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Slums as places of innovations, ingenuity and creativity [initiated by LAM Bordeaux] 
Marieke van Winden (conference organiser) (African Studies Centre Leiden)
Josiane Tantchou (CNRS)
Frédérique Louveau (Gaston Berger University, Saint-Louis)
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E: Transdisciplinary debates
Start time:
3 February, 2021 at
Time zone: Europe/Amsterdam
Session slots:

Long Abstract:

The uncontrolled urbanization of African cities has been highlighted in the literature, and characterized as a highly diverse and ambivalent phenomenon, with aspects that do not fall neatly into global standards (Kovacica, Kaviti, Musangoa et al. 2019). The multiplication of informal settlements and slums has been associated with insecurity, violence, inequalities, sanitation and air pollution, with incidence on communicable, and non-communicable diseases and psychological disorders (Mboumba 2007, Barry 2014, AFD 2015, Fourchard 2018, Ongo Nkoa and Song 2019). Slums seem to be perceived as risky, factors of ill health, and of epidemics and discomfort. This panel adopts a different approach. In line with other authors, we assume that focusing on the adjustment to the so-called global standard obscures subtle ingenuities, and innovation characteristics of daily life (Mavhunga 2014) in contexts of uncertainty and lack of many things. Therefore, it is suggested that slums are also spaces of contestation, ingenuity, innovations and creativity (Louveau 2013, Mbade Sène 2018). We welcome papers based on strong empirical data on how slum dwellers innovate and invent in their daily life to survive, deal with uncertainty, overcome violence and poverty; innovations and creativity in children’s leisure and games; design and architecture to cope with deficient infrastructure and services, recreational activities and artistic practices. As such, this panel is in line with the ambition of this conference to critically address dominant perceptions and biases in the knowledge of Africa, to decolonize the academy by capturing what is happening in the knowledge arena in Africa, knowing Africa from African’s slums.

Accepted papers:

Session 1