POSTPONEMENT: International Interdisciplinary Conference on Repatriation in Africa, the African Diaspora and other Global Contexts: Histories, Practices, Understandings and Constructions

De-Valera Botchway's picture
Call for Papers
April 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Black History / Studies, Humanities, Jewish History / Studies, World History / Studies

Conference Postponed and Call for Papers Deadline Extended: “Repatriation in Africa, the African Diaspora and other Global Contexts: Histories, Practices, Understandings and Constructions”

Dear Colleagues,
Due to the persistent spread and impact of COVID-19 across the world, we, the Department of History, University of Cape Coast want, to update you with important news and information regarding the international conference on Repatriation.

The current COVID-19 pandemic crisis has disrupted many academic calendars and plans. The Department of History, University of Cape Coast, has monitored developments and ensuing policies both nationally and internationally. The information gathered so far about travel restrictions, social distancing and cuts in travel funds, informs us that many prospective scholars will not be able to attend our International Interdisciplinary Conference on Repatriation in Africa, the African Diaspora and other Global Contexts: Histories, Practices, Understandings and Constructions planned for 30 July – 1 August, 2020.  Taking into account the uncertainties involved and immediate need to remain cautious and promote safe living in these trying times, we have postponed the conference to mid April 2021. The April 2021 conference will still be hosted by the Department of History, University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Please note that the deadline of 15 April 2020 for the submission of abstracts is extended until further notice.

Below are datails of the conference.


This international interdisciplinary conference will be held in Mid April 2021 at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, West Africa. The University is located in the historic city of Cape Coast, from where many persons of African descent were sent into the African diaspora through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and where many persons of African descent in the diaspora draw inspiration from to repatriate to Africa. The conference aims to bring scholars, students, diplomats, policy makers and opinion holders together to problematise repatriation in its broadest meaning in terms of how repatriation is conceptualised, rationalised, philosophised and practised in African and global historical and contemporary contexts. Focus will be on inter- and intra-African continental and the African diasporan cases. In addition, discussions and case studies about repatriation ideas, praxes, movements, histories, memories, understandings and constructions in different geographical, demographic and cultural places in other global contexts will also be welcomed and discussed to allow a holistic appreciation and comparative analysis of the ontology, teleology, practice and history of repatriation. We hope that the conference will allow participants to explore questions like: How do we rationalise and understand repatriation, in the contexts of globalisation, cosmopolitanism, and the cosmopolitan’s existence and experience? How does repatriation support different degrees of nationalism, and what advantages and disadvantages does this offer? Who is eligible to repatriate, and who and what are the determiners of such eligibility? What contributions have African and non-African governments and diplomatic missions made to the making and understanding of repatriation? How can repatriation be imagined and rationalised as movements and migration of ideas?

Within the contexts of African history and contemporary discourse, repatriation has been a matter of great importance in the policies and discussions of leaders and governments of African countries. For example, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana supported the idea of repatriation of people of African descent to Ghana and other parts of Africa. Consequently, some persons of African descent, such as W.E.B. DuBois and George Padmore, repatriated to Accra, Ghana, in the early years of Ghana’s independence. Many more persons have continued to repatriate to Africa. The idea of repatriation has made some people to migrate from places where they deem as not “home” to others where they see as home. For persons of African descent who have been domiciled in the African diaspora in the Americas, Europe and Asia, as a result of forced migration through the work of the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, colonialism, and voluntary migration, repatriation has been a matter of great discussion and consideration. The African Union has also deemed the African diaspora as its Sixth Region and encourages repatriation of African Diasporans to Africa. This stance taken by the continental body on the diaspora and the issue of reparation is significant.

Recently in September 2018, the Ghana government declared 2019 as the Year of Return for the descendants of enslaved Africans in the USA and, by extension, other parts of the African diaspora. As we all know, the Trans-Saharan Slave Trade and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade were very instrumental in the construction of the African diaspora. Since the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the nineteenth century, a vast literature on the subject has acknowledged the unprecedented movement of Africans from the continent who presumably lost all linkages to the homeland. Colonial regimes also moved Africans into the diaspora and geographically dislocated individuals and many ethnic groups even on the continent. However, there is a vast body of literature that avers that the slave trades and slavery did not totally sever social, cultural, economic, and political linkages of the African continent with the diaspora. More recently, scholars have shown increased interest in the intensified longing for the return of Africans in the diaspora to their place of origin. While this discourse is certainly not new, the centrality it has taken in current African development and policy debates suggests the growing importance of the African diaspora in the development of the continent. Shifting the focus from the usual discourse of slavery and the slave trade, this conference seeks to stimulate academic discourse on the growing interest in the history, politics and policies around repatriation in Africa and the African diaspora. In order to expand the discussion to facilitate further understanding of repatriation, the conference will also be interested in engaging with issues of repatriation as they have been rationalised, philosophised, politicised, constructed, and practised in the history and contemporary period of other global demographic, political and geographic contexts.  In this sense, repatriation may be considered to relate to the idea of returning people to their ‘homeland’. Repatriation could also be firmly conceptualised as a political act, involving the remaking of citizenship and nationals. Apart from being conceived as the moving of human bodies, repatriation can also be imagined and understood as a movement of ideas and inanimate objects. Repatriation, with its focus on the return of nationals to their historical homeland, making citizens, and migrating and movement of ideas, may engender a more nuanced exploration of it within the discourse in and about diaspora affairs and migration and identity creation.

Noteworthy, an interesting burgeoning development in recent discourse on repatriation is the shift towards intercultural collaboration, dialogue and reconciliation between home and the diaspora. Nevertheless, there is still a strong tendency to see repatriation as involving the re-linking of the diaspora to forms of citizenship and identity through physical return to their country of origin. The link made between the exiles and a physical location encourages the idea of return as a means of recovering a ‘home’. Therefore, repatriation is more than just returning to country of origin; it is a return to a home or a community. While the country of origin is simply a geopolitical concept – a physical place made up of land, buildings, institutions, and public spaces – the home to return to is more than a territorial space that is associated with a political entity. This leads immediately to questions about the concepts of home, identity, community and appropriation of space and territory. The modern discourse on home, exile and homecoming has proliferated among cultural anthropologists, geographers, architects as well as cultural historians and literary experts. Understanding the key to repatriation to be a return to citizenship – rather than a return to physical territory – opens up the possibility of disassociating repatriation from return.

The idea of return appears to idealise the nostalgia for home. But how far the concept of home overlaps with those of the diaspora themselves is seldom interrogated. In short, what is the relationship between the image of return and home for policy makers and the actual diaspora experience? What role(s) do(es) time and memory play within this idealisation in terms of how the diasporas conceive of their country of origin? It will also be interesting to understand how return will affect the economies, politics, and social dynamics of homeland. Whiles highlighting areas of the conceptual and analytical entry points which may give some framework for analysing repatriation, we recognise that it is impossible to describe the full range of ideas and themes related with the concept of repatriation. However, by suggesting some theoretical spaces within which to locate our presentations, we wish to give a picture of the cross-disciplinary dialogue we hope to promote. It must be mentioned that it is the intention of the organisers of the conference to peer review the papers that will be presented and publish a volume with a reputable international academic publisher or journal. We are, therefore, inviting paper proposals from a broad spectrum of humanities and social sciences, including African Studies, Jewish Studies, Chinese Studies, Global Studies, Anthropology, Diplomacy, Economics, Geography, International Relations, History, Literature, Political Science and Sociology.




