Call for Papers--"From Sensiotics to Mamiwata: Essays in Honor of Henry Drewal

Moyo Okediji's picture
Call for Papers
July 13, 2019 to February 28, 2020
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies



From Sensiotics to Mamiwata:

 Essays in Honor of Henry Drewal


Henry Drewal, one of the most imaginative intellectuals ever to reflect on the subject of African art, has an incomparably wide scholarly span covering Africa and its diasporas in North America, South America, Caribbean, and most recently in India. His career took off in the mid-sixties when, as a Peace Corps member, he apprenticed himself to two Yoruba sculptors in the Egba and Egbado regions of Western Nigeria. The fruit of that apprenticeship includes a definitive book on the subject of Gẹ̀lẹ̀dẹ́ art, and many sculptures that still perform in indigenous Gelede festivals in Nigeria. Since that time, Drewal has distinguished himself as a prolific and perceptive scholar, editor, curator, teacher, conference organizer, mentor and art catalyst who has collaborated with leading writers on African art.


The author of numerous monographs, edited books, exhibition catalogs, videos, essays and art exhibitions, Drewal’s interests cover theory, criticism, connoisseurship, performance art, photography, installations and linguistics. He has trained prominent scholars teaching at several universities and colleges in North America; has produced curators working at several museums and galleries; and has studied, promoted and influenced numerous African and African diaspora artists, ranging from indigenous to contemporary creative spirits including Lamidi Fakeye, Michael Harris, Abdias Nascimento, and Moyo Ogundipe. From the Oyotunji Village in South Carolina to the Afro-Brazilian studios of South America, Drewal has crossed over to the little-studied black diasporas in India to organize workshops with women quilt makers and bring attention to their creative practices. One of the earliest scholars in the field of African art to pay attention to the hand of the individual artist, Drewal has immersed himself in the study of African art from the aesthetic, religious, sociological, and etymological dimensions, from which he has gifted the world reflections on the Mamiwata iconology, Ifa iconography, and sensiotic theorizing, among numerous ideas.


This Call for Papers is an invitation to scholars in all fields of African studies to contribute articles (essays, interviews, reflections, images) on any discipline to a multi-disciplinary book celebrating Drewal’s influence on the scholarship of African art. The deadline for submission of final materials is January 30, 2020, while the provision of titles and abstracts is due on October 30, 2019.


Please email a title and an abstract of no longer than 200 words to Moyo Okediji, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas, Austin, by the October deadline for full considerationThe entire essay should be no longer than 8,000 words, using the Chicago Manual of style. Short contributions are welcome. Images should have permissions to be included. The email address for all submissions is



Contact Info: 

Moyo Okediji, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas, Austin

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