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Future-making activism 
Saskia Jaschek (Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies)
Andrea Behrends (Leipzig University)
Ziga Podgornik-Jakil (European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder))
Remadji Hoinathy
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Anthropology (x) Futures (y)
Philosophikum, S69
Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel explores how activists position themselves in current, globally circulating discourses of African futures and how they are, in turn, shaped by them: their assumptions, ideas, and imaginaries of possible futures – and their practices to achieve their visions.

Long Abstract:

Future visions of Africa are marked by ambiguity. The optimistic “Africa rising” stance, linked to growing economies and a rise of middle classes faces challenges on several levels, not the least through political, environmental or medical crises. Various forms of activism offer important and increasingly visible practices to counteract governmental politics, established gender relations, capitalist economies, neoliberal extractivism or international interventionism with varying potentials and outcomes. In understanding activists as active future-makers (Appadurai 2013), we see them as agents for political transformation and social change. Activism constantly takes on new forms, attracts new actors, creates new links with noticeable but contingent effects.

Recent forms of African activism – insurgencies, vigilantism, social movements, or protest – reflect local contexts and conditions, along with global developments. Rapidly growing digitalization facilitates virtual networks of activist connections. Taking this connectivity into account, we ask: How do global connections impact on activist subjectivities, in relation to local conditions and categorizations of intersectional belonging?

We are interested in the ways activists understand, feel about, and imagine futures and how their positioning towards future possibilities translates into daily activist practice. We want to understand how activist discourses shape subjectivities and vice versa, by looking at movements, their organizing principles and prominent public figures. We also look at the movements’ informal hierarchies, strategizing, negotiating and the power relations surrounding them, shaping visions and frames of action. We invite papers that look at the dynamic relation between globally circulating discourses, power relations and activist positionings and practices regarding future-making.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -