Call for Abstracts "Relations to Plants as a Heritage From Below in African Cities", African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA 2022), University of Cape Town, South Africa, April 11-16 2022

Emilie Guitard's picture
July 14, 2021 to August 30, 2021
South Africa
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Humanities, Social Sciences, Urban History / Studies

Dear colleagues,

Please find a call for abstracts for the panel "Relations to Plants as a Heritage From Below in African Cities", organised by Saheed Aderinto (Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, United States) and myself, at the next African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) conference at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, April 11-16 2022:

"This double panel aims at gathering researchers in social sciences and humanities reflecting on the knowledge and forms of attachment to plants of the inhabitants of African cities, as part of the urban heritages produced from below and rarely recognised by the local and international institutions.

This double panel is built around INFRAPATRI, an interdisciplinary research programme (2021-2025) focusing on the knowledge and forms of attachment to plants of the inhabitants of Yaoundé (Cameroon), Ibadan (Nigeria), Porto-Novo (Benin Republic) and Dakar (Senegal). It will aim at discussing the first results of the programme by bringing together researchers in the social sciences and humanities working on similar topics in African cities.

The memorial relationships of city dwellers to plants, among other alternative heritage dynamics, are rarely recognised by the institutions (Cousin, Mengin 2011). However since their foundation, African cities have included multiple plants and green spaces (Sheridan and Nyamweru 2007). Today, they are often threatened by urbanisation policies, even if plants have also been recently brought back into fashion in many African cities, under the banner of the ‘sustainable city’ model put forward by international cooperation and development agencies (Myers 2016).

Plants in African cities are also daily used in a variety of ways based on practical or symbolic knowledge (Juhé-Beaulaton, 2009, Bigon and Katz, 2016). Together, these knowledges and uses belong to diverse urban communities based on family, ethnic identity, religion, neighbourhood, profession or political representation (Bondaz 2011, Ernston 2012). They are preserved and transmitted through different channels, at the basis of diverse forms of urban identification (Dorier-Apprill and Gervais-Lambony 2007). This panel will be thus an opportunity to present these plural relationships to plants and to analyse them in relation to past and present institutional attempts to manage urban nature in Africa."


The call is open until 30 August and the submission of the paper proposal (max. 250 words) should be done via this platform:

Participation in the conference will be possible both online and in person.

Thank you in advance for sharing this call with all potentially interested colleagues and for coming back to me with any questions.

Best regards,

Contact Info: 
Emilie Guitard, PhD
Chargée de recherche en Anthropologie/Researcher in Anthropology
CNRS, UMR 8586 PRODIG, Campus Condorcet Aubervilliers-Paris
Contact Email: