Global Africa: African and African Diaspora Studies in the 21st Century

Africa Hall, The Africa Institute, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
12 Mar 2019 - 14 Mar 2019

Ibrahim El Salahi, Funeral and the Crescent (detail), 1963,  Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Gift of Mariska Marker, Photography courtesy of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

Ibrahim El Salahi, Funeral and the Crescent (detail), 1963, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Gift of Mariska Marker, Photography courtesy of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

The Africa Institute, (Sharjah, UAE) presents the international conference “Global Africa: African and African Diaspora Studies in the 21st Century,” taking place from March 12 to 14, 2019 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The three-day conference will be held in the newly rebuilt Africa Hall, originally constructed in 1976 as a venue for showcasing African arts and cultures.

This conference aims to assess the current state of African and African Diaspora studies and interrogate new theoretical approaches through a range of interdisciplinary perspectives. The conference welcomes scholars in African and African Diaspora studies from across the globe to present papers in their respective disciplines and specialisations, towards the shared goal of appraising their fields in the past and present. The goal of the conference is to foster conversation about what lies ahead for African and African Diaspora studies, especially in the context of increased globalisation and migration, caused by the crisis of the postcolonial state in Africa and compounded by rising xenophobia and anti-immigration policies in Europe and North America. The intention is to provide a platform for conference participants to document and provide a critical understanding of the major transformations and theoretical shifts in African and African Diaspora studies.

In recent decades, African and African Diaspora studies have increasingly engaged with postcolonial studies as well as new development within critical theory. Central to these developments is a rising interest in the contributions of several pioneering African/Black diasporic intellectuals who played pivotal roles in the formation of schools of thought such as Pan-Africanism and Negritude. Also of note are the works of influential contemporary theorists and scholars who focus on gender, feminist and sexuality studies. These developments have shifted the field towards a more intersectional analysis in which the imperatives of gender, race and class, among other factors, are taken into consideration along with the African experience. Inspired by these interventions within the field, a new generation of Africanist scholars has produced a body of work critical of patriarchy, Eurocentrism and other hegemonic paradigms. The Africa Institute will engage with and shape these new paradigms of thought in ways that will ensure its place at the forefront of African and African Diaspora studies for years to come.

The conference will consist of nine panels arranged across three days. Confirmed speakers include Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman (Brown University); Hisham Aidi (Columbia University); Jean Allman (Washington University in St. Louis); Awam Amkpa (New York University); Akosua Adomako Ampofo (University of Ghana); Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City University); Susan Buck-Morss (Cornell University and Graduate Center, CUNY); Kassahun Checole (Africa World Press); Ebony Coletu (Penn State University); Naminata Diabate (Cornell University); Manthia Diawara (New York University); Mamadou Diouf (Columbia University); Chouki El Hamel (Arizona State University); Elizabeth Wolde Giorgis (University of Addis Ababa); Catarina Gomes (Catholic University of Angola); Ousmane Kane (Harvard University); Premesh Lallu (University of Western Cape, South Africa); Zine Magubane (Boston College); Fouad Makki (Cornell University); Sandy Prita Meier (New York University); Natalie Melas (Cornell University); Sarah Nuttall (WiSER, University of the Witwatersrand); Tejumola Olaniyan (University of Wisconsin Madison); Carina Ray (Brandeis University); Ahmad Sikainga (Ohio State University); Olufemi Taiwo (Cornell University); Benjamin Talton (Temple University); Dagmawi Woubshet (University of Pennsylvania); and Paul Teyimba Zeleza (United States University-Africa, Nairobi).

Principal co-organisers:

Hoor Al Qasimi (The Africa Institute and Sharjah Art Foundation)

Salah M. Hassan (The Africa Institute and Cornell University)

Carina E. Ray (Brandeis University)


For further information please view the full schedule, programme, including the panels, and registration.


About The Africa Institute

The Africa Institute, Sharjah, UAE, is an interdisciplinary academic research institute dedicated to the study, research and documentation of Africa, its people and its cultures; its complex past, present and future; and its manifold connections with the wider world. It is a globally oriented institution with a focus on the humanities and social sciences that will have a postgraduate studies programme offering both masters and PhD degrees with the aim of training a new generation of critical thinkers in African and African diaspora studies



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