Coming to Terms With Apartheid: History, Resistance, Legacy

Francis Nesbitt's picture
Call for Papers
May 1, 2020 to May 4, 2020
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, African History / Studies, American History / Studies, Area Studies, Black History / Studies

Type: Conference

Call for Papers

Date: May 1-4, 2020

Location: San Diego State University

Subject Fields

South Africa, Sanctions, Divestment, Disinvestment, Diplomacy and International Relations, Human Rights, Social History, Political History / Studies


The symposium will examine the history and legacy of apartheid from different vantage points including economic, social, diplomatic, intellectual and cultural lenses. In addition to the history of apartheid, we will examine the massive international movement that emerged to resist the violent and systematic discrimination. The anti-apartheid movement was among the first successful transnational social movements in the era of globalization. In its transnational scope and eventual success, it can be compared to the abolitionist movement of the 19th century. What is unique about the anti-apartheid movement is the extent of support it received from individuals, governments and organizations on all continents. Few social movements garner anywhere near the international support mobilized against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The study of the anti-apartheid movement has matured considerably with scholars examining the extremely diverse responses of thousands of ordinary people, NGOs, governments and non-governmental organizations to the worst manifestation of racial discrimination since the Holocaust. Other scholars examine the legacy of apartheid and its impact on the entire southern African region. Scholars are encouraged to discuss apartheid from different perspectives including the roles of ideology (left, nationalist, liberal), labor, cultural and political legacies of the phenomenon. .

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Internal resistance: strikes, boycotts, demonstrations and armed struggle
  • History of the African National Congress, Pan Africanist Congress and other anti-apartheid organization in South Africa
  • Sharpeville Massacre
  • Black Consciousness
  • Soweto
  • Massive Resistance
  • Economic and financial sanctions
  • Sports boycotts
  • Academic boycotts
  • Student movements
  • Divestment
  • Culture and cultural boycotts
  • Disinvestment
  • The role of the Frontline States
  • The role of Cuba and the former Soviet Union
  • The role of the West
  • The role of religious institutions
  • Apartheid and the United Nations
  • Apartheid and the rise of human rights discourse
  • Intellectual complicity
  • Legacy of Apartheid
  • Diaspora and Apartheid

Individual proposals are welcome. Accepted presentations will be attached to panels with similar themes. Each proposal must include a title; the name affiliation and address of the presenter; a phone number and address. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words with a short biography to by December 15.

A mandatory fee of $150 or faculty and $100 for graduate students must be paid immediately after the acceptance of the abstract. The fee includes admission to panels, workshops and special events in addition to breakfast and a light lunch on Saturday and Sunday and a banquet on Saturday night. San Diego State University and the conference do not provide sponsorship of any kind. The presenters are urged to raise funds from their institutions.

Panel proposals of 3-5 members are welcome. They should include the title of the panel; names and positions for the participants; a 250-word rationale; and 200-word abstract from each presenter.

A selection of articles will be published in an anthology edited by the convener and the conference coordinators.

For questions and further information visit the conference website at or contact the conference coordinators: at


Francis Njubi Nesbitt
Associate Professor
Department of Africana Studies
San Diego State University


Anjelica Cook
Student Assistant
Anti-Apartheid Conference
San Diego State University


Contact Info: 

Francis Njubi Nesbitt
Associate Professor
Department of Africana Studies
San Diego State University

Anjelica Cook
Student Assistant
Anti-Apartheid Conference
San Diego State University