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Language issues: reconfiguring language use in African studies [initiated by the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies, University of Lagos, with Africa Multiple Centre of Excellence, Bayreuth]
Marieke van Winden (conference organiser) (African Studies Centre Leiden)
Muyiwa Falaiye (University of Lagos)
Anthony Okeregbe (University of Lagos)
Prof. Dr. Muyiwa Falaiye
Prof. Dr. Muyiwa Falaiye
D: Cases of regional and disciplinary specifics


As the vehicle of experiences and ideas, language is a very powerful element in understanding the worldviews of a given society. In African Studies one of the prevalent misconstructions of African worldviews has come from language use. On the one hand the African story has been rendered as a uniform, objectifying tale of the victor, through the theoria of exploration, balkanization and conquest. On the other hand, some reactive attempts at domesticating African Studies have led to the deployment of romanticizing narratives bordering on pseudo-historical and obstinately therapeutic linguistic devices. However, current research endeavours in African Studies have come to the realization that both tendencies have to be interrogated if African Studies is to be stripped of obstructive partisanship inimical to genuine scholarship. Thus, there is need for a reflexive interrogation of language use and linguistic nuances in African Studies, especially as they concern the religion, culture and politics of African peoples and polities. To this end, this panel seeks research presentations that demonstrate the intellectual/academic relevance of reconfiguring the communicative, expressive and descriptive aspects of language use in African Studies from inter/multidisciplinary perspectives. The insistence on the multiform approaches and methods is to reflect the multiple nature of African worldviews as genuinely as possible. Standard presentations should examine the prospect of this reconfiguration from theoretical, ethnographic and hermeneutical approaches, amongst others.