Afropolitanism has generated a great deal of debate and discussion, and many panels on Afropolitanism have been organized at African Literature Association conferences since the first such a panel in 2015. These discussions often point out how Afropolitan concepts can question national and geographical affiliations and dislodge fixed ideas of belonging in the contemporary world. Too often the scholarship focuses on Africans’ connections to the West, a focus that has provoked significant controversies and disagreements.
This panel, sponsored by the Journal of African Cultural Studies, revisits the Afropolitanism debates of the 2015 panel and aims to move the discussion forward by inviting speakers to respond to a particular version of Afropolitan belonging, namely depictions of intracontinental family structures. We invite abstracts that analyze the varied kinship structures that Africans form and re-form while migrating within the continent. In addition to the familiar statements by scholars such as Achille Mbembe who writes of African identities as “always … marked by if not cultural mixing, then at least the interweaving of worlds” (59), we urge participants to consider more recent theories and scholarship. For example, how does Rama Salla Dieng’s theorization of kinship in her edited volume Feminist Parenting: Perspectives from Africa and Beyond (2020) complicate the Afropolitan theories of Mbembe? What can be gained from focusing on families using the feminist and queer lenses developed by Serena Dankwa in her monograph Knowing Women: Same-sex Intimacy, Gender, and Identity in Postcolonial Ghana? Both Dieng and Dankwa investigate different conceptualizations of gender, family and kinship and their work moves forward our understandings of Afropolitanism and its potential to remake the world, by challenging the patriarchal and heteronormative status quo.
We welcome abstracts and proposals for presentations that explore Africa’s cultural diversity within the context of migration, and that pay attention to the representation in film and literature of the ways in which these movements affect families and communities, and shape and re-shape families. We ask participants to reflect on how migration is gendered or queered, and how migration can subvert or dismantle patriarchy.
Proposals do not necessarily have to address Afropolitanism but must include reference to intra-African issues of gender, migration and kinship or family structures. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to Cristovão Nwachukwu at email@example.com by December 1st 11:59 p.m. (EST time).
Dankwa, Serena. 2021. Knowing Women: Same-sex Intimacy, Gender, and Identity in Postcolonial Ghana. Cambridge University Press.
Dieng, Rama Salla. Dieng, Rama Salla. 2020. “A Young Woman’s Voice Doesn’t Break It Grows Firmer”. In Feminist Parenting: Perspectives from Africa and Beyond, edited by R. Salla Dieng and A. O’Reilly. Demeter Press.
Mbembe, Achille. Journal of Contemporary African Art. 2020, vol. 46, pp. 56-61