Call for Papers: Africa Knows!

Posted by Nicole Moran on January 21, 2020 at 1:39 pm

In recent years, Africa’s universities, research institutions and other knowledge agencies have undergone tremendous change. Growing demand for scientific forms of knowledge and for higher education has pushed many of them to expand rapidly and to show a combination of daring initiatives and institutional, scientific, and educational creativity. New knowledge organizations have also been established, for example, with ties to religious groups or to the private sector. ‘Decolonizing the academy’ has become a strong call within and outside the continent. Eurocentrism is increasingly questioned, while calls for ‘looking East’ and ‘looking inside Africa’ are gaining momentum.

This conference, the final activity of the Africa 2020 year of the Leiden African Studies Assembly, will be organized with many partners from Africa and Europe and address the following key issues:

  • There are great changes in the African knowledge landscape: is Africa preparing itself for leapfrogging to innovations?
  • What will the nascent multi-polar world of the 21st century mean for Africa’s role in knowledge and innovation?
  • After 60 years of Independence, how do we finally decolonize the minds and change attitudes towards real co-creation?

The theme of the dynamics of knowledge development in Africa opens up debate for many different topics. In total there are 50 panels and there will be room for 70 panel sessions (so some panels will be double panels), some of which will be interrelated, to the extent that we can talk about a string of panels around the same major topic. All the panels included in the Call for Papers have been initiated and (co)-organized by our partner organizations.

Each panel will have one chair from the initiating institute, and two or more co-chairs, preferably at least one from a European institute and at least one from an African institute. Each panel session will have at least four students for technical and secretarial functions. The conference language will be English, but non-English speakers can present their paper or poster in their preferred language, and translation will be provided where possible.

All proposals must be made via the online form, not by email. There is a ‘Propose paper’ button in the title section of each open panel. Navigate to the panel you are interested in and click on this button to propose directly to that panel. (If having done that, you then decide you’d prefer to propose to another panel, first click ‘Cancel’ on the proposal form, before returning to the panel explorer – otherwise you’ll remain locked into that panel.)

Before proposing a paper, please read the conference theme, and then browse the list of panels and their streams.

Papers proposals must consist of:

  • a paper title
  • the name/s and email address/es of author/s
  • an abstract of 200-400 words (in English, or French, or any other preferred language among those spoken in Africa)
  • if your paper is not in fact a paper but a poster, vlog, blog, podcast, etc please indicate this in square brackets at the end of the title? e.g. Diasporic imagination [vlog]

Selection of papers and posters will be done by the panel convenors. Selection outcomes will be communicated by 15 June. We intend to have a fair representation of members from partner institutions, of all panels/themes, of a great variety of disciplines, countries, and language backgrounds, and with a fair representation of gender and age, but to a maximum of 300 delegates.

If you have questions about the conference please email Marieke van Winden, African Studies Centre Leiden on winden(at)

The Call for Papers is now open and closes at 23:59 CET on 31 March 2020.

To find out more, please visit the conference website here

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