  • Repatriation: Reality or Fleeting Illusion?
  • The African Union and Repatriation
  • The Jewish Diaspora and Repatriation
  • The Chinese Diaspora and Repatriation
  • The Japanese Diaspora and Repatriation
  • The Indian Diaspora and Repatriation
  • The World Wars and Repatriation
  • The Academy and Repatriation
  • Revisiting the History and Idea of Black Zionism
  • Revisiting the Pioneering Repatriation Efforts in the USA, e.g., Chief Alfred Sam’s Efforts
  • Black Lives Matter Movement and Repatriation
  • Female Architects of Repatriation
  • African Civilisation Society and Repatriation
  • African Repatriation within Africa
  • Repatriation of Looted Cultural Items
  • The American Colonisation Society and Repatriation
  • Diplomatic Missions and Repatriation
  • Repatriates and their Stories and Experiences
  • Rastafari and Repatriation
  • The Trans-Saharan Slave Trade, the African Diaspora in the Arabic World and Repatriation
  • Repatriation and the African Diaspora in Asia
  • Repatriated Communities in Africa
  • Popular Culture and Repatriation
  • Repatriation Experiments in History
  • Repatriation and Trans-nationalism
  • Kwame Nkrumah and Repatriation
  • Cosmopolitanism and Repatriation
  • Political Exiles and Repatriation
  • Marcus Garvey, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Repatriation
  • Reconciling the Sixth Region of the African Union and Repatriation
  • W.E.B. DuBois and Repatriation
  • Music, e.g., Reggae and Hiphop, and Repatriation
  • Repatriation: Brain Drain or Brain Gain?
  • Repatriation as Movement of Ideas
  • Repatriation vs Reparation
  • Repatriation and Exilic Religious and Spirituality Movements
  • Ships as Vehicles of Repatriation
  • Social Media and Virtual Repatriation
  • Black Hebrews, Israel and Repatriation to Africa
  • Repatriation of Dislocated Ethnic Groups in Africa
  • Apartheid, Ethnic Displacement in South Africa and Repatriation
  • Roots Tourism and Repatriation
  • Slave Dungeons, “Castles” and Forts and Repatriation
  • Repatriation vs Migration
  • Slavery and the Slave Trade
  • Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives
  • Diaspora
  • Ghana, Home-coming and the Year of Return Initiative
  • Memory, Time and Remembrance
  • Citizenship, Identity and Belonging
  • Repatriation and Pan-Africanism
  • Black Nationalism and Repatriation
  • Appropriation of Space and Territory
  • Policy Challenges of the New Diasporas
  • Repatriation and Reconstruction
  • Repatriation and Remittances
  • Socio-Economic Impacts of Repatriation on Africa




  • Students based in Ghana - 100 Ghana Cedis
  • Faculty/scholars based in Ghana - 200 Ghana Cedis
  • Students based in other African countries 70 dollars
  • Faculty/scholars based in other African countries 150 dollars
  • Non-Africa-based students – 100 dollars
  • Non-Africa-based faculty/scholars - 250 dollars




Name: Faculty of Arts, U.C.C. 


Bank: Ghana Commercial Bank, Cape Coast Branch, Ghana 


Account Number:  3021130001040  


Swift Code to the Bank Account: GHC BGH AC.

Checks/cheques should be made to: “Conference Fee to Department of History Repatriation Conference.”


N.B. Kindly scan the receipt of the payment of your registration fee and email it to the three contact persons of the organising committee whose email addresses have been provided below.


We will be happy to respond to any questions you may have. You may call us at +233-244925140, +233-542361252 or +233-242824570.


SUBMISSION DEADLINES: Abstracts of approximately 400 words should be submitted. For panel submissions, submit a 200-word panel abstract and a 400-word abstracts for each individual presentation. Acceptance of abstracts will be made known by February 30, 2021.


CONTACTS: Please, send an abstract of your proposed topic, institutional affiliation, and contact information to the following:


· Prof. De-Valera N.Y.M. Botchway,

(Head, Department of History)

 Email: and  


· Dr. Joseph Kachim,

(Member of Organising Committee, Department of History)



For any questions, please email us at and



Contact Info: 

· Prof. De-Valera N.Y.M. Botchway,

(Head, Department of History)



· Dr. Joseph Kachim,

(Member of Organising Committee, Department of History)