News: Call for Panels now open
Please note that for technical reasons we had to adjust the timeline.
The Call circulates from 1 June 2016.The deadline for submission is 18
August 2016. Please find the link to the submission form in the section
Call for Panels
Africa - Urban Africans: New encounters of the rural and the urban
At 3.5% Africa has the highest urbanization rate in the whole world. The
potential effects of these staggering growth rates are relevant for all
Africans, both in the urban as well as in the rural areas. By 2040 the
continent’s cities are expected to have to accommodate 79 Million
additional inhabitants. Between 2040 and 2050 the figure will rise to a
staggering 84 Million. The latest UN-Habitat report forecasts that by
2025 Africa’s urban population will outstrip that of Europe and Latin
America together. No wonder that a growing number of researchers,
institutions and governments are paying more and more attention to
urbanization in Africa. This growing interest focuses on whether rapid
urbanization will overwhelm African governments and societies or whether
it reflects the increasing importance of the middle classes, a factor
which is held by many to account for Africa’s positive economic
performance of late.
African urbanization trends raise several issues that are of interest to
scholars. These range from politics (what does the growing importance of
city dwellers mean to the character of politics?), through economics
(will urbanization undermine or foster efforts at overcoming
inequalities?), all the way to social (e.g. are African social relations
changing in any significant way as a result of these trends? How do
Africans live their cities?) and cultural issues (e.g. will urban life
styles dominate the rural? How will the rural and the urban relate to
each other in the future?).
The key issue, however, is how urbanization processes in Africa
transform conventional objects of African Studies and how do scholars of
Africa gear up to face such changes? This is the question which the
Centre for African Studies at the University of Basel (CASB) in
Switzerland wishes to invite scholars of Africa to engage with in a more
conscious and systematic manner. While the urban will be prominent, the
proposed conference theme will also look into the entanglements of the
rural with the urban, especially with a view to addressing an implicit
assumption underlying the study of Africa and which concerns the
supposed rural ‘nature’ of the continent as well as the constitutive
nature of the tension between tradition and modernity.
While over the past few decades a self-critical attitude within many
disciplines has led to a weakening of these assumptions, the urban
continues arguably to be seen as the exception or, at any rate, as
analytically less consequential than the rural. ECAS 2017 “Urban Africa
– Urban Africans” will, therefore, be an occasion for rethinking African
Studies, but also for exploring and deepening research avenues that many
researchers working on urban and rural issues have taken up over recent
years. There is a critical mass to be harnessed in the effort to push
the frontiers of critical European knowledge production on Africa.
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The conveners call for the submission of panel proposals addressing the
conference theme Urban Africa - Urban
Africans. New encounters of the urban and the rural
explicitly open and sensitive to proposals focusing the rural. Africa
may be becoming urban but it will remain a rural continent for a long
time. Urbanization has an impact on the nature of the rural much in the
same way the character of the rural shapes urban dynamics in particular
ways. It will be of crucial importance to explore rural-urban
entanglements on the continent and encourage researchers with a strong
research record in rural Africa to bring their expertise to bear on how
the changing face of the continent is impacting their own object.
Propositions addressing other themes and emerging issues in particular
are equally welcome.
The call for panels will be circulated from 1 June 2016. The time frame
for the submission of panel propositions via the online form available
extends from 1 June 2016 to 18 August 2016. All panel proposals must be
made via this form. You will be asked to provide your contact details,
institutional affiliation and current position, the title of your panel,
a short abstract of no more than 300 characters (including spaces) and a
long abstract of no more than 250 words. The main conference language
being English, this information should be submitted in either English or
Panels will last an hour and a half and will include a maximum of 5
participants, including the panel convener and/or discussant. Panels are
required to be open for paper proposals through the website: panels
shall not be organized as 'closed' sessions. Each participant shall
present one paper only but may be involved as convener of a further
panel, plenary session or roundtable, or be involved as discussant in
one of these (i.e. one additional role).
On submission of the proposal, the proposing convener (but not the
co-conveners) will receive an automated email confirming receipt. In
case you do not confirm this receipt please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Proposals will be marked as pending until the Scientific Committee's
decisions are communicated in September 2016.
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The Centre for
African Studies Basel
is a coordinated research network at the University of
including further institutions such as the Basler Afrika Bibliographien
or the Swiss Tropic
and Public Health Institute
. It promotes Africa-related teaching
at the university and offers MA and PhD programmes in African Studies as
well as an advanced studies Certificate in African Affairs. With its
joint research theme Living the City
the Centre has been at the forefront of research on urban Africa.
Research under this theme is promoted along five axes of research:
Public Health and Social Life; Media and Imagination; Knowledge
Production and Transfer; Governance and Civil Society; Environment and
Development. These axes also inform the teaching activities of the
Centre. The Centre today constitutes a solid framework within which
numerous post-doc researchers as well as doctoral and MA students have
been engaging with urban issues. This has led to the founding of a new
Masterprogramme for Critical Urbanism in cooperation with the University
of Cape Town.
Society for African Studies
(SSAS) aims at advancing research on
Africa, including the organization of conferences to discuss questions
of African lifestyles and other aspects of African societies and
cultures. Contributing to the circulation of relevant information, the
SSAS understands itself as platform for synergies and collaboration
between universities and research institutions. It strives to enhance
the visibility and the institutionalization of African Studies in
Switzerland. Founded in 1974, the SSAS is based on the model of Area
Studies. With this view it offers opportunities to connect researchers
and the interested public in a theme-oriented and multidisciplinary
exchange. Alternating with thematic conferences, the biannual „Swiss
Researching Africa Days” promote the exchange among researchers at
different stages of their careers. The SSAS is a member of the Swiss
Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The organising committee is led by Till
of the Centre for African Studies Basel.
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The town of Basel is centrally located and boasts very good
connections by air and rail.
there by air
The trinational Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse (BSL) has a convenient
size and offers short check-in times. A direct bus shuttle leaving
every ten minutes takes you in 20 minutes to the city centre. The
airport boasts more than 90 direct flights within Europe and beyond
and is one of the hubs of the low cost carrier EasyJet. It is well
connected to the large international hubs (Amsterdam, Brussels,
Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Vienna). However, a direct rail
service (75 minutes travel time) leaving every hour connects Basel to
Switzerland's main international airport in Zurich (ZRH).
Getting there by train
Basel is an important railway hub and offers excellent connections to
many important European cities (including hi-speed and night trains).
The two stations are conveniently located in the heart of the city (10
minutes to the conference venue).
The Kollegienhaus built in 1939 is the main building of the
University of Basel and is situated in the heart of the town. It can
be reached within ten minutes from the train stations or within 25
minutes from the airport. Dozens of restaurants can be found in the
An early booking arrangement will be provided via the Basel Tourism Office.