Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Department of African Studies

ALA Conference 2015: African Futures and Beyond - Visions in Transition

  • When Jun 03, 2014 08:00 to Jun 06, 2014 08:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)
  • Where University of Bayreuth
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ALA  2015: “African Futures and Beyond. Visions in Transition”, June 3-­‐6, 2015, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Colonial fantasies have imagined the African continent as the incarnation of the past, banning it into a “waiting room of history” (Chakrabarty) where it was doomed to eternally lag behind (Western) futures.

 

Those fantasies are conceptualizations that veil other realities and changes
that have always been going on – often being silenced, loudly ignored and violently repressed.

 

Cultural and political movements on the African continent and its diasporas have found varying ways to cope with and resist these colonialist fantasies, imagining Black futures of national as well as global agendas. Increasingly, Black visions of the future have nourished and rewritten Western conceptualizations of Africa as well as of Blackness.

 

Moreover, they keep changing the African continent, its diasporas, as well as the rest of the world. Political changes such as the upheavals of the student protests, e.g. in Senegal, Burkina, Maghreb, the end of apartheid, radical changes, e.g., in Rwanda, and the Arab revolution, generate new discourses and cultural changes.

 

Steadily increasing economic growth, growing cooperation with the Asian network, as well as the rise of new middle classes in many countries—open unexpected perspectives. New approaches in literature and the arts create new intertextualities and epistemologies that also welcome interdisciplinary conversations and connections to enrich ways of understanding the world in the humanities.

 

In recent years, emerging technologies and the digitization of the world keep transgressing
conventional patterns of communication. In all, global entanglements and interactions are
revolutionized, inviting us into a new age.

 

Literature and other cultural means of expression (film, fine arts, performing arts, internet etc.) offer a space that allows us to enter futures thus generated.

 

These conceptualizations of future permit us to imagine the world differently, to
intervene in memories and mold the present. In doing so, fiction in general and AfroFiction in particular conceptualizes futures via narration in order to conjure the futures of our common world in terms of new epistemologies.

Possible thematic foci could be


• Conceptualization of future in literature/film/social media
• Visions of the Future in Africa, its Diasporas and beyond
• Entangled Futures: Africa/n Diasporas and Europe/North America
• Africa/Asia Africa/Americas: a comparative approach of conceptualizations of future


• Genres for/of the future (e.g. Science Fiction, Néo-­‐polar)
• The future of gender and sexuality/ queer futurities
• The future of literary studies in the 21st century
• Utopias, dystopias
• Afrofuturism
• Petro-­‐culture and the energies of modernity: mining and resource conflicts
• The futures of environmental representation and environmental justice:
environmentalisms, climate change adaptation and migrations of disease across species and nations


• Environmental humanities / risk/ apocalypse
• Social models
• Rebellions/revolutions – re-­‐loaded/renewed
• Arab Spring /African Spring
• Social media and genre-­‐crossing: African(-­‐Diasporic) literatures and/in the
Digital Age


• Preemptive literature
• Littérature d’urgence


We invite papers and panels that contribute to the reflection on the conference theme. However, as is traditionally the case with ALA conferences, other explorations of any aspects related to African and Diaspora literatures are also welcome.

To submit proposals, please send abstracts of up to 500 words for individual papers or panels by November 30, 2014 to ala2015@uni-­‐bayreuth.de.

Please make sure to include your name, affiliation, e-­mail and paper title with the abstract.

For panels, the constituent paper proposals must be submitted along with the proposal for the panel.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent beginning late October 2014 but not later than January 15, 2015.


According to ALA policy, all presenters are expected to pay membership dues for the calendar year of the conference (http://www.africanlit.org/membership.htm).

Membership dues are separate from conference registration fees.