Africa and Her Diasporas: Historical and Contemporary - Conference Panel

Arno Sonderegger's picture
Call for Papers
November 15, 2019
Russian Federation
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Atlantic History / Studies, Black History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, World History / Studies


Destinies of Africa in the Modern World

15th International African Studies Conference

(Moscow, May 26-29, 2020)

Call for Papers 

SECTION III. History and Anthropology


Africa and Her Diasporas: Historical and Contemporary



Tunde Adeleke (Iowa State University, Ames, USA); e-mail:

Arno Sonderegger (University of Vienna, Austria); e-mail:


In 2006 the Africa Union designated the Diaspora the “Sixth region” of Africa. This region consists of “people of African origins… outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality… willing to contribute to the development of the continent...” This designation within the frame of official politics, as the AU is the Pan-African representative body of African state governments, gives pronounced credentials to a phenomenon with a long and startling history. Though the declaration marked the official incorporation of the Diaspora into Africa, “the ties that bind” (Magubane) the two date in origin to the Atlantic Slave Trade, to transcontinental commerce, to the rise of capitalist economies, seaborne empires and colonies in different parts of the world. Since enslavement in the New World Africans and Diasporans have felt compelled to forge and strengthen a relationship for mutual uplift. A century ago this imperative birthed the Pan-African movement that advanced the course of decolonization in Africa as well as the struggles for civil, political rights and freedoms in the Diaspora.

If there are such “ties that bind” Africa and her Diasporas, it will be equally crucial to look out for what Anthony Appiah recently called “the lies that bind”. How do questions of creed (religion), country (nation and nationalism), color (race and racism), class and culture intersect with Pan-African understandings and practices? Where, when and how do they either enforce or contradict them? Furthermore, despite shared history and challenges, there are distinct and diverse experiences in Africa (with her rich and varied historical experiences, social and cultural traditions, political understandings and economical practices) and among Diasporans which complicate any attempts to superimpose homogeneous cultural and experiential paradigm.

Today, the very complexity of the Diaspora itself is evident – and more and more acknowledged as the phenomenon, through increasing mobility and patterns of migration around the globe, expands and multiplies. Given this reality, some now question the utility of maintaining a close relationship between Africans and Diasporans who are becoming much more differentiated from Africa, and challenged to balance between the demands of their new nationalities and hybridized identities and the pull of original homeland loyalties.

This panel seeks to bring together scholars of different disciplines to interrogate the historical and contemporary dimensions of this complex and, some would argue, problematic Africa-Diasporas relationships. What are some of the challenges to a strong Africa-Diaspora nexus? How best can Africa continue to help advance Diaspora causes and vice versa? How has the relationship of Africa and her Diasporas addressed shared political, economic and cultural challenges in the modern period? How have Africans and Diasporans responded to each other’s challenges and predicaments in the colonial and post-colonial eras? How best can Diasporans continue to assist Africa in navigating the complex challenges of post-colonialism? How effectively can both mobilize resources (material and intellectual) for developing stronger ties and relationship? What strategies, if any, exists for redefining and reshaping Africa-Diasporas relationship which, while accounting for growing differentiation and complexities, identifies areas of productive collaboration? How can the Africa Union and the Diasporas be truly transformative and effective in advancing each other’s interests today?


The panel welcomes proposals on these and other related themes (including policy oriented) that probe the historical and contemporary relationship between Africa and her growing and expanding Diasporas.

The deadline for paper proposals (in the form of abstracts within 300 words in English) is November 15, 2019. The proposals should be sent directly to both panel conveners indicated above.






Dear Colleagues,


On May 26-29, 2020 in Moscow the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in co-operation with the Research Council for the Problems of African Countries, holds the 15th African Studies Conference titled Destinies of Africa in the Modern World. The Conference main events will take place on the premises of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The working languages are Russian and English.


During the Conference, each panel will work for one day and will have one or two time slots, with no more than six papers in each (that is, no panel will exceed twelve papers).


The Organizing Committee have considered all the panel proposals received by it. The list of accepted proposals can be found below. The deadline for paper proposals (in the form of abstracts within 300 words in Russian or English) is November 15, 2019. The proposals should be sent directly to the respective panel convener(s) who is (are) to inform the applicant about his (her) application's fortune by December 1, 2019 – the date by which the panel conveners are to submit their compiled panels to the Organizing Committee.


The information to be submitted alongside with the paper abstract includes full name, institutional affiliation, full mail and e-mail addresses, telephone number.


In the case the proposal is accepted and you need a Russian entry visa, the Organizing Committee will contact you with regards to your visa application support at a Russian Consulate or Embassy in the beginning of the year 2020.


The conference registration fee in Russian rubles, equivalent to $150 ($75 in rubles for students and for citizens of African states residing in Africa, except South Africa), is to be paid in cash onsite upon arrival. The Conference participants working for the Institute for African Studies official partners are waved from registration fee. (For the list of the Institute for African Studies official partners please, visit the page “Cooperation” on the Institute’s website at the address No other participant can be waved from registration fee.


The Organizing Committee can assist in booking accommodation, but independent reservation is encouraged. Please note that early hotel reservation in strongly recommended, as Moscow hotels and hostels may be full any season. Besides, and other internationally recognized hotel and hostel search and booking websites, you may try specifically Moscow websites and


Unfortunately, the Conference Organizing Committee has no means to support financially any Conference participant.


All the correspondence, other than related to paper abstracts submission and acceptance, should be sent by e-mail for the Conference Organizing Committee, to the attention of Mrs. Natalia Bondar, Head, Center of Information and International Relations, Institute for African Studies, to the address The Organizing Committee telephone number is + 7 495 690 2752.


The Organizing Committee would appreciate your familiarizing the members of your research/teaching unit, as well as all interested colleagues, with the present Announcement.




Contact Info: 

Panel Convenors:

Tunde Adeleke (Iowa State University, Ames, USA); e-mail:


Arno Sonderegger (University of Vienna, Austria); e-mail: