CFP: Rethinking Ecological, Social, and Economic Futurities of the Horn of Africa

Madeline Bass's picture
Call for Papers
April 15, 2022
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Social Sciences, Humanities, Area Studies, Political History / Studies

Network of Oromo Studies

6th Annual Conference:

Conference Theme: 

Rethinking Ecological, Social, and Economic Futurities of the Horn of Africa

May 28 & 29, 2022 (via Zoom)


The peoples, nations, and nation-states of the Horn of Africa have rich cultural practices, complex relationships with land, ecosystems, and intricate kinship systems that stretch from Somalia and Northern Kenya, through Ethiopia, Djibouti and up across Eritrea. Cultural practices, institutions, and geographic locations from peoples across the Horn have been recognized by UNESCO, and celebrated across the diaspora. An example is the Oromo and the power of women in the Siinqee and Gadda systems, and the maintenance of these systems across changing political, economic, and ecological contexts. These narratives have not been given full attention in scholarship of the Horn. Instead, the focus has overwhelmingly been on the excess of conflicts and crises faced in the region, as widespread famine, increasing displacement, high rates of FGM and child marriage, climate disasters, and the violent conflict that has erupted in Northern Ethiopia have come to dominate the conversation. 

With all  these intersecting contextual aspects, this conference uses the idea of future prospects or “futurities'' to think through some of the major issues facing the Horn of Africa today and imagine possibilities for the future. The conference hopes to engage with the Horn’s future from many different dimensions, including conversations around nations and state building processes, and more local issues. In line with the conference theme, “Rethinking ecological, social, and economic futurities” we highly appreciate papers that focus on, but are not limited to the following four sections:



  1. What would an ecologically sustainable future look like in the Horn? 
  2. How are issues like climate change, natural disasters, Indigenous land use, and eco-sovereignty being addressed across the Horn? 
  • Considering questions such as deforestation, water access, adaptation to drought, etc.



  1. How does the history of the Horn of Africa inform future political outcomes in the region and beyond? 
  2. How do socio-political systems, narratives, and development policies impact the life of people in the Horn?
  • Education, social mobility, public health, conflict, famine,displacement etc.
  • How traditional and legal imperatives could be employed to resolve conflict in the Horn
  • How to reorient the political systems to tolerance and peaceful coexistence 



  1. How might peoples of the Horn build more inclusive communities?
  2. How can the peoples of the Horn of Africa generate more equitable futures for the women of the region? In what ways can women’s rights and roles be rethought and reimagined?
  3. What future prospects and current issues exist for youth in the Horn?
  • Thinking of the elderly, people with disabilities, marginalized ethnic groups, etc.
  • Strategies for applying the indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms of the peoples in the Horn to ingrain stability in the region
  • Women’s rights in general may be considered here (pay gap/ employment, land ownership, etc), as well as more sensitive topics like FGM, child marriage, Intimate Partner Violence
  • Considering current rates of un/employment, participation in development programs, empowerment



  1. How might we critique economic systems and relations across Horn states and peoples in order to create a different economic future?
  2. How are economic production and distribution justified within nation-state building and the perspectives of the Horn?
  3. How can we create beneficial multilateral economic interactions  among Horn nations and international organizations?
    • Consider the role of Horn economies as well as outside organizations and governing bodies like the World Bank, IMF, EU, the USA, etc.
    • Issues like international aid distribution, loans, dependency, etc.


We welcome proposals from experts in all related fields, including natural and social sciences, as well as activists, artists, and community organizers to organize discussion panels of their own in line with the theme. We especially encourage proposals from individuals working and living in the Horn of Africa.

Please send abstracts (500 words) or extended abstracts (3-5 pages) including your name, a selection of keywords, and the conference section or specific question with which your work engages by 15 April 2022 to:


Contact Info: 

Madeline Bass

Member- Network of Oromo Studies Executive Committee

Contact Email: