Call for Papers

Human Rights, Literature, and the Visual Arts in Africa and the Diaspora

The 38th Annual Meeting of the African Literature Association

at the historic and beautiful

Adolphus Hotel

Dallas TX

April 11-15, 2012

Keynote Speakers Include

Ama Ata Aidoo, Jean-Pierre Bekolo


Fabien Eboussi Boulaga

The issue of Human Rights has been central to thinking about Africa throughout the modern era, ranging from debates about the legality and ethics of the slave trade to the questions about the rights and status of African immigrants in US and Europe that shape the contemporary political and media landscape.  It is no surprise, therefore, that such questions are also given significant space in African literature, African cinema, African popular music, and other related and non-related cultural media.  But what do we mean when we speak of Human Rights?  Are we asserting a natural and universal equality among all people, regardless of race, class, gender, or geography, or are we perpetuating an Enlightenment-era, universalist doctrine that dictates the terms of relations between Africa and the West?  Moreover, how does the question of Human Rights manifest in literature, cinema, music, the internet, etc. and how do the formal conventions and implied audience of each of these shape and influence the exploration of Human Rights both within that particular medium or genre and in broader debates? 

We invite an exploration of these and similar topics, including, but not limited to:

  • Narrating women’s rights
  • War and conflict
  • Prisoners of conscience
  • Philanthropy and Humanitarianism
  • Human rights as discourse
  • Innocence and guilt
  • Sovereignty and agency
  • Religious rights
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of the press
  • Transgressive sexualities
  • Refugees status
  • Sovereign power and bio-politics in Africa
  • Human Rights in theory and practice
  • Human rights as utopia
  • Africa and Global  justice
  • Colonization and Human rights
  • Religion and Human rights
  • Law and (dis)order in Africa
  • Africa in Third World resistance

Proposals for papers or full panels should be sent to by February 15, 2012.

Proposals for papers should be 1 page and should include name, email address, full mailing address, telephone, country and institutional affiliation. 

Proposals for panels should include a one page summary of the scope and focus of the panel in addition to 1 page summaries for each paper. 

Panel proposals should also include the name, email address, full mailing address, telephone, country and institutional affiliation of each participant, and should designate a panel Chair.

ALA membership dues should be paid in full by December 30, 2011, in order to guarantee full consideration for inclusion in the conference.

*Following ALA tradition, papers and panels on all other aspects of African literature, arts, and film are also considered.





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