CfP: International Journal of African Historical Studies, Special Issue: Prophets and Prophecy in Postcolonial Africa

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International Journal of African Historical Studies  

Special Issue: Prophets and Prophecy in Postcolonial Africa 


Guest Editors: 

Dima Hurlbut, Boston University

Andreana Prichard, University of Oklahoma


This is a call for papers for a special issue of the International Journal of African Historical Studies (IJAHS), a peer-reviewed journal published triannually by the African Studies Center at Boston University, on the topic of Prophets and Prophecy in Postcolonial Africa. 


Since the emergence of African studies as a legitimate field of inquiry, historians and anthropologists have produced an impressive body of literature on prophecy in precolonial and colonial Africa. They have written detailed biographies of colonial era-prophets, including Simon Kimbangu, Alice Lakwena, and Enoch Mgijima, and described the connections between prophetic movements, such as the East African Revival, and colonial politics. A comparable body of literature on prophecy, however, does not exist for the postcolonial period, despite the growing prominence of prophets and the gift of prophecy across the African continent in the years since the end of colonial rule. This is due not only to the rapid expansion of Pentecostalism over the past fifty years, but also the reality that many Africans, confronted by civil wars, public health crises, and the inability of neoliberal states to provide basic services and security, have turned towards religion for solutions and remedies to the everyday challenges of postcolonial life. 


The guest editors invite submissions that explore any issue related to prophets and prophecy in postcolonial Sub-Saharan Africa, but some possible topics and questions for contributors to explore include: 


  • The relationship between gender and prophecy
  • Prophecy in a non-Christian context
  • The relationship between prophets/prophecy and the postcolonial state
  • The role of prophets in postcolonial protest or political movements 
  • The diversity of realms in which prophets act and have influence, and the diversity of forms their action takes
  • The changing dynamics within established prophetic movements (e.g., the Kimbanguist Church and the Nazareth Baptist Church)


Authors who are interested in submitting an essay to this special issue should send a 250-word abstract of his/her/their paper, a proposed title, and a CV to the guest editors at and by 1 February 2020. Notification of accepted proposals will occur by 1 March 2020. Completed manuscripts will be due on 1 September 2020. All essays must represent original research based on primary sources, and will go through an anonymous peer review process. 


If you have any questions, please feel free to email the guest editors. For more information about IJAHS, please visit the journal’s website: