Sports Africa Conference 2020

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14th Sports Africa Conference
July 1-3, 2020
Nelson Mandela University
Port Elizabeth, South Africa


Call for Papers

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa will host the 14th edition of the Sports Africa Conference from 1-3 July 2020. Since 2004, Sports Africa has promoted and championed African Sport Studies as a valuable interdisciplinary academic field by bringing together practitioners and scholars working across disciplines and continents. This year’s conference theme is:


African Nations and World Competitions – the State of Play


The organizers invite reflections and critical proposals to generate debate on the state of play throughout Africa from world championship participation to local, community, and indigenous games and sports. Since independence, African nations have become an integral part of the global sports community. Africans’ continuing participation in world championships and other qualifying events indicates their entanglement in a wide variety of sports practices and trends, from digital transformations, artificial intelligence, and globalization to the rise of populism, perfomance enhancing drugs, gender policies, the spectre of ‘terrorism’ and other currents that impact major sports events. In what ways have African athletes’ participation in international competitions evolved within this rapidly transforming global sport ecosystem? With what significance have African athletes and national teams participated and occasionally won world competitions historically? What implications do these victories have for national sports development and nation-building more broadly? Paper proposals that speak to these questions and to the theme of “African Nations and World Competitions – the State of Play” are welcome from practitioners and scholars in the following fields: anthropology, sociology, health, history, geography, politics, economics, African diaspora studies, public policy, education, communication, gender studies, development studies, and other interdisciplinary perspectives. We also invite papers that address any of the following sub-themes:

  • World championship victories and their social, sporting, and political impact
  • Sport and history, continuity, and change
  • Traditional and indigenous games
  • Sport, streaming technologies and social media
  • Digital and physical cultures
  • Sport, immigration, and national identity
  • Violence, terrorism, insecurity, and sport
  • Sport at school and university
  • Sports clubs, competitions, and academies
  • Sport and gender, race, disability, and/or sexuality
  • Local sports and inequality, power, and change
  • Sport and public health
  • Urban vs rural sport participation
  • Athletic bodies and Performance Enhancing Drugs

Abstract submission

Please submit abstracts of 250 to 300 words followed by keywords and preferably without academic references through the Sports Africa website, available at:


Presentation Options

Oral Presentation

Accepted abstracts will be attached to panels with similar themes.  Panels generally consist of 3 to 4 presenters, each delivering a paper for 20 minutes, followed by questions and discussion.


Roundtables consist of discussion of selected topics concerning research, pedagogy, knowledge production, and scholarship on African Sport Studies and the role such conferences can play in promoting these endeavors. Short essays that selected speakers present will set the agenda for debate and discussion. If you are interested in organizing a Roundtable, please email the conference organizers directly at


The Conference Organizing Committee invites submissions from individuals or groups to conduct an interactive session on any topic of relevance to the main themes of the conference. These sessions are aimed at more engaged and critical scholarly discussions with feedback based on pre-circulated papers. Accepted workshop papers will be included in the conference proceedings. If you are interested in organizing a Workshop, please email the conference organizers directly at

Proceedings and publication

All accepted abstracts will be published in the conference website. All full papers sent to the conference organizers will be considered for inclusion in an edited volume subject to double blind review.

Keynote Speakers to be announced shortly

Important dates:

Abstract submission deadline: February 29, 2020

Registration opening date: March 15, 2020

Registration closing date: May 31, 2020

All accepted presenters must register by 31 May, 2020 otherwise their paper will not be included in the program. Submission of an abstract indicates intent to register and present on any of the three days of the conference.

For more information, please visit the conference website:

For the abstract submission form, please visit:

To get in touch with the conference organizing committee, please email: