Wars and Conflicts in Africa

Dates: March 28-30, 2008

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

Convener: Dr. Toyin Falola

Organizer: Roy Doron

The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce a three-day conference focusing on the theme of wars and conflicts in Africa.

All through history, wars and conflicts have shaped human existence. They have influenced issues like state formation, boundary consolidation, cultural harmonization, identity definition and commercial relations. Indeed, though wars are normally seen as negative events, they can be seen as having some positive results, such as the emergence of alternative systems of profit and power to replace the breakdown of the ancien régime. In short, while they destroy, they can also create new forms of social capital.

Africa has had its own (some will say disproportionate) share of wars and conflicts. Presently, the continent accounts for up to 40% of global conflicts. Although these conflicts have devastated the continent, cost millions of lives, and contributed significantly to retarding the socio-economic development of many countries, they have nonetheless shaped the historical evolution of the continent. Consequently, understanding the contents of their occurrence, the patterns of their prosecution, and methods of their resolution are crucial to advancing knowledge about the continent. This is why the 2008 conference takes a deep look at wars and conflicts in Africa. While focusing on some broad thematic issues, the conference hopes to discuss how these thematic issues manifested themselves in the course of the continent’s history.

Thematic Issues

1. Causes of wars and conflicts and how these have changed over time
2. Strategies of prosecution
3. Rules of engagement
4. Weaponry
5. The role of “sex” and plunder and other methods of providing incentives for combatants (sex as rape or “sexual slavery” as a way of abusing civilians, breaking-down resistance, humiliating people)
6. Concept of “enemy” or “opponent” in the context of war and conflict
7. Taboos in conflict
8. Witchcraft and Juju in the context of conflict
9. Heroes and heroines in conflict
10. Economics of conflict/war economy (also manpower, finance, technology, motives and consequences)
11. Gender dimensions of wars and conflicts
12. Commerce in the course of wars and conflicts
13. Strategies and mechanisms for conflict resolution: conquest, secession and power sharing, exile
14. Managing the “vulnerable” in the course of conflict
15. The concept of “alliances” in the course of conflict
16. The complexities of “external” involvement: arms trade, international underground markets (timber, gemstones, minerals, drugs), peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance
17. Refugees and internal displacement
18. Humanitarian Aid
19. Civil Wars and Post-War Reconstruction
20. Secessionist conflicts
21. Military and politics
22. Media and war
23. Representation of wars and conflicts in fictions
24. Cultural consequences of wars
25. Conflict in the strengthening or weakening of modern states and national consciousness


1. Pre-historic
2. Pre-colonial
3. European conquest and African resistance
4. Wars of liberation
5. Post-Independence Civil Wars
6. Post-Independence International Wars (as for example in the case of the DRC, now Ethiopia-Somalia, etc.)


Conference participants will be drawn from various countries. Graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers. Since war 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 similarities in theme, topic, discipline, or geographical location. Additionally, selected papers will be published in book form.

The deadline for submitting paper proposals is November 1, 2007. 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:

Roy Doron (africaconf2008@gmail.com)

A mandatory registration fee of $50 must be paid immediately when an abstract is accepted.

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.


Archived Link: http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa/2008/CFP.html