Africa , Land of History and Culture: History, Memory, and Future Challenges

Belkacem Belmekki's picture
May 10, 2016 to May 11, 2016
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Humanities, Race Studies, Social Sciences

Africa , Land of History and Culture

 History, Memory, and Future Challenges .

VIII  International Conference

 University of Oran 2, Mohammed Benahmed, Algeria

May 10- 11,  2016



        Africa, the cradle of humanity, is undoubtedly one of the continents that have most suffered from colonialism. From the Berlin Conference (1884-1885), when the “Scramble for Africa” was formalized up to the 1960s, a decade marked by the independence of most African countries, this vast continent did not really meet its aspirations. In spite of its geostrategic significance and its rich culture and history, Africa is straining to achieve development and its main preoccupations are still unemployment, poverty, difficulties in access to education and health, resurgence of certain epidemics such as Ebola. In addition to an economic underdevelopment, the growing civil conflicts and regional wars, which are but the consequence of the struggle for influence between the great world powers, have generated internal divisions and plunged the continent in social and political unrest.

     Paradoxically, Africa’s vastness and diversity, instead of being strength, were transformed over the years into a factor of division between peoples of the same origins (e.g. countries of the north (Egypt and Maghreb) and those of the south. This division is also ethnic and religious (Islam and Judeo-Christian on one side, and the practices and esoteric rites of the “natives” on the other side); it is linguistic, “language of the colonizers” and “local dialects”; even ideological and scientific ( teaching contents and models of education; orientations regarding scientific research...)

     It is thus essential, given the world’s current context, to reconsider and reaffirm the factors of cohesion between the African peoples –their common past and cultural substratum. Indeed, from a historical outlook, all the movements of independence in the African countries had as a starting point, the human values of equality and freedom  and succeeded thanks to an incomparable solidarity between the main actors of the revolutions. We can cite as an example the role played by countries like Egypt and Algeria in the 1960s and 1970s. They not only brought their support to all the movements of independence in Africa, but also maintained very narrow relationships with those of Asia and Latin America. Culturally and in spite of the big multiplicity that characterizes the continent, a common basis seems to liven up all the cultural activities whether they are popular or borrowed from the west (orality, importance of family values..)

        This colloquium aims at revisiting and reexamining  what unites the African people by reconsidering the history, the memory and the culture of this continent as well as the representations and discourses resulting from or referring to it.

It intends to act in the sense of reconciliation by insisting on that which brings the people of Africa together, on the presence in the collective unconscious of a strong sense of identity expressed through the Arts, Literature and the African Media. The issues to be discussed will therefore be the following:

  • Can we talk nowadays of a real “African identity”, or at least, a sense /feeling/consciousness of belonging to the same cultural sphere?
  • How is Africanness expressed/manifested in the literature and cinema of Africa? How is this debate taken back by the African and foreign media?
  • Is there one Africa (Black) or Africas (north…)
  • Africa, a land of history and civilization: what are the various conflicts, mutations and repercussions the continent has witnessed?
  • Africa’s place in educational systems, especially in textbooks: how are the values ​​that unite the peoples of this continent taught?
  •  Africa and its media: how is African identity shown in the media; can we speak of typical African media?
  • Africa’s relations with the rest of the world.


Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words for proposed 20-25 minute papers and a short bio to:

Calendar: Deadline for receipt of proposals: 15 February 2016

Date of notification of the decision of the Scientific Committee: end of February 2016

Dates of the conference: 10-11 May, 2016.

Location: University of Oran 2 – Mohammed Benahmed, Algeria

Contact Info: 


Pr Belkacem BELMEKKI

(British and Commonwealth Studies)

Directeur du Laboratoire de Langues, Littérature et Civilisation/Histoire en Afrique

Faculté des Langues Etrangères

Université d'Oran II, Algérie

Tél: +213 558 81 25 32



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