Thematic Streams ASAUK2020

A01.Access, empowerment, opportunities: Multilingualism in the African context

This stream brings together those working on topics relating to multilingual practices and multilingual ecologies, particularly as these pertain to translanguaging, transformation, policy and practice, and society more broadly. The stream exploits the naturally diverse linguistic repertoires of Africa as a resource for empowerment and opportunity and in this sense will engender discussion that is broadly applicable across the continent.

Organisers: Mompoloki Bagwasi (; Tracey Costley (; Hannah Gibson (; Nancy Kula (; Gastor Mapunda (; Joseph Mwansa ( and Colin Reilly (

A02. Affective Desires and Power in Academic Knowledge Production

This proposed thematic stream analyzes expectations, implicit and explicit ideals, for how scientific knowledge should matter among academics, university students, the general public, media, activists and policy makers. The stream invites both theoretical and empirical accounts of relevance as affective expressions of hope where speculative fictioning of the political imaginary of the alternative happen. The stream is especially interested in papers on collaborations.

Organisers: Danai Mupotsa ( and Elina Oinas(

A03. Africa during the communist and post-communist period: Decolonising narratives in Eastern Europe

This stream proposes a reconsideration of whether and to what extent artistic exchanges between non-Western contexts might escape historically developed power relations between Europe and Africa and of its role in the postcolonial and decolonial debate.

Organisers: Katarzyna Cytlak ( and Karina Simonson (

A04. AFRICA: Journal of the International African Institute

Africa is the premier journal devoted to the study of African societies and culture. It aims to give increased attention to African production of knowledge, highlighting the work of local African thinkers and writers, emerging social and cultural trends ‘on the ground’, and links between local and national levels of society. This stream, with panels organised by editorial board members of the journal, considers its place in the production of knowledge beginning with people’s own perspectives and priorities. The final panel focuses on the circulation of research post-publication.

Organisers: Maxim Bolt ( and Stephanie Kitchen (

A05. African Economic History

This field has shown extraordinary growth over the last 10-15 years. Papers and panels would include- the history of migrations within Africa; changing occupational structures in twentieth-century Africa and economic and social history of Africa.

Organiser: Gareth Austin (

A06. Agency in Southern African Liberation Struggles: biographical perspectives

We are looking for papers, based on new research, that analyse the role of individuals, or groups of individuals, in one or more of the Southern African liberation struggles.

Organiser: Helder Adegar Fonseca (

A07. Art Heritage, Violence and Resilience in Africa

The stream will capture a rich and diverse range of vernacular artistic responses to current and past conflicts in different African contexts. The panels will include papers that use the process of researching art forms as a means of opening up creative gendered spaces to reflect and think about what resilience and dignity mean in challenging situations and then contrast what emerges through these papers against the technocratic and simplistic humanitarian model of resilience.

Organiser: Tamsin Bradley (

A08. Binyavanga Wainaina: Literary Legacies and Creative Futures

This stream pays tribute to and critically examines the work of writer and literary producer Binyavanga Wainaina. We are particularly interested in scholarly engagements with Wainaina’s memoir One Day I Will Write About This Place, as well as with the significant body of short non-fiction and fiction he produced and that has been collected at In addition, we are interested in papers that document and examine Wainaina’s work as a global public intellectual, a Nairobi-based literary producer, a digital pan-African and an LGBTQ+ activist, and intersections between his writing and these multiple identities.

Organisers: Billy Kahora ( and Kate Wallis( )

A09. Congo-stream: Exploring Trends and Dynamics in the DR Congo under the Kabila Administration (2001-2019)

In January 2019, following eighteen years of presidential rule, Joseph Kabila stepped down from the Presidency of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The proposed stream provides a space for scholars to reflect upon and discuss the multifaceted societal trends, dynamics, characteristics and challenges that marked the Kabila administration. We are particularly interested in critical analyses and empirical studies that have explored these multidimensional aspects of the Kabila administration from the perspective and lived experiences of the Congolese people.

Organisers: Ben Radley ( and Sublimé Mabiala ( )

A10. Contemporary African Screen Contexts, Cultures and Texts: Themes and trends across the continent

This stream invites panel and paper proposals that explore the diverse screen contexts, cultures and texts that have emerged throughout Africa over the past two decades. We are interested in research from a variety of perspectives, from industry-led approaches analysing the production, distribution, exhibition and reception of screen media, to culturally informed textual analyses.

Organisers: Michael W. Thomas (; Añulika Agina ( and Lindiwe Dovey (

A11. Contested Urban Spaces

This theme responds to the growing focus by a range of disciplines and fields on the challenges and opportunities provided by urbanisation, which the continent of Africa is expected to experience most intensely in the 21st Century. This theme opens up opportunity for genuine inter-disciplinary engagement, reflecting the growing body of urban-focused research in a diverse range of areas and topics, including public health, architecture, creative arts, youth marginality, political protest, migration, climate change, informal economies, electoral and criminal violence, policing, music, governance, and beyond.

Organiser: Kieran Mitton (

A12. Contradicting Orthodoxy: Samir Amin, Socialist transformation and ‘sovereign national projects’?

This stream debates the contemporary and recent historical patterns of resistance to the ‘morbid symptoms’ of late capitalism in Africa.  It explores existing patterns of alternatives to the continued orthodoxy and mainstream argument for market and institutional reform across the African continent as a panacea to what is often perceived as economic underachievement and political instability.

Organisers: Ray Bush ( and Leo Zeilig (

A13. Cutting Edge Peacebuilding Research in Africa: Engaging Early Career Researcher

Early Career Researchers (ECR) in Africa are engaged in cutting edge peacebuilding research in their respective fields. However, due to the politics of knowledge production, their work remains on the margins. This thematic stream is particularly designed to allow ECRs particularly those from Africa to present their research to an international academic audience. The stream will call for panels primarily made up of papers by ECRs on the theme of Transitional Justice in Post Conflict Societies in Africa. The ECRs working on this sub-theme will be invited to present their research demonstrating alternative discourse to transitional justice and post-conflict mechanisms that, while not normative, may increase the chances for peace and stability in Africa. Other panels will broadly address the issue of peacebuilding broadly defined.

Organiser: Sarah Njeri (

A14. Dignity and Development

This theme explores dignity and development, as foundational, though often implicit, concepts of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in diverse African contexts.  We hope to attract papers that examine how dignity and heritage can be brought to the centre of sustainable development in specific communities; understand how formal policy processes that form around the SDGs and other similar international and national targets cope with heritage and dignity; and to explore how the insights from these instances can facilitate critical scholars’ engagement with sustainable development agendas and alternatives to them.

Organiser: Caroline Howe (

A15. Disciplining, knowing, remaking Africa: Exploring knowledge practices that have informed, resisted, or transformed ‘the Africa gaze’

The panels in this thread focus on different knowledge practices (past, present and future), and contests there-over, which have constituted and continue to constitute how Africa, as a place, as a continent, but also an idea, has been framed, understood, and disciplined since the late 19th century. It may include panels that are specifically disciplinary in focus, but also envisages panels that that take disciplinary divisions of knowledge production about Africa as their critical focus, as well as those that re-visit older debates about how claims to multi-, inter- and cross- disciplinarity have been central to constituting the very idea of ‘area’ studies, historically and politically.

Organisers: Joost Fontein ( and David Moore (

A16. East Africa Global connections and history

This stream invites panels and papers that explore the history of East Africa’s global connections during the mid-twentieth century (c. 1940s-70s), with particular emphasis on textual cultures, ideas, social histories and biography.

Organisers: Daniel Branch ( and Ismay Milford (

A17. Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies Stream

The Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies stream invites panels and papers from scholars within the region and beyond whose research focus is on the literatures and cultures from the wider Eastern African region of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan, and the Horn of Africa. The EALCS stream particularly encourage submissions that disturb and transcend ‘traditional’ approaches to scholarship on literature and culture and signal new ways of seeing and knowing the region.

Organiser: David Kerr (

A18. Experimenting Sex / Exploring Gender – Revolutions and Contestations

This stream aims to bring together panels that address new experiments with and explorations of sex and gender in different articulations of Africa and the global.

Organisers: Thomas Hendriks (; Rachel Spronk ( and Peter Geschiere (

A.19 Gender and Violence in Africa

This stream reviews the violence experienced by men and women, boys and girls in Africa. The panels include ‘Gender, conflict and peace processes’; ’Gender-based violence in African context’ andGender and violent extremism’.

Organisers: Sahla Aroussi ( and Heidi Stöckl (


This stream is interested in exploring the infrastructure development in Africa through gender lens. Large infrastructure projects like Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya or Chinese-built solar farm in Ghana among many other similar projects are often presented as bringing about progress in economic, social and political spheres of African countries. Papers in this steam will explore gender agenda, gendered and gendering consequences of such developments. The stream welcomes all different methodological approaches and disciplinary backgrounds.

Organiser: Egle Cesnulyte (

A.21 Global Health, Human Rights and the State in Africa

This panel focusses on the rôle of health-related human rights in state formation and transformation. We invite participants from across the disciplines able to bring critical perspectives and contextual insights to bear on this process. Particularly how health-related human rights frame politics of healthcare, health-related governance mechanisms, health finance, and in furthering or perpetuating health inequalities.

Organiser: John Harrington (

A.22 Governing Biotechnology in Africa

Biotechnology and its governance remain controversial in Africa. This theme aims to mobilise social science and humanities scholars in response to these recent developments and invites proposals broadly interested in governance of biotechnology. Possible areas of interest might include the governance of GM crops and/or GM and gene drive insects, the role of the media, stakeholder and citizen engagement, community consent to trials, the distribution of risks and benefits, the role of US and European funders and companies, the relationship between science and society, and risk governance.

Organisers: Sarah Hartley (; Charles Rwabukwali ( and Katie Ledingham (

A23. In Crisis

The theme will critically explore how ‘crisis’ has been imagined, articulated, criticised and co-opted in Africa. This theme is particularly interested in the everyday, lived experiences in Africa of both global and local crises.

Organisers: Grace Akello (; Zoe Cormack (; Leben Moro ( and Naomi Pendle (

A24. Journal of African Cultural Studies

The Journal of African Cultural Studies calls for panel proposals for the ASAUK2020 conference. The stream has as its focus African culture, performance arts, visual arts, music, cinema, the role of the media, the relationship between culture and power, popular cultural studies in and from Africa, sociolinguistic topics of cultural interest, and culture and gender. We especially welcome panels and individual presentations that show evidence of understanding life on the ground, and that demonstrate local knowledge and linguistic competence.

Organiser: Carli Coetzee ( or (

A25. Lagos: new approaches to a global megacity

Lagos represents one of Africa’s most dynamic megacities, with a cultural, intellectual, and technological footprint extending across multiple continents. This stream will showcase original and innovative research focused on Lagos and its environs.

Organisers: Saheed Aderinto ( and Oliver Coates (

A26. Learning from African Informal Economies

The informal economy is the lifeblood of many African cities. This thematic stream provides an opportunity to reflect critically on the challenges and opportunities that the informal economy presents. Significantly, papers in this stream will identify key policy, practice, community, and technological innovations and lessons from African cities, for more effective inclusion of the urban informal economy in 21st century cities.

Organisers: Peter Mackie ( and Alison Brown (

A27. Legacies of Biafra

In 1967 Biafra seceded from Nigeria and a three-year war ensued until Biafra fell in 1970. As 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, this stream will provide a timely and much needed discussion on a period of modern history which has greatly impacted the social and political development of the Nigerian nation, as well as influencing the way in which the world viewed and engaged with contemporary Africa.

Organiser: Louisa Uchum Egbunike (

A28. Les alliances interethniques et le maintien de la paix sociale en Côte d’Ivoire

Dans le cadre de cette étude sur les alliances interethniques et le maintien de la paix sociale en Côte d’Ivoire, nous avons fait recours à la méthode qualitative dans son approche phénoménologique afin de définir les patronymes et peuples alliés, comprendre la manifestation des alliances interethniques et son apport pour le maintient de la paix en Côte d’Ivoire. Il était question pour nous de savoir comment le jeu des alliances entre peuples permet d’éviter les conflits interethniques, favorise la réconciliation et préserve la paix sociale.

Organiser: Seydou Ouattara (

A29. New moral economies of care and welfare in Africa. A return to the universal?

Although Africa has never had anything that could be termed a welfare state, the role of the state and its responsibility for welfare and public health in Africa was heavily undermined by structural adjustment programmes in the 1980s and 90s. Since the 2000s, however, we have witnessed a significant change in the ways welfare and healthcare are being addressed. we propose rethinking the concept of moral economy. A term that has recently enjoyed a revival in history and anthropology, moral economy connotes attitudes, beliefs and practices concerning what is right and wrong, just and unjust, fair and less fair, within which political decisions and resource distributions take place. We invite papers that engage with these themes.

Organisers: Victoria Jacinta Muinde (; David Bannister ( and Ruth Prince (

A30. Religious Innovation and Imagination in Africa

This stream conceives of religion as a distinct site of creative innovation and critical imagination, embedded in and contributing to broader processes of cultural, economic, social and political change. We specifically welcome proposals that address and advance the methodological and conceptual challenges relating to studying religion in Africa and the African Diaspora.

Organisers: Adriaan van Klinken ( ); Abel Ugba (; Emma Wild-Wood ( and Sara Fretheim (

A31. Remote Warfare in Africa

Since 2014, the Remote Warfare programme has been tracking an emerging trend in conflict: the rise of “remote warfare”. Instead of placing their own soldiers on the frontlines of campaigns against groups like al Shabaab and Boko Haram, Western forces are increasingly working “by, with, and through” local and regional military groups. There are multiple overlapping unilateral, bilateral and multilateral efforts aimed at building stability, countering terrorist activity and building the capacity of local partners – often with little or no coordination.  This is having a detrimental impact on peace and security in many African countries; for instance, militarily focused assistance is empowering predatory state forces and uncoordinated tactical efforts are doing little to deal with the enduring political problems. This stream invites papers and panels on the effect of modern warfare in Africa.
Organisers: Abigail Watson ( and Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen (

A32. Repositioning of Africa in knowledge production: Shaking off historical stigmas

African scholarly contributions and outputs are estimated to represent only about 2 percent of global knowledge production. this stream will explore barriers to scholarly productivity and discuss emerging and innovative ways of improving the continent’s knowledge production.

Organisers: Evelyn Garwe; Simon McGrath ( and Juliet Thondhlana (

A33. Rethinking Approaches to the Study of Childhoods in Sub Saharan Africa

This stream seeks to explore alternatives approaches to the study of childhoods in sub Saharan Africa which move beyond one-dimensional narratives and foreground more holistic approaches to understanding childhoods and children’s lives in the region.

Organiser: Afua Twum-Danso Imoh ( note: New email address to follow in January

A34. Revisiting Africa’s Land and Agrarian Questions

In many countries across Africa, the struggle against colonialism was underpinned by the need to restore the land rights of indigenous populations lost during colonial occupation. However, in the aftermath of independence, the land question remains largely unresolved across many African countries. The proposed stream seeks to broaden debates on unresolved land and agrarian questions, peasant movements and resistance in neo-colonial Africa.

Organiser: Grasian Hondo Mkodzongi (

A35. Silences in the struggle for gender equality in the global South

This stream invites papers that examine the relationship between silence and the gender equality agenda. In addition, we encourage contributions that explore the impact of silence on gender relationships and the potential for social conflicts or cohesion.

Organisers: Mediatrice Kagaba (; Fortune Bayisenge (; Nicola Palmer ( and Francine Mukandori (

A36. Statehood in Africa

This stream will interrogate the dominant theories and notions of statehood in Africa in the context of international political economy, with a focus on peacebuilding, state-building, elections and electoral politics.

Organisers: ‘Funmi Olonisakin ( and Shuvai Nyoni (

A37. Technologies of politics in Africa

Africa’s ‘digital revolution’ continues to provoke new thinking on how power is mobilised, organised and exercised across the continent. This research stream welcomes papers on these and other questions, with a particular interest in scholarship that combines elements of being empirically grounded, multi-disciplinary and attentive to local ideas and thought. This stream will offer the opportunity to connect researchers from and working on different parts of eastern Africa (broadly conceived) and beyond, and to discuss momentous contemporary political and social developments.

Organisers: Jason Mosley (; Nanjala Nyabola (; Duncan Omanga ( and Sharath Srinivasan ( )

A38. The concept of translation in Africa: challenging Translation and Interpreting Studies

Africa hosts 30% of the world’s languages but despite this high degree of multilingualism, it has largely been overlooked in translation studies as a result of a Western bias. Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS) as an academic discipline emerged in Europe concurrently with the professionalisation of translation. This thematic stream will offer a platform for African and Africa-focused TIS researchers to discuss essential translation and interpreting concepts within an African context.

Organisers: David Orrego-Carmona ( and Kobus Marais  (

A39. The Politics of Transitional Justice

Transitional justice (TJ) has become a dominant global framework through which legal and political responses are provided to past mass violence and repression. This stream aims to examine the politics of TJ through its different political aspects, roles and concepts, and how it manifests at both the macro- and micro-level.

Organisers: Valerie Arnould  ( and Line Engbo Gissel ( )

A40. Transnational women in the public imagination

The idea of transnationalism is as old as the African continent. However, the narrative about women being part of the transnational experience often remain in the margins. This stream offers the possibility of historical texts as well as contemporary texts which can be explored to offer new perspectives about the ways in which African women have written about their experiences of traversing cultures, borders and boundaries often placed on African women.

Organiser: Athambile Masola (

A41. Understanding and mapping local politics

The stream focuses on politics at the sub-national level: in provinces, parliamentary constituencies, villages, towns, suburbs or slums. This stream aims to broaden the focus and ask how we can best conceptualise, map, visualize and analyse relations between players participating in and leveraging power across multiple topics, but within particular geographic settings.

Organiser: Alastair Fraser (

A42. Watery pasts and arid futures?

Confronted with advance effects of climate change, Africa’s watery pasts may become a thing of the past as aridity continues to take the centre stage in our environments. Under this theme, therefore, we are keen to attract papers on the following topics:

  • Water governance in traditional societies
  • Past and present water availability and access and emergence of historical settlements
  • Current trends in water management
  • Indicators and response to climate change in traditional societies
  • Current and recent water crises (e.g. as in Cape Town recently)
  • Water related conflicts and various approaches to conflict resolution
  • Collaborative projects in water management.

Organisers: Freda Nkirote M’Mbogori ( and Paul Jeremy Lane (

A43. Whose Property? Whose Heritage? Traditional Knowledge, Community Rights and State Interests

This panel focusses on the movement to create intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge and cultural expressions in a growing number of African states. We invite participants from across the disciplines able to bring critical perspectives and contextual insights to bear on this emerging legal and regulatory complex.

Organisers: Harriet Deacon ( and John Harrington (