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Rethinking forms of resistance in Africa: undoing dominant activist practices 
Jeannine-Madeleine Fischer (University of Konstanz)
Mahsun Oti (Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey)
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Friday 26 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

With a view of the African continent, we discuss activist forms as potentially perpetuating aspects of the crisis they seek to overcome. We invite scholars to engage in a “post-activist” critique to rethink how resistant practices themselves might reproduce oppressive mechanisms.

Long Abstract:

Ways of contemporary activism highly resonate with this conference’s notion of „undoing“: dedicated activists seek to undo neo-/colonial structures, persisting and novel forms of oppression, normalized hierarchies, and unequal power relations. Inspired by Bayo Akomolafe’s concept of „post-activism“ or „para-activism“, we ask in this panel how resistant practices of undoing are themselves challenged to be undone. In Akomolafe’s reading, activist forms might perpetuate aspects of the crisis they seek to overcome. Similarly, the action repertoires deployed by activists aiming to bring change may also reproduce the oppressive mechanisms within and among the activist frameworks, which may lead to the failure of the social movements.

We invite scholars to rethink and deconstruct ideas of activism and resistance in their diverse fields, touching on various points: „who“ is the activist subject if we draw on the ideas of transjectivity, territory, entanglement, and atmosphere? How can we revisit the concept of resistance beyond the common us/them distinction and conceive of thick, inconsistent, and contested relationships within activism? How do future, vision, and hope take shape if we undo common ways of thinking about trajectories and progress in wounded postcolonial societies? We want to delve into the cracks, fissures, and in-betweens that Akomolafe invites us to take seriously as spaces of acting, thinking, and feeling together with.

As scholars working on social movements in Africa, we limit our geographical focus to the African continent. We look forward to engaging in rich methodological and conceptual discussions based on fresh empirical research.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 26 July, 2024, -