2020 Conference: Beyond Censorship?

2020 Theme

46th Annual Meeting & Conference

Beyond Censorship?
Literature, Film, Media and Public Discourse

May 27th - June 1st, 2020: Washington D.C.


Censorship, from colonial times until the crumbling of authoritarian regimes in the 1990s, was a threat hovering over the landscape of the first generations of writers, intellectuals, and filmmakers. One could easily argue that censorship constituted itself as an institution of the African imagination. Writers, filmmakers, and public intellectuals who did not conform to authoritarian ideologies spearheaded by the one-party system were treated as suspects, with the unfortunate consequences that such a classification entail. Prison notebooks became almost a rite of passage for writers. Wole Soyinka, Mongo Beti, Nadine Gordimer, Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, Bernard Dadié, Nawalel Saadawi, and many more experienced exile, imprisonment, or other forms of insidious harassment. While we cannot underestimate the current forces of censorship that are hovering over the creative imagination, free speech, and advocacy, we could proclaim that old modalities of censorship are on the retreat, if not outright obsolete. For the 46th Annual meeting of the African Literature Association, we invite creative producers and critics to audit the impact of censorship on Literature, Film, Media and Public Discourse. After the audit, we could address these questions: how did politically motivated forms of censorship reconfigured the work of writers, filmmakers and, the critics? Is it possible to conceive to speak of censorship in the past tense? Are we in the post-censorship era? What are the new manifestations of censorship and does this new environment impact the reshaping of the African imagination?

Themes & Sub-themes:

  • Biographies of Censorship in the African Imagination
  • Prison Notebooks
  • Exiled and Exile Notebooks
  • Censorship in the Colonial Era
  • Censorship in the Apartheid Regime
  • Censorship and the One-Party System
  • Censored Nation
  • Censorship in Other Media
  • Censorship Under the Regime of Digitalization
  • Self-Censorship
  • the Figure of the Censor
  • Censorship and the Military Regimes
  • Writing Censorship: censorship in the creative imagination
  • Battling Censorship: The African Literature Association’s Human Rights and Issues Committee
  • Censorship and the Critic
  • New forces of Censorship

Each ALA member is limited to presenting at no more than two sessions.

Proposal submissions will be accepted beginning in September, 2019. All submissions will be due November 1, 2019. Please check this page for updates.