Nduka Otiono

Dear conference participants,


On behalf of the Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS), it is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to all scholars and researchers in the multidisciplinary field of African Studies attending our 2023 annual conference. The conference will be held at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences from May 29 to June 1, 2023, in the vibrant city of Toronto, Canada.


With this year’s theme "African Reckonings and Futures," our conference aims to delve into profound global challenges and use them as a catalyst for reimagining our perspectives, actions, and ways of knowing and living in the world. Building upon past discussions on Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Decolonization, and Ubuntu, we seek to explore the 'reckonings' that deserve attention within the context of African studies. Additionally, we will reflect upon the foundations of African studies and Afrofuturism, paving the way for their transformation. Your participation is essential in fostering a rich and diverse dialogue during our conference.

While we plan for an in-person conference at York University, Toronto, we acknowledge the uncertainties that may prevent you from travelling to Toronto. Rest assured that we will do our best to provide virtual and hybrid participation options to accommodate the ever-changing circumstances.


Toronto, with its vibrant culture, diverse communities, and welcoming spirit, offers a perfect backdrop for our conference. We hope you will take the opportunity to network, engage in enriching discussions, forge new friendships with fellow scholars, and explore the attractions of this remarkable city.


I would like to thank profoundly, members of the CAAS conference committee with Dr. Philippe M. Frowd (University of Ottawa), as Conference Chair; Dr Isaac Odoom (Carleton University) and Dr. Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, CAAS Vice President (Queen's University), as co-Review Chairs. We are grateful, too, to members of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of this year’s conference at York University. Among them are the Co-Chairs, Dr. Damilola Adebayo and Dr. Mohamed Sesay; Fanny Teissandier; Chidinma Umahi Odi Nwankwo; Michelle Sarah-Yeboah; Chika Maduakolam, and Rebecca Seward-Langdon. Their commitment and attention to detail enabled us to overcome significant logistical challenges for organizing the conference at York University.


The robust support of Dr. Nicole Haggerty (University of Western Ontario) and CAAS Secretary-Treasurer as well as Audace Gatavu, CAAS Executive Director, enabled us to manage intricate administrative challenges for this conference.


We are indebted to the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences for providing the canopy and coordination for our meeting as part of the Federation’s first post-pandemic in-person Congress. We appreciate the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, through a Connection Grant, and the Canadian Journal of African Studies (CJAS).

We look forward to your active participation and to creating a memorable and intellectually stimulating experience at the 2023 CAAS conference. Together, let us shape African Studies and envision a brighter future for the continent.


Warm regards,


Nduka Otiono, PhD

President, Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS)





Don't miss our Keynote Speaker Toyin Falola 





Toyin Falola is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. His primary research interest focuses on African history since the nineteenth century, with a concentration on Nigeria. He is author and editor of more than one hundred books and has won various awards including the Cecil B. Currey Book Award for Economic Reforms and Modernization in Nigeria. A former president of the African Studies Association, he has been decorated with half a dozen honorary doctorates and Fellowships of the Historical Society of Nigeria and the Nigerian Academy of Letters.


This Keynote investigates several possible futures for Africa. The word "reckonings" suggests a contemplation and evaluation of activities taken in the past and the present, as well as the effects of those actions, while the word "futures" refers to the several prospective paths of growth and improvement for the continent. It examines the various ways the African continent is attempting to meet the difficulties posed by a deteriorating ecological system on a global scale. This Keynote argues that to truly engage with the intricacies of the continent's present and future, African studies must think with and against the grain of traditional approaches to studying the continent.

The current global ecology is investigated in the first section of this study, with specific emphasis on the influence that it has had on the African continent. It highlights the impact of climate change on Africa and its urgent need for creative approaches to ecological difficulties while also calling for exploring the multi-dimensional intersections of nature and society, including global pandemics, new political partnerships, and more. It also turns to Africa's lessons for the world and vice versa, including African accounts of the Anthropocene. The first section closes by emphasizing the need for African scholars and policymakers to develop solutions to ecological problems such as climate change, resource depletion, and environmental degradation.

The second part of the Keynote asserts that to properly appreciate the intricacies of the African continent, African studies need to confront their disciplinary assumptions and engage with diverse points of view. This needs a critical engagement with the colonial history of African studies and a desire and readiness to explore new and unconventional ways of studying the continent.

The third part explores the probable trajectories for Africa and its relationships with the rest of the globe. It contends that the continent can lead in global ecological advancement and sustainability and that its interactions with other regions offer reciprocal benefits and partnership possibilities. In addition, it claims that the continent possesses the potential to be a leader in global ecological innovation and sustainability.

"Africa Reckonings and Futures" necessitates a thorough engagement with the problems and prospects of a global environment that is in crisis. It requires an approach to African studies that is both critical and innovative, one that acknowledges the intricacies of the African continent as well as its connection to the rest of the world.




Youé Lecture: Pan-Africanism & Internationalism: Reckoning with Neglected Links through the Work of Ida Gibbs Hunt  

 W. R. Nadège Compaoré, PhD 

Presented by the Canadian Journal of African Studies


 W. R. Nadège Compaoré is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Toronto. Her work lies at the intersection of IR theory, African politics, global resource politics, gender and race in IR. Her current research encompasses two main streams. The first investigates key dynamics between global resource governance initiatives and claims of sovereignty by states and communities affected by resource extraction in Africa. The second investigates connections between Pan-Africanism and Black Internationalism, and centres the role of pan-Africanist pioneer Ida Gibbs Hunt and her family, including their time in Canada in the 19th century. She is co-editor of New Approaches to the Governance of Natural Resources: Insights from Africa (Palgrave), and her work has been published in journals such as International Studies ReviewInternational Studies Perspectives, Etudes InternationalesWater International, and in various book chapters. Nadège received her PhD in Political Studies from Queen’s University. She is a past board member of the Canadian Association of African Studies, and currently sits on the editorial board of International Studies Review.