CFP: Northeast Workshop on Southern Africa

Myra Ann Houser's picture
Call for Papers
January 9, 2020 to March 1, 2020
Vermont, United States
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Anthropology, Geography, Political Science, Sociology

This is a call for papers and discussants for the sixteenth North Eastern Workshop on Southern Africa (NEWSA). We encourage scholars from all disciplines who are currently working on southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) to submit proposals. The meeting will be held at the Bishop Booth Conference Center in Burlington, Vermont (USA), October 8-11, 2020. Located on 130 acres of forest with its own secluded beach, the center is an ideal location for scholarly conversation.


NEWSA is organized around intensive discussion of pre-circulated papers. There are also many opportunities for informal conversation about work in progress. Drawing on the successful precedents of the former Southern African Research Program at Yale and the Canadian Research Consortium on Southern Africa, this program is designed to give southern Africanists the opportunity for close and intensive discussion of work across a wide variety of scholarly fields.


We aim to prioritize scholarship, regardless of discipline or topic, that is evidence-based and grounded in analysis of African discourses and concepts, and which elucidates local worldviews and experience.  The program committee encourages submissions from advanced graduate students and junior faculty in particular. We especially encourage participation from African professionals, scholars and graduate students, including those currently based outside the continent. 


There are multiple ways to participate at NEWSA. Participants may: (a) present a paper (b) propose a panel of three-four papers, or (c) serve as a discussant.  Because of the high demand for participation relative to the size of the conference facility, and our desire to maintain the workshop atmosphere, we can only allow attendees who are presenting papers or serving as discussants.


If you wish to give a paper, your proposal should include your name, academic affiliation and status, paper title, and abstract. Your abstract should explain the argument you intend to make, the source of your evidence (e.g., archival, fieldwork, survey), and the contribution your paper makes to understanding significant problems in southern Africa, to furthering conceptual debates, and/or to producing new knowledge in Southern African Studies. NEWSA papers should not be previously published, and will ideally be at a stage of preparation that allows for incorporation of the feedback received during the workshop. The maximum length for the abstract is 500 words.


If you wish to organize your own three- or four-paper panel, your proposal should include all the authors’ names, titles and abstracts for all papers, as well as a brief rationale for how the papers complement each other. The organizers will be happy to negotiate alternative panel formats (such as open discussions of a current issue). We also reserve the right to accept only some papers within a panel. You may choose to include a discussant or leave it to us to provide one.


If you wish to serve as a discussant, your proposal should indicate the areas of southern African studies on which you are most prepared to comment. Once the workshop participants are selected and organized into panels, each panel will be assigned a discussant. Discussants read the pre-circulated papers by the participants in their session and at the conference give a 10 minute constructive criticism/comment on the papers individually and collectively. Discussants also coordinate discussion of the papers amongst those attending the panel.


As an intellectual community, NEWSA recognizes that scholarly interpretation can undergird economic, political and social marginalization.  We also recognize that power exists within scholarly communities, and that some members of our community are marginalized due to sex, gender, race, disability, nationality, and/or institutional position.  We are committed to working against such marginalization, and the programming committee has a mandate to create and prioritize panels that help achieve this goal. 


The deadline for paper and/or panel proposals or to volunteer as a discussant is March 1, 2020. Please send proposals in MSWord or RTF format to (No PDF files please.)


Completed papers, not to exceed 8,000 words, will be due September 7, 2020, so that the papers can be pre-circulated on the conference website ahead of the meeting.



Contact Info: 

Myra Ann Houser

assistant professor of history, Ouachita Baptist University