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Revolutions in Africa: creativity, subjectivities and political belonging beyond institutional change 
Valerie Haensch (Anthropological Museum Berlin)
Serawit Debele (University of Bayreuth)
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Rama Salla Dieng (University of Edinburgh)
Anthropology (x) Futures (y)
Philosophikum, S73
Friday 2 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

In this panel, we seek to move beyond narratives of institutional failure or success of recent revolutions in Africa. Instead, we ask how revolutionary subjectivities are projected into the future and how revolutions are kept ongoing against counter-forces by attending to creative practices.

Long Abstract:

Popular uprisings in Africa during the last decade have often been organized at the grassroot level by youth, workers, artists, and others who act outside the conventional political space. Using civil disobedience, creative practices of protest and developing political imaginations that shaped revolutionary change, these movements challenged existing arrangements of power and set out to build alternative ways of being and society. However, these revolutionary movements are often seen as having failed with regard to democratic change. Recent debates, such as Elamin (2020) and Zeleke/Davari (2022), invite us to view revolutions as protracted processes that go beyond regime change and include the creation of new ways of live, identities and political belonging which provide huge potentials for future political struggles. Moving beyond conventional political perspectives of power transfer in political institutions, we seek to question the narratives of failure or success by looking at the emergence of political subjectivities through creative practices and everyday resistance. We ask: How do these practices defend and keep the revolutions, their possibilities and imaginations, ongoing against counter-forces? What kind of subjectivities and identities emerge in this process and how are feelings of frustration countered in the ongoing revolutionary process? In which spaces do resistance and creativity occur and what new social spaces are created? We invite co-thinkers to rethink revolutions by attending to experiences and creative practices of resistance that defend revolutions and in turn shape political belonging, subjectivities and social identities.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Friday 2 June, 2023, -