CfP - Ghana Studies Association 2019 - Join proposed panel "Infrastructures, pasts and futures"

Pauline  Destrée's picture
Call for Papers
January 19, 2019 to January 25, 2019
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Anthropology, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Humanities, Social Sciences

Call for Papers – Join organised panel: Infrastructures Pasts & Futures

*Ghana Studies Association 2019 Conference* July 10-13, Accra, Ghana

Organised by Pauline Destrée (UCL)

Roads, pipes, cables and wires: in recent years, infrastructure has emerged as a particularly fruitful domain to reassess the role of the state and notions of citizenship, the public good, and visions of development. As the vital networks that sustain the everyday working of urban life, infrastructures provide the foundations for a workable collective publics (Collier et al. 2016) but also reveal the vulnerabilities and fragilities of urban living, prone to breakdown, ruptures, and interruptions (Graham 2010). As political assemblages, they inspire promises of growth, prosperity and modernity (Anand, Gupta and Appel 2018), yet also nurture feelings of abandonment and resentment. This panel will explore these contradictory tendencies through ethnographic and historical explorations of infrastructure and the state in Ghana.

In Ghana, infrastructure has played a historic role in creating expectations of delivery, belonging and citizenship. Kwame Nkrumah’s vision of decolonisation and technological grandeur through the Akosombo Dam put Ghana at the centre of political and technological innovation on the continent. Today, off-grid solar power, waste-to-energy plants, and mobile-based apps for healthcare and agriculture are hailed as “leapfrogging” developments that bypass established patterns of dependencies and re-imagine an alternative infrastructural future. Meanwhile, new financial models for the operation and maintenance of infrastructures such as the rise of PPPs (public-private partnerships) prompt us to reconsider new configurations of the state and its historical mandate of delivery.

This panel welcomes papers that explore the legacies, presents and possible futures of infrastructure (conceived broadly as transport, energy, ICT, waste and water systems) in Ghana. Papers that address the changing role of the state through infrastructural projects are particularly welcome.

If interested, please send an abstract (250 words) to Pauline Destrée ( by January 25. More details on the conference can be found here:



Contact Info: 

Pauline Destrée (UCL)