, the multiple encounters with different ideas, practices and cultures, shape those who are touched by them, directly or indirectly – those who move as well as those who do not? This panel calls for papers that explore African endeavours in the greater Indian Ocean region, including but not limited to the personal and collective initiatives that prompt movements, the networks that sustain them, and links with the homelands as well as activities in the host countries.

Iain Walker (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle)

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Walker, Iain
P 66
Comics as a modern genre and modern European colonization emerged simultaneously in the late nineteenth century. It is no wonder that Africa has been the setting for numberless popular comics made in the ‘West’ ever since. On the other hand, African societies have integrated comics and caricatures into their visual cultures very easily and creatively. The proposed panel attempts to investigate both, Africa and Africans in past and present non-African comics as well as Africa as the place of comic production and reception.
As a rule, comics use hyperboles and simplification so that they have had the power to generate and vulgarize stereotypes. In this regard, colonialist – or anti-colonialist – propaganda has been spread in cartoon strips. However, comic as a ‘global genre’ has also been used as a subversive instrument of critique and self-expression in and about Africa. Moreover, comics have always connected artists with colleagues and readerships from other cultures, because of the limited faculty of language required and due to the self-reflecting and self-referring nature of that genre.
In our panel, history will meet fine arts and Africanists from various disciplines in order to discuss Africa’s role in the past and present ‘World of Comics’. In this way, we will study the connectedness of Africa with the global sphere by processes of making, distributing, reading, and interpreting comics.

Stephanie Zehnle (University of Duisburg-Essen)
Felix Schürmann (University of Kassel)

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Zehnle, Stephanie
Schürmann, Felix