… to the conference at the University of Texas, Austin centered on the theme of Movements, Migrations and Displacements in Africa. This is the 6th annual African conference and we are very excited about the theme of this year’s proceedings, as well as the many bright and distinguished scholars presenting papers over the next three days.
Africans have always been on the move, ever since the time they created civilization and scattered it around the continent and elsewhere. Many presenters will shed new light on population shifts within Africa, and the movement of people from Africa to the rest of the world. Today, the African diaspora represents one of the most important subjects in the academy. We are ready to listen to fresh ideas on new cultural, historical, sociological, methodological, and theoretical questions that will address relevant, recurring and urgent issues or raising neglected topics. There are many themes of interest.
This is certainly one of the biggest conferences on this important subject. The richness is reflected in the wide variety of issues that are represented in various panels: migration and shifting identity; hybridity and transculturation, the impact of wars and military systems, transatlantic migrations, cultural and ethnic accommodation of newcomers, impact of Western and Asian settlers in Africa, trans-national struggles and ideas, and the African diaspora in other continents. Other major issues include those with regard to refugees, the representations of migrations in literature, films, and media, exile and homecoming narratives, sociological issues such as crime, juvenile delinquency, unemployment, family structures, gender and generational disparities, and memoirs of migrancy. Through the presentations in these panels we hope to break new ground and make headway into a greater, multidimensional and multidisciplinary understanding of migrations and displacements. Finally, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our panelists making journeys over great distances in order to be with us this weekend. Although we are here mainly to conduct the business at hand, I hope that you all will have the opportunity to venture out and partake of some of the unique and entertaining attractions of Austin, Texas.