Pandemics in African Societies: Dynamics, Exigencies and Responses

Akachi Odoemene's picture
Call for Papers
June 15, 2020
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Anthropology, Public Health, Social History / Studies, Sociology

Peer Reviewed Book Project: Call for Book Chapter Contributions


Pandemics in African Societies: Dynamics, Exigencies and Responses



Prof. Akachi Odoemene, Department of History and International Studies, Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

Prof. Shola Omotola, Department of Political Science, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.


Context and Contribution Guidelines

Many health emergencies have often occurred across both national and continental boundaries, affecting humankind in very extra-ordinary ways. Ranging from the Third (1852–1860) and Sixth (1910-1911) Cholera Pandemics through the eras of the Spanish Influenza (1918-1921) and the still on-going HIV/AIDS pandemic (since 1981) to the Ebola epidemics (2014-2016) and the very recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) (2019-2020), these global health emergencies have often come with diverse symptoms, thus necessitating various kinds of prescription as to how people should respond to them so as to keep well and survive their onslaught on human lives. As would be expected, different societies have reacted to such pandemics in diverse ways owing to their cultural norms, as well as levels of preparedness and awareness. Africa – a region quite distinct from the rest of the world in several remarkable ways, particular in its demographic  structure – has continued to present distinctly unique features and responses to global pandemics, which have transformed people and societies in the continent. Even when forewarned about them, the dynamics, reactions, responses, and impact of such global pandemics have been (and will be) radically different in African societies. This is not only due to its weak healthcare systems and poor infrastructure, but also the perceived cultural attitudes of its peoples – delusional dispositions of disbelief and doubtfulness, hesitancy to heed to 'foreign advice', ignorance and indeed, helplessness in the face of pandemics.


Through this book, we aim to bring together a body of reputable authors and articles that will interrogate and explain, through critical analysis, the implications of global pandemics in African societies. It is planned as a volume with a multi-disciplinary outlook, investigating such global pandemics from historical, sociological, political, economic, anthropological as well as other literary perspectives, presenting fresh and original data on the experiences and reactions in African societies. Interested contributors to the volume are expected to undertake a critical examination and re-examination of the ways, means and approaches by which Africans and their societies respond(ed) to such health emergencies. Authors of individual chapters should interrogate (some of) the following questions:

  1. How have Africans conceived of and interpreted such global explanations of such outbreaks in their societies?
  2. What have been the undercurrents of global pandemics in African societies?
  3. What challenges, constraints and needs have Africans faced in the face of pandemics?
  4. How have the African agency manifested in terms of their reactions and responses to the exigencies of such health emergencies?
  5. How much has adaptation played a role in the processes of Africans’ responses?
  6. What have been the overall impact of such pandemic(s) on Africans and their societies?
  7. What are the perceptions, challenges and needs of African health workers in the context of such epidemics?
  8. As it has been strongly argued that Africa needs society-specific and tailored (pan-African) responses and initiatives to such pandemics, especially in realization of the continent’s local societies as places where globally recommended responses may put people’s livelihood and survival at risk, how best should Africans respond in the face of such global incidents in the future?

Contributors may choose to take up additional questions as they may wish. Though chapters should situate their discourses within particular historical, political, social or economic moment or time period, or draw comparisons between or across distinct pandemic incidents, inter-disciplinary approaches are highly encouraged. Each interested contributor should please submit a 250–300-word abstract, with name, affiliation and contact details as a Microsoft Word attachment to the editor: by 30 May, 2020. Do include “Call for Book Chapters” in the email subject. Contributors of accepted (reviewed) abstracts will be notified by 15 June 2020. Deadline for submission of full chapters (6,000–7,000 words) in Microsoft Word formatis by 31 August 2020. All references should use in-text citation style (author’s last name, year of publication, and page number, where necessary).


The Editors:

Akachi Odoemene (Ph.D. African History, University of Ibadan) is Professor of African History and Head, Department of History and International Studies (2016-date), Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. He is the National Secretary of the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN) and a Research Fellow of the Collaborative Working Group of the African Peacebuilding Network (APN), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), New York, USA (2018-2020). He was also an Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Global Economic Governance Programme (GEG), University College Oxford (2013-2014) and a Neihaus Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School (WWS), Princeton University, USA, (2014-2015). A Hewlett Visiting Scholar at Brown University (2012), he was also a 2009 Fellow of the African Humanities Program (AHP) of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), a 2012-2013 Research Fellow of the African Peacebuilding Network (APN), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), USA, and a 2012-2013 Research Fellow of the South-South Research Grants (the Africa/Asia/Latin America – APISA/CLACSO/CODESRIA Collaborative Program), amongst many others. Professor Odoemene’s research focuses on African Social History, Peace and Conflict Research, African Historiography, Ethnic Studies and Development Studies. He has co-edited books and authored several articles in reputable academic outlets.

Shola Omotola (Ph.D. Political Science, University of Ibadan) is Professor of Political Science and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria, where he has also served as the Director of Research and Development (2017-2019) and Head of the Department of Political Science (2016-2018). He was, in 2017, a Visiting Professor at the Bayreuth Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth, Germany, as well as Research Fellow/Team Leader, the Collaborative Working Group of the African Peacebuilding Network (APN), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), New York, USA (2018-2020). His research interests are in Comparative African Governance and Politics, notably elections and democratisation studies, as well as oil and environmental politics in the Niger Delta, conflict and peacebuilding, identity politics and development studies. He has published extensively on these themes in reputable journals, including his award winning article in African Affairs (Oxford University Press). He has co-authored and/or co-edited five books, including Nigeria’s 2015 General Elections: Continuity and Change in Electoral Democracy, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.


Contact Info: 

Professor Akachi Odoemene

Department of History and International Studies

Federal University Otuoke