Conference on African Studies: Recovering, digitizing and practicalizing Africa’s Indigenous Knowledge.

August Nyankundi's picture
Call for Papers
July 15, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Linguistics, Environmental History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Digital Humanities

Following broadly defined and multi-purpose transdisciplinary approaches to areal studies, the African Studies Research Center, Kisii is holding its first international conference focusing on four largely circumscribed thematic research areas under the theme of “Recovering, digitizing and practicalizing Africa Indigenous Knowledge”. The goal in accordance with the objective of the emerging African Studies Research Center at Kisii University is to provide, fieldwork-based documentation of those traditional ways of knowing and doing things across nations of Africa spanning different institutions as well as give theoretical account of the same. The intent is to bring together scholars and practitioners alike to make sense of indigenous ways of knowing and of doing things across the continent, and to analyze persistent issues in a way that would liaise with science to proffer viable solutions that in turn would inform practice. Essentially, the conference is to transition us from Knowledge to practical applications.

The ways of life on the continent are not static, the various cultures of African peoples continue resiliently in responding to those persistent questions of life and newer ones. It therefore does become necessary to harness the information that generations have produced over the lifespan of a community and on which they have relied to sustain their people and meet their needs.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Adams Bodomo: Professor of African Studies and Director of the Global African Diaspora Studies (GADS) Research Platform at the University of Vienna, Austria
  • Bruce Connell: Professor of Linguistics, Glendon College, Linguistics and Language Studies, York University, Toronto
  • Erdmute Alber: Professor and Chair of Social Anthropology, Bayreuth University, Germany
  • Esther Obonyo: Associate Professor. School of Engineering Design, Technology and Professional Programs
  • Heather Brookes: Professor and Chief research officer SARChi Linguistics University of cape town
  • Salikoko Mufwene: The Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Linguistics and Humanities Collegiate Division. University of Chicago
  • John Akama: Professor of Tourism and cultural resource management. Kisii University
  • Victoria Nyst: Senior University Lecturer, Leiden University, Netherlands.

We invite submission of abstract for impactful and action-oriented oral and poster conversations that would lead to building a functional bridge that links the past with the future, that connects the traditional to the global, and that affords the transitioning of the analogue to the digital. We would like to explore ways to harness and conserve existing information for the creation of new solutions while assuring the integrity of the underlying socio-cultural heritages.

We invite papers, seminars and workshops within the general scope of the conference widely themed as: “Recovering and digitizing indigenous African knowledge” with the following four subthemes: 

  • Language and Gesture Studies
  • Cultural, Indigenous and Heritage Studies [Arts, Philosophy, Orature and musicology]
  • Political and Economic Studies [Political, economic and Social Institutions]
  • Agro-Science, Health and Technology [Environment, Health and Technology]


Workshop and practical training:

During the conference, we would like to offer training on different techniques and areas of scholarship in the social-sciences. We encourage workshops and trainings on extant innovative practices in specific disciplines. To this effect, we welcome workshops and hands-on training on different programs or software that would equip participants to conduct research in the three areas of the conference’s foci. For example:

  • Training in collecting oral data, in the use of GIS, and archival processes
  • Training in language documentation, specifically, (how to elicit the sounds of a language, lexicology, translation, grammar and dictionary)
  • How to obtain gestures and analyze gestures
  • How to code different data and analyze large scale data
  • Data mining and information processing


These are suggestions, participants are encouraged to propose discipline specific training and workshop to equip researchers with latest information.

Abstract submission: We invite abstracts (500 words maximum, excluding references) of unpublished work for oral presentations, posters, and theme sessions. Abstract Due December 1, 2018


Submit abstracts to

Conference website:


A selected number of essays will be published in the conference anthology

Contact Info: 

August Nyankundi

Department of Language, Literature and Linguistics

Kisii University, Kisii. Kenya


Contact Email: