This panel looks at networks in rural-urban encounters and the connectivity of spaces, people and ideas. Approaching urban Africa as a triangulation between the rural and diaspora raises theoretical, empirical and methodological questions about migration and transregional networks.
Rapid urbanization continues to change the face of Sub-Saharan Africa. This affects the way scholars ask questions - theoretically, empirically and in terms of epistemology. One major complexity in understanding African urbanity is the role of networks. This panel looks at networks and other social relations in rural-urban encounters and analyses the connectivity of spaces, people and ideas from the stance of both migration and transregional studies. It offers a new approach to thinking about urban Africa, by taking the urban as an element in a triangulation with the rural and the diaspora. Theoretically, how do patterns of mobility affect urbanization and what role does urbanization play in creating and enhancing migration (networks)? Which historic networks are being challenged and reinforced and which entanglements link urban Africans and the diaspora in the 21st century? How do ideas of citizenship link back to mobility between rural, urban and transnational centres? Empirically, how do internet, mobile phones, money transfer possibilities and social media affect social relations and people's life trajectories? What kinds of family arrangements are made across rural, urban and diaspora spheres? Lastly, methodologically, how do urbanization processes in Africa transform conventional research and how do scholars gear up to face these changes? This panel invites submissions from historians, anthropologists and political scientists that are interested in the formation and re-negotiation of networks of people, of places and ideas related to the African continent and its old and new diasporas.