2021 Conference: Beyond Censorship?           

2021 Theme

46th Annual Meeting & Conference

Beyond Censorship? Literature, Film, Media, and Public Discourse

Online, May 26th - 29th, 2021

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 entails. Prison notebooks became almost a rite of passage for writers. Wole Soyinka, Mongo Beti, Nadine Gordimer, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Bernard Dadié, Nawal el Saadawi, Pius Ngandu Nkashama, and many more experienced exile, imprisonment, or other forms of insidious harassment. Musicians and journalists did not enjoy a much better fate: Fela Anikulapo Kuti in Nigeria and Lapiro de Mbanga in Cameroon, to name just a few, experienced various forms of cruel harassment. So was the case for journalist: the Algerian novelist Tahar Djaout was assassinated because of his writings in the press, and the stories of media censorship in postcolonial states remained horrific. While one cannot underestimate the current forces of censorship that are hovering over the creative imagination, free speech, and advocacy, it could be stated that old modalities of censorship are on the retreat, if not outright obsolete. The 46th Annual meeting of the African Literature Association, will focus on an audit the impact of censorship on Literature, Film, Media and Public Discourse. One important question would be to determine how politically motivated censorship has reconfigured the work of writers, journalists, filmmakers and, the critics. Can we talk 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? And especially, beyond aggressive censorship, what the new forms of freedom?

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 and Culture
  • Censorship and the New Social Media
  • Media and Censorship, Then and Now
  • Censorship and Ethnicity
  • 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?

The ALA is no longer accepting proposals for the 2021 conference.


We strongly encourage presenters at the 2021 Annual Conference to submit their papers for the special issue of the Journal of the African Literature Association dedicated to the conference—a call for papers will be included in the final conference program.


Registration Fees

Because the conference is fully virtual this year, we have discounted the approved registration rates by 50% to the amounts below:

Members outside Africa: $100

Members in Africa: $50

Graduate Student Members outside Africa: $50

Graduate Student Members in Africa: $25


Direct all inquiries to: ALAConf2021@gmail.com