AAA/CASCA 2019 Annual Meeting Vancouver, BC November 20-24 Call for papers (Through the Prism of Popular Culture: Living Extractivisms in the Gulf of Guinea)

Rogers  Orock's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
April 2, 2019
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Anthropology, Cultural History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies
AAA/CASCA 2019 Annual Meeting
Vancouver, BC
November 20-24
 
Call for papers
Through the Prism of Popular Culture: Living Extractivisms in the Gulf of Guinea

 

Conveners:

David Pratten (University of Oxford, Email: david.pratten@sant.ox.ac.uk)

Paul Ugor (Illinois State University, Email: pugor@ilstu.edu)

Rogers Orock (University of the Witwatersrand, Email: Rogers.Orock@wits.ac.za)

 

ABSTRACT

For anthropologists, one of the most powerful ways of “knowing” how lives are defined and lived in “hard places” is by direct, participant observation among the communities we study. But there are certainly other ways of gaining insights into the inner workings of a culture beyond the anthropological lens. How might we study and engage other ways through which these communities see and experience their “hard” lives without references to participant observation? Karin Barber, for example, makes a strong case for the potential of popular cultural forms to provide important understandings about the varied cultures in Africa, arguing that “Art forms do not merely reflect an already-constituted consciousness, giving us a window onto something already fully present. They are themselves important means through which consciousness is articulated and communicated (1987: 04). Barber was pointing to the powerful ways in which popular art forms created by ordinary people have the capacity to pick up the hidden currents or forces that shape how a society and its culture function. It is the surplus meanings embedded in popular cultural forms and what those meanings might tell us about ongoing struggles in Africa that this project aims to explore. In postcolonial Africa, Wale Adebanwi and Ebenezer Obadare (2016:3) have broadly suggested that everyday life is characterized by a ‘crisis of rule.’ How do people understand and represent how such misrule and the multiple forms of resource extractivisms shape their everyday individual and collective lives? We are particularly interested in exploring the ways in which popular arts, as Stuart Hall (1981) suggested, function as a site of struggles in Africa.
 
To address these questions, our panel(s) takes its ethnographic setting or context to be states in the Gulf of Guinea. This is an expansive area covering the north-eastern part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean of West Africa. The area straddles Anglophone, Francophone and Hispanophone countries totalling 15 states (including Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Congo Republic, DR Congo, and Angola). Almost all of these postcolonial African states are mired in interminable and perennial contestations about processes of mineral extraction such as crude oil, diamond, gold, coal, copper, rubber, etc. Focusing essentially on popular cultural forms, that is, cultural texts such as popular music, movies, literary productions, theatre, stories in the mass media, etc., we invite papers that sense, evoke, and critically discuss the multiple practices of cultural critique in these popular genres, especially in relation to extractivisms and a broad sense of catastrophic governance.
 
Beyond the AAA/CASCA conference, we plan to submit an edited book of essays on this project for publication to a reputable academic press such as the University of Indiana Press, Ohio University Press, the Cultural Spaces series of the University of Toronto Press, or the African Articulations series of James Currey press.
 
Interested scholars are invited to submit a short abstract (between 250 and 400 words) plus a short bio by April 2, 2019, to the following email addresses: david.pratten@sant.ox.ac.ukpugor@ilstu.eduRogers.Orock@wits.ac.za
 
 

Important updates for the 2019 Call for Papers process from the AAA/CASCA:

  • The submission deadline is Wednesday, April 10 at 3 pm ET. The site will close promptly at this time, and there are no exceptions.
  • Although the site will close on April 10 at 3:00 pm EDT, the site will NOT allow new submissions to be started after 3:00 pm EDT on April 5. All submissions must be started by April 5 (3 pm ET) and submitted by April 10 (3 pm ET) for review and consideration.
Contact Info: 
Conveners:

David Pratten (University of Oxford, Email: david.pratten@sant.ox.ac.uk

Paul Ugor (Illinois State University, Email: pugor@ilstu.edu)

Rogers Orock (University of the Witwatersrand, Email: Rogers.Orock@wits.ac.za)

 

 

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