Symposium on Gender, Family, and Generations in Africa

Catherine Cymone Fourshey's picture
Call for Papers
September 13, 2019 to September 14, 2019
Pennsylvania, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, African History / Studies, Philosophy, Research and Methodology, Women's & Gender History / Studies



When: September 13-14, 2019


Where: Bucknell University, Pennsylvania USA


What: This symposium convened by Catherine Cymone Fourshey (Bucknell University) and Christine Saidi (Kutztown University) is dedicated to exploring Genders, Families, and Generations (GFG) in Africa and its Diasporas. In collaboration and dialogue with Rhonda M. Gonzales (UTSA) and Oyèrónké Oyěwùmí(SUNY, Stonybrook) we have organized the GFG Symposium to bring together a group of scholars interested in the intersections of these particular subjects both historically over the longue duréeand in the contemporary world. One important aim is to facilitate a dialogue across the various disciplines about the challenges and opportunities in focusing on Gender, Family, and Generations that centers African epistemologies and voices. 


Who: Scholars in all fields of research and practice are invited to submit proposals on eastern, southern, northern, central, western, and the isles of Africa as well as the continents far flung Diasporas. We encourage scholars interested in precolonial Africa and its Diasporas to present at the symposium. So often contemporary Africa is discussed without context of precolonial foundations, and yet the start of colonial rule in Africa occurred less than 150 years ago. We expect the symposium will represent a collection of panels and roundtables that discuss participants’ essays, art work, lesson plans, activist work, or other experimental genres focused on Genders, Families, and/or Generations.

Gender, Family, and Generation have been key themes in Africanist scholarship over the last three-quarters century. Much of the work on gender has, until recently, focused exclusively on women eliding men and masculinities. Much of the work on family has centered kinship through an Anthropological lens. Much of the scholarship on Generation has highlighted male youth and male elders, often excluding other genders from life-stage and authority discussions. While Anthropologists, Economists, Historians, Philosophers, Political Scientists, Sociologists, and Women Studies scholars have examined themes of GFG individually, few have examined these together at their intersections. Over the last three decades, scholars like Ifi Amadiume, Amina Mama, Oyèrónké Oyěwùmí, and Karen Sacks have challenged Africanists to think beyond Gender as the preeminent identity with meaning that supersedes categories like ancestor, elder, friend, grandparent, parent, sibling, and other relational categories. Nkiru Nzegwu’s book Family Matters: Feminist Concepts in African Philosophy of Culture poses questions about balanced societies through issues of family and gender. Nkiru suggests that historical practices and institutions in Igboland (and other parts of Africa) were deemed primitive by the colonial state and yet these very approaches to sexuality, gender, authority, and privilege in precolonial times have become the “hallmarks of sophistication, progress, and tolerance” (FamilyMatters 244) in contemporary former metropole (colonizing) countries. As Nakanyike Musisi points out gender, sexuality, and lineage are mutually entangled realms. The symposium conveners would add that these are also closely linked to generational issues. The intersections of Genders, Families, and Generations – three key themes in Africanist scholarship – along with the persistent push to look beyond Gender as a primary identity with particular meaning and significance for social life and position calls for new questions about what matters in Africa and its Diasporas over time and space. 

This symposium aims to call attention to the precolonial as well as the post-colonial imaginings of Genders, Families, and Generations in their many forms across Africa and its Diasporas. How do ideologies and experiences of gender, family, and generation intersect and impact each other? How do notions of gender, family, and generation get misunderstood?

This symposium will explore GFG across a wide variety of contexts, encouraging a dialogue about what each of these categories means over time, space, and politics. What does it mean to belong to and identify with a particular gender, family, or generation? Which of these categories actually matter to people in their lived experience? How and when do these various identities become mobilized individually, socially, economically, and politically? n


The deadline for submission of proposals is 20 July 2019.  Proposals abstracts should be 200-250 words and include details on title, methodological approaches, and presentation format. Papers can be submitted individually or as a panel or roundtable. 

A decision on all proposals will be made by 1 August 2019.  Accepted proposals will be presented September 13-14, 2019.  Please submit abstracts, preferably in MS Word or pdf format, to Symposium Conveners Drs. C. Cymone Fourshey ( and Chris Saidi ( Queries may be addressed to either symposium convener.

Symposium proposals should analyze some intersection of Gender, Family, and/or Generation. Deep historical work, theoretical work, artistic and creative work, teaching modules, as well as experimental approaches are all welcome. All methodological approaches are welcome. Potential paper topics might include but are not limited to:

•    Building and Eroding Authority, Power, and Privilege; 

•    Colonial Pathologies: Genders, Families, and Generations

•    Family History and Generation;
•    Gender, Family, and Generation as Identity Markers;
•    Matrilineages: Family or Gender?;
•    Public Policies of Gender, Family, and Generation;
•    Biology of Gender, Family, and Generation;
•    Genetics, History, and the intersections of Gender, Family, and Generation;
•    Patriarchy’s impacts on Gender, Family, and Generation;

•    Philosophy of Gender, Generation, and/or Family

•    Women’s Authority and Rights;

•    Gender, Family, and Generation as categories of authority or oppression;

•    Generation as a social category

Contact Info: 

Catherine Cymone Fourshey

Associate Professor of History and International Relations

Acting Directory of Center for Race Ethnicity and Gender (CSREG)

Office: Coleman Hall 63

One Dent Drive Lewisburg, PA 17837


Christine Saidi

Professor of History

Kutztown University


Contact Email: