York University

Call for proposals closed!





MAY 29 – JUNE 1, 2023

The Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS) extends a special invitation to all researchers and professionals working in the multidisciplinary field of African Studies for its next annual conference to be held at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, May 29 to June 1, 2023, in Toronto, Canada. 

The theme for the 2023 CAAS conference is African reckonings and futures. The conference theme aims to build on the Congress theme of “Reckonings and Re-imaginings” which grapples with profound and potentially existential global challenges, using them as a generative springboard for rethinking how we think, act, and live in the world. The CAAS conference theme continues conversations from past editions, which focused on Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (2022) as well as the concept of Ubuntu (2021), stressing questions around the ‘reckonings’ that we should be discussing in the context of African studies, and thinking through the bases for a re-making of African studies and Afrofuturism. 

For the 2023 CAAS conference, we are particularly enthusiastic to receive contributions around the following subthemes: 

  • Reckoning with a global ecology in crisis: Climate change is perhaps the defining issue of our era — and it is already having systemic and seismic impacts. Africa is especially vulnerable to the ecological disruption of shifting climate patterns, yet the continent is an incubator of long-standing and innovative alternatives for the future. Taking the question of ecology more broadly, we invite papers that tackle the multi-dimensional stakes of living in a climate-change-driven world but also consider broader ways nature and society intersect such as global pandemics, new political partnerships, urban life, cultural production, and more. The key questions to keep in mind are: What are Africa’s lessons for the world? What are the world’s lessons for Africa? Are there African accounts of the Anthropocene?
  • Thinking with and against the grain of African studies: The intellectual project of African studies is increasingly contested. This is testament to its vibrancy as a rich and developed lens to study the continent and its diasporas, but also to the fact that the field’s boundaries are under sustained critique from decolonial movements as well as alternative scholarly currents and ways of knowing. More specifically, what new modes of scholarly engagements and forms of knowledge generation/sharing (open access, open source, etc.) can make for a more just and less extractive study of African societies and issues? Does the road to epistemic justice lie in the abandonment of African studies as currently conceived? How can the field be reimagined?
  • African futures and connections: The discourses that Africa is rising, or that Africa is the future, or that the future is African, are well-entrenched in the worlds of academia, policy, and popular culture. Re-imagining Africa’s place in the world requires giving some specificity to some of these claims: What are new directions in Africa’s transnational connections? How do these link to issues of (in)security, health, mobility and migration, technology and oral performance, visual and literary cultures, and more? What space can we make for uniquely African approaches to re-imagining the ‘African experience’ and the global order?

 While we are particularly keen to receive submissions that address the conference theme (and subthemes) in different ways, multidisciplinary papers from all corners of African studies are most welcome. 

Format of proposals: Proposals for panels should include a title, an overall abstract of 250 words, the name of the chair, as well as the titles and 250-word abstracts of between 3 and 5 papers. Paper proposals should include a title and 250-word abstract. Roundtable proposals should include a title, a 250-word description, and the names of up to six participants including a chair. 

New deadline for submission of proposals: January 12, 2023. 

Conference in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic: The conference is slated to be in-person on the York University campus in Toronto, Canada. However, given the highly uncertain context and health restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be virtual/hybrid participation options. 

Diversity statement: CAAS is committed to equity and diversity and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Africa-based scholars, scholars at all ranks and career stages, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity. CAAS is enriched intellectually, socially and culturally by the presence and participation of people from diverse backgrounds. Students, especially graduate students, are also encouraged to submit abstracts for consideration. In conjunction with CAAS, the Canadian Journal of African Studies (CJAS) is actively seeking to further diversify the journal’s content and operations, both to reflect CAAS’s membership and to engage more closely with knowledge production from the continent at the epicenter of the journal’s focus. The journal remains committed to its mandate to publish scholarship in both English and French.Organizers of conference panels are encouraged to submit proposals for publication of papers as a special issue of CJAS. Details, instructions and examples of previous special issues can be found at https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/rcas20/special-issues.