2023 Conference: Crossings       

2023 Theme

48th Annual meeting of the African Literature Association

Crossings: Africans Moving In/Across Space and Time

May 24-27: University of Tennessee-Knoxville

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Africans have always been on the move: whether forced into exile like the boy Sundiata and his family in the 13th century; driven by curiosity like his grandson Abubakri II attempting to cross the Atlantic in the 14th century to see what was on the other side; physically and culturally displaced like indigenous peoples on the path of the so-called Great Trek of Dutch-speaking colonists; driven like 21st-century Africans by economic and political turmoil to cross deserts, forests, and turbulent seas in search of better shores; or traveling by choice like Afropolitans navigating metropolitan border points, Africans have rarely stood still.

What are the different types of migration? What are their instigators? What do migrations tell us about ourselves and our societies? How are new migration patterns similar to or different from past ones? What do migrants retain from their places of departure and what do they appropriate from or contribute to their spaces of arrival and settlement?  And how do African literary, artistic, musical, and other forms of cultural production engage with this phenomenon?

Themes and Sub-themes:

  • Intra-continental African migration
  • Migritude
  • Migrant, immigrant, refugee, asylee, exile
  • Citizen time versus refugee time
  • Human rights and forced repatriations
  • Instigators of movement/migration
  • Human-induced vs natural disasters: Slave trade, colonialism/Apartheid, migrant labor systems, climate change, war (including the war in Ukraine), etc.
  • Vehicles of movement/displacement/circulation
  • African presence in pre-Columbian Americas
  • Change/fixity/stability
  • North Africa, Lampedusa, the Mediterranean
  • Liminality
  • Children on the move: Lost boys and girls of Sudan, etc.
  • Refugee/displacement camps
  • Movement as vector/catalyst of anxiety, opportunity, change, growth
  • Risk factors/theory
  • Space and identity
  • Mobility/immobility
  • Migration and/as translation
  • New frontiers of African writing


Submissions for the 2023 conference are no longer being accepted.

For more information, contact the conference committee at: ALA2023conf@gmail.com


Please Note:

If you will need a letter of support for a US entry visa, please contact the conference committee right away.