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57th Annual Meeting Theme Statement
Rethinking Violence, Reconstruction and Reconciliation
November 20 - 23, 2014
Violence has long been at the center of African Studies. We encounter its presence whether we study conflict, poverty or representations of the continent and its diaspora in literature, media, and popular opinion. Africa has seen protracted conflicts as well as creative efforts at reconstruction and reconciliation that offer the wider world models of working through traumatic pasts. Scholars across disciplines have called attention to the importance of understanding violence and the changing nature of conflict as well as the efforts of people, communities and organizations to rebuild civil society, including novel forms of witnessing and memorialization. They have called for the study of forms of conflict generated by extractive industries, non-governmental actors, and neoliberal economic policies. And, crucially, they have raised powerful questions around the study of the structural (silent) violence of poverty, including its relationship to military conflict and to the broader forces shaping the continent.
The 57th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association offers a unique opportunity for scholars across diverse fields to critically examine the locations of violence in Africa’s past, present and future, and the creative responses to these forms and sites of violence, including new opportunities for reconstruction. We look forward to panels exploring the ways in which violence has been conceptualized, from Fanonian ideas of revolutionary resistance to genocide, and the forms of responses these may have generated in and outside the African continent; the emergence of new types and patterns of violence, including terrorism, and their connection to local, regional, and global forces; and to reflect on the narratives and other forms of artistic expression that have emerged from these times and how these may have evolved over the years.
Odile Cazenave, Boston University
Clifton Crais, Emory University
Local Arrangements Committee
Bessie House-Soremekun, Indiana University-Purdue University
Maria Grosz-Ngate, Indiana University