Since its origins in decolonization and the Cold War, African studies has consistently had to reassert its relevance to university curricular trends and global historical forces. For many teaching African studies courses, consistent pedagogical goals have focused on deconstructing popular discourse about the world’s second largest continent, and centering African voices and experiences as vital to understanding global issues. These goals are unfinished and on-going, but how is African studies evolving to meet the demands of the 21st century classroom? What are the new opportunities and challenges to promoting the study of Africa within the liberal arts?
In higher education, declining interest and funding for the humanities and social sciences has taken its toll on fields which still dominate area studies. At the same time, universities are investing in STEM and global education in ways which could both strengthen and threaten the future of African studies. As teachers and scholars of African studies, how have we responded to these trends in the classroom and our university curricula? What pedagogical strategies best demonstrate the importance of understanding African experiences in students’ academic, personal or professional lives?
Africa Network’s key mission is to promote the study of Africa within the liberal arts curriculum. This year’s conference theme “Africa in the 21st century classroom” is a continuation of an on-going focus of the organization and designed to bring together an interdisciplinary group of teachers/scholars to share best practices in a collaborative environment. Building on our 2016 conference theme “The State of African Studies,” our 2017 conference will offer a chance to continue the debate within the changing landscape of higher education.
Publication Opportunities Selected papers from the conference will be invited to submit to a new online, open source publication called “Teaching Africa” sponsored by Africa Network and set to launch in 2017.
Submissions and Deadlines: Please submit an individual abstract or panel proposal to Matt Carotenuto (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 1st, 2017 with the subject line “Africa Network Conference.”
Abstracts for individual papers should not exceed 250 words. Full panel or roundtable proposals of up to four participants around a shared theme are encouraged. Submissions from current graduate students and joint faculty/undergraduate student pairs are especially welcomed.
Potential Panel/Presentation Topics (suggested but not limited to the following)
- Best practices in teaching African studies within the liberal arts
- New Approaches to teaching “development” in the era of “Africa rising”
- African studies and STEM fields
- Area studies in pre-professional programs
- Pedagogical challenges of contemporary U.S. African relations
- Decolonizing the university and diversity education
- Study abroad and international education
- African studies pedagogies in the digital age
- African studies and general education
Host and location: St. Olaf is one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, and promotes global engagement as a key institutional mission. Northfield is a historic river town of 20,000 in the southeast part of Minnesota, just 45 minutes from the Twin Cities and Minneapolis/ St. Paul (MSP) international airport. Historic downtown Northfield, within walking distance of campus, features coffeehouses, sandwich shops, restaurants, gift stores, and local art galleries. Northfield is also home to Carleton College.