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Does (European) African Studies have a future? 
Friederike Lüpke (University of Helsinki)
Vincent Hiribarren (King's College London)
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History (x) Decoloniality & Knowledge Production (y)
Neues Seminargebäude, Seminarraum 26
Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

Is (European) African Studies obsolete, or does it have a future as a critical convivial space and as a place from which African knowledges can be mainstreamed? We invite contributions from different disciplines, continents and countries to imagine the future of field.

Long Abstract:

European African Studies is rightly seen as colonial, anachronistic, or irrelevant. The field is based on the study of an entire continent in a single, albeit interdisciplinary, field. This perspective, that creates the Other through presupposing it as an entity contrasting with Global North societies, is outdated. The Northern dominance in the field reveals inequalities replicating the colonial era. Is it therefore counterproductive to even imagine a future for European African Studies? Or does the field function as a necessary anachronism, as a convivial space (Nyamnjoh 2017) needed for critical self-reflection, the development of true North-South collaborations, and for mainstreaming of knowledges on, from, with the African continent so that a specialist field becomes superfluous in the future?

We address these issues through papers from all disciplines in European African Studies that answer the following questions:

Which theories, epistemologies and methodologies have you discarded, and what have they been replaced with?

Do you still see the need for a special space dedicated to critical knowledge production involving African and non-African universities, and what should it look like?

Which knowledges would you like to mainstream (i.e., being part of general linguistic theories rather than on “African languages”, of history, rather than of “African history”, of social sciences rather than of development studies?

We welcome papers contributing to this discussion from different disciplines, continents and countries, so that the pluriversity (Mbembe 2016) of the field and its futures can be imagined from perspectives that overcome old North-South dichotomies.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -