Popular Cultures in Africa

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Dates: March 30 - April 1, 2007

Venue: The Texas Union on the University of Texas at Austin Campus

Convener: Dr. Toyin Falola

Coordinator: Tyler Fleming

Conference Administrators:

Roy Doron
Emily Brownell
Kwame Essien
Adam Paddock
Natalie Washington-Weik
Sylvester Gundona
Saheed Aderinto




The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce a three-day conference focusing on the histories, genres, meanings, purposes, and impact of popular cultures in Africa. Popular culture has long served an important function in all facets of life throughout the continent. There is no discounting the fact that popular culture remains a key part of African cultures and societies today. It reflects the creativity of the people and can also serve as a means of propaganda by totalitarian regimes. In the context of past and contemporary developments, we ask the question: what are the meanings, purposes, and influences of popular cultures in the continent?

The aim of this conference is to examine how popular cultures have evolved and contributed to the character of Africa. Among the themes of interest are the following:

-Activism in popular culture
-Popular culture as a means for diasporic or transoceanic conversations
-The future of TV, radio, cinema, or theater in Africa
-HIV/AIDS and popular culture
-Popular culture in urban vs. rural communities
-Jazz and decolonization
-Popular culture creating connections across the African diaspora
-Politics and popular culture
-Religion and popular culture
-TV telling history
-Appropriations of African American images in African popular culture
-Literature and liberation
-Manifestations of resistance and/or anticolonial sentiments in popular culture
-Modes of popular culture
-Western appropriation of African music
-Exile and the arts
-Hip hop in Africa
-Popular culture and the antiapartheid struggle
-Western images of Africa
-The future of popular culture

Conference participants will be drawn from various countries. Graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers. Since popular culture cuts across so many disciplines, we welcome participants from the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The conference will provide time for scholars from various disciplines and geographical locations to interact, exchange ideas, and receive feedback. Submitted papers will be assigned to particular panels according to to similarities in theme, topic, discipline, or geographical location. Additionally, selected papers will be published in a book form.

The deadline for submitting paper proposals is December 15, 2006. Proposals should include a 250-word abstract and title, as well as the author's name, address, telephone number, email address, and institutional affiliation. Please submit all abstracts to:

Conference Convener, Toyin Falola (toyin.falola@mail.utexas.edu) or
Conference Coordinator, Tyler Fleming (tylerfleming@mail.utexas.edu)

Or mail to:

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712

It is expected that all participants will raise the funding to attend the conference. The University of Texas at Austin does not provide participants with any form of funding support, travel expenses, or boarding expenses.



Africa Conference 2007: Popular Cultures in Africa

Convened by Dr. Toyin Falola and Coordinated by Tyler Fleming for the Center for African and African American Studies

Webmaster: Adam Paddock