Call for Submissions: African Languages and Literature Graduate Student Conference

African Languages & Literature logoThe Department of African Languages and Literature is asking for paper submissions for their Graduate Student Seminar, “Mobility, Narrative, and Language.”

The Graduate Student Conference will provide an academic opportunity for new discussions of mobility, narrative, and African languages, and the possible avenues through which we might theorize the relationship between mobility and narrative on the one hand and, on the other, expertise that mobility has brought into the study of African languages.

Pre-colonial Africa has a rich history of movement of both people and goods within and outside cultural boundaries and geographical borders. As a multilingual, multicultural and polytheistic continent, cross-cultural relations and alliances have always been formed through travel and migration. The transatlantic slave trade further expanded African mobility beyond African shores to, and within, the new world and Europe. And over the last 500 years, millions of Africans either moved out of the continent or into the continent for various reasons. African mobility, circum-Atlantic or otherwise, therefore shapes African scholarship and literature, which in turn has fueled imaginations of movement for a host of international thinkers. The richness and variety of African textual accounts of mobility corresponds to the plurality of traditions, geographies, languages, values and identities that make the African continent an open space of intercultural exchange. However, there remains room for further examination of this corpus of texts from an interdisciplinary framework. The conference thus aims to focus particular attention on the influence, nature, and development of migration culture, its literary presentation and tradition, as well as issues of multiculturalism and the relationship between language and verbal, literary, and plastic arts concerned with migratory identity.

The department seeks conference presentations that will address the following question(s): What are new trends that have emerged in the Africanist scholarship in relation to methods and practices that could be adopted, discarded, or vilified, and whether they offer accounts of Africa itself or portray other geographical or human contexts? What are new possibilities for economic stability, for social solidarity, or for political change that these far flung methods and practices help construct or imagine? Proposals will be accepted for presentations on literature, linguistics, African languages, cinema, and popular culture. Thematic areas may include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Identity and mobility
• Journeys to and from the African continent
• Genre and Travel Writing
• Encounters with the Other
• Diaspora Studies
• Popular Culture, and Music Industry
• Language Contacts in Africa
• Critical theories and linguistic analyses
• Transnational spaces, Migrant selves, deracination
• Spatial modes of seeing
• African Languages and Translation
• African Languages, Cinema and the Film Industry
• Theories of place and space
• African Languages, Mass Media and Communication

Presentations should be in English and should not exceed fifteen minutes. Please send your proposal of 250-300 words by email to by August 10, 2014. Proposals should include your presentation title, name, contact information, and institutional/departmental affiliation.