Friday, 20 January 2012

Call for Papers on Citizenship in Africa: ASAUK Conference 2012

Call for Papers on Citizenship in Africa

ASAUK Conference 2012

Deadline for submission of papers 27 April 2012

This is a call for papers for 4 panels: details are given below.

Submissions should be made via the conference website, not direct to the organizers: But for more details please contact Florence Brisset-Foucault ( ) or Emma Hunter (

1. "Citizen" and "subject": States, kingdoms, chiefdoms and multiple belongings

Convenor: Florence Brisset-Foucault, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

In numerous African countries since colonization, sub-national (and sometimes transnational) political entities like kingdoms and chiefdoms have or have had important political and cultural influence. This panel explores the way individuals articulate these different belongings, which should not be seen a priori as fundamentally antagonistic or exclusive. How do leaders and ordinary "citizens" (or "subjects") imagine, combine, or oppose these different belongings? What are the political and philosophical values attached to each of them? Are the categories "citizen" and "subject" appropriate to seize these sentiments and practices? How do these belongings influence each other? This panel invites both historical and present case studies to explore the articulation between these different spheres of government and belonging.

2. 'Being a true citizen': Creating political belonging through social practice in Africa past and present

Convenor: Emma Hunter, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

In contrast to the focus on the institutions of the state, such as ID cards, or educational practice in creating, challenging and sustaining modes of conceptualising citizenship and political belonging explored in other panels in this stream, this panel moves into the realm of social practice. Beyond the institutional structures which create political belonging, distinctive communities have always been created through modes of behaviour, such as dress, religious practices, gender identities, sporting or associational culture. How do individuals perform their political identity, or remake it to express political allegiance? How does social practice serve as a means of inclusion or exclusion, beyond legalistic conceptions of membership? This panel focuses on