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PAS News and Events
For those of you unable to attend the October 28 web event "COVID and Forced Migration in Africa: Caring for Refugees in a Pandemic" a recording of the event is now on the Program of African Studies youtube channel. Click here to view, or visit and subscribe to our channel for Program of African Studies events, lectures, interviews and more!
Check out the Ufahamu podcast! This week they  share this conversation between Nobel Prize winner author Wole Soyinka and Chris Abani, director of the Program of African Studies (PAS) and professor of Englishat Northwestern University. During the conversation from October 2, 2020 Soyinka shares his thoughts on the American presidential election, the African diaspora, reclaiming African art, and more.
Swahili Table is back for fall quarter! Come practice your Swahili at Meza ya Lugha! All levels welcome.
WHEN: 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM, on the following dates: Nov. 11 and Nov. 18.
WHERE: Online via Zoom. Find the registration for the event here, and a link to the event will follow.
Northwestern’s Global Poverty Research Lab is currently seeking a Research Assistant to work on one or more development economics projects with Prof. Christopher Udry for the winter and spring 2021 quarters. The projects involve data cleaning, analysis, and other potential research activities relating to a series of datasets on socioeconomic development in Ghana. Proficiency in quantitative social science methods and Stata (or a strong interest in learning these) is required.
The Undergraduate Research Office has informed us of the following hiring constraints: students should be in their first or second years, and they must be in the United States at the time of hire (i.e., beginning of winter quarter). Other students interested in future opportunities or academic study are welcome to contact us about their research/academic interests, but please know that we are not actively hiring for other positions at this time.
Please submit a CV, unofficial transcript, and a few sentences on your interest in economic development to Andre Nickow ( if you would like to apply.
The Carnegie Endowment offers one-year fellowships to highly qualified graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated during the past year. Junior Fellows work as research assistants to the endowment’s senior associates. Strong candidates will have significant research experience, rigorous coursework, and a GPA of 3.65 or above. Other qualifications vary by area of application. See the Application Instructions for details. Northwestern may nominate up to three applicants. Applicants must submit the following materials by the campus application deadline of January 4, 2021:
  1. a completed application
  2. an essay of one page, double-spaced, on why you would like to become a fellow
  3. a transcript of all undergraduate work (unofficial is fine)
  4. an essay of no more than three double-spaced pages in response to the prompt for your area of application (see Application Instructions)            
  5. a resume/C.V. of no more than two pages
  6. two letters of recommendation
Please review these detailed Application Instructions. Direct questions and send completed application materials to Amy Kehoe Recommenders should also email their letters, signed and on letterhead, directly to Amy.
CFP: RAL Special Issue on South African Literature A Priori 

The word “a priori” has its origin in late 16th-century Latin and means “from what is before.” While the aim of this special issue is to examine the shifts and continuities of South African literature after Marikana (2012), the phrase “South African literature a priori” highlights the historical currents that create present forms, while simultaneously asserting that this new configuration of things is somewhat different from what was before. It is at this juncture of difference and continuity that we place this reading of contemporary South African literary studies.
The question is then what kinds of narratives are shaping South Africa post-2012, after the first major government-involved massacre after liberation when the image of South Africa in the global imaginary shifted fundamentally again. What narratives do we currently have that can adequately make sense of this shifting context where old nomenclature is inadequate? Can we think through literary texts that reflect the nuances of the present better? This special issue aims to examine South African literature and the theoretical conceptions that define South African literary and cultural production from 2012 onward. Submissions may discuss any genre or pattern in South African literature of the present. 
More information about Research in African Literatures here.
All finished manuscripts are expected to conform to the standard RAL guidelines published in every issue of the journal and all submissions will be subject to peer review. Prospective contributors should send their 300–500-word abstracts by January 15, 2021. The guest editors encourage potential contributors to establish early contact via email to (Sikhumbuzo Mngadi) or (Ronit Frenkel).

Historicizing the Images and Politics of the Afropolitan

A Call for Proposals from the Radical History Review
Issue Editors: Rosa Carrasquillo, Melina Pappademos, and Lorelle Semley

Radical History Review seeks contributions that examine the idea of the Afropolitan, derived from the prefix Afro, for African, and polis, the Greek word for “citizen.” Achille Mbembe’s 2007 essay describes Afropolitanism as an ability “to domesticate the unfamiliar, to work with what seem to be opposites” while explicitly refusing “victim identity.” Though Mbembe emphasizes heterogeneity in Africa, most scholarship focuses on the flow of Africans and African cultures between global megacities. In popular media, the term appears in magazine titles, art exhibits, and albums, highlighting fashion, consumer culture, and networks of capital. A powerful visual aesthetic accompanies this focus on urban landscapes, the arts, and gendered bodies. Yet, studies of the Afropolitan have not engaged with the deep history of mobility within and beyond Africa. Nor have historians contextualized fully the expansive global African diaspora.

Possible topics include: 

● Politics of performance, broadly, including citizenship, dandyism, sports, hip hop culture
● Femininities, Masculinities and Trans Identities
● Networks and affective ties during enslavement
● New narratives of emancipation
● Policing of borders (physical and cultural)
● Debating beauty and body aesthetics
● Visualizing intersectionality and mobility
● Contextualizing Afrofuturism

Procedures for submission of articles: By February 1, 2021, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing your potential article as an attachment to with “Issue 144 Abstract Submission” in the subject line.

Call for Papers:  A (Re)Turn to the African Girl - (Re)Defining African Girlhood Studies Edited Collection

Authors are invited to examine embodied, political, and conceptual decolonizing transgressions put forth for and by girls and youth of all genders living in Africa. The following questions, among others, may be addressed:

  • What voice and influence have African girls had on policy or programs and to what extent have girls been mere targets and objects of such policies and programs?

  • What kinds of adaptive regimes, practices and policies do African states deploy and how do these have an impact on girls and shape girls’ relationships with issues of subject formation, nationhood, violence, justice, and solidarity?

  • How do colonial politics of deservedness and biopolitics function to position African girls as targets for state violence?

  • How can we problematize the very category of girl as a deeply colonial, heteropatriarchal construct?

  • What does disrupting the white, able, heteronormative categories of girlhood mean for analyses of girlhood and for queer, trans, and gender-fluid lives?

  • What creative, grassroots, decolonizing, resurgent strategies are taken up by young people living in African countries?

This edited collection welcomes applied, methodological, and theoretical approaches that work to transgress neoliberal logics and that support justice, resurgence, and decolonization. Authors are invited to engage with discussions about girls and young people’s various engagements with policy, justice, allyship, solidarity, collectivity, resistance, love, land, and decolonial resurgence. 

These can take the form of academic papers as well as creative pieces including multi-media, poetry, stories, artwork, and so on.  We especially welcome contributions authored by young people.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Catherine Cymone Fourshey - Associate Professor, History and International Relations, Bucknell University (
Dr. Marla Jaksch - Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, The College of New Jersey (
Dr. Relebohile Moletsane - Professor, John Langalibalele Dube Chair in Rural Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal ( Email:

UCLA African Studies Center

  African Philosophies of Language Conference

February 18-19, 2021

 Co-Hosted by the UCLA Departments of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Anthropology

 Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Columbia University; Olufemi Taiwo, Georgetown University


Why do African languages matter to philosophy, and to the human and social sciences more generally?  In pursuing this question apropos specific African languages, we invite explorations of indigenous ideas about discourse, grammar, meaning, agency, invocation, incantation and language use.  From multiple disciplinary perspectives including linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, art history, literature, religious studies, cultural studies and education, our conference addresses explicit ideas about speech and illocutionary force often associated with ritual power and secrecy in Africa.  We will also engage implicit notions of time, number, place, person, gender, thinghood, narrative, and poetic/pragmatic function embedded in grammars broadly construed.


Please send your name, email, position and institutional affiliation together with a 150-250 word abstract of your proposed paper by November 15, 2020.


Please put (upper case) “APL CONFERENCE” in the subject heading

Africa News and Events
There are several activities lined up across the continent as International African Writer’s Day is celebrated on November 7, 2020. There are many to chose from, so pick one to celebrate!

International African Writer’s Day was designated as November 7 on the day that the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) was founded. This was following the Conference of African Ministers of Education and Culture, meeting in Cotonou, Benin in 1991.

Africa Unite? The Political Economy of Africa-China Relations in the Era of COVID-19 (VIRTUAL)
WHEN:  Tuesday, November 10, 2020
TIME: 12:30pm
Click here for more information on the event, the panelists, and how to register to receive the Zoom information.
Questions include: What have been the economic, political and environmental consequences of China’s approach to infrastructure development in Africa over the last two decades? What lessons have African policymakers learned in dealing with Beijing through the FOCAC and other multilateral institutions? What are the prospects for African actors to enhance coordination and cooperation on China policy among domestic actors, across transnational advocacy networks, and among governments?
Webinar: “Promised homes: reconstructing housing politics in (post)colonial Africa” 
WHEN: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 
TIME: 10:00am -12:00pm CST
Register for the discussion at or directly per email to You will then receive a link to join the session.

As colonizers thought to accommodate African populations, contain and control labor forces, they disrupted, reshaped and colonized the most intimate living space: the home.  Housing was often more a promise than a reality. Nonetheless, it left many different traces:  from colonial times to the present, from bureaucratic correspondence to personal memories.  Moving beyond the purely physical space of home, the first meeting of this working group will be dedicated to the sources available to retrace the complexities of housing politics in (post)colonial Africa from historical, linguistic and anthropological perspectives. 
A discussion with: Martina Barker-Ciganikova, Kirsten Rüther, Daniela Waldburger & Carl-Philip Bodenstein, editors of The Politics of Housing in (Post)Colonial Africa. Accommodating Workers and Urban Residents (De Gruyter, 2020 – open access) 
The discussion will be largely informal (Q&A) and is meant to be accessible for both a student/researcher audience.

Sakhile&Me Gallery cordially invites you to their exhibition "Witnesses" with works by Ana Paula dos Santos, Eun-Joo Shin and Nigatu Tsehay. Visit Sakhile& to check out this exhibit and learn more about the gallery.

Above images by: Ana Paula dos Santos, Eun-Joo Shin, Nigatu Tsehay
More Africa news and events:
Botswana: Modern Tswana Fashion Week Slated for Weekend, Botswana Daily News, 5 November 2020

Tanzania’s election results are predictable. What happens next is not, African Arguments, 27 October 2020,

Cote d'Ivoire: Election Triggers Refugee Flood to Border Countries, Deutsche Welle, 5 November 2020, 

Ethiopia Nears War in Tigray As Abiy Sends in Troops, Deutsche Welle, 4 November 2020, 

Africa: Opinion - US Election Tears At the Seams of Liberal Democracy, Deutsche Welle, 4 November 2020,

Nigeria: 122 Million Nigerians Risk Contracting Neglected Tropical Diseases - Health Ministry, Premium Times, 5 November 2020, 

Nigeria: Three Nigerian-Americans Win in U.S 2020 Elections, Premium Times, 4 November 2020, 

Nigeria: Election Cliffhanger in America, by Olusegun Adeniyi, This Day (Lagos), 5 November 2020,
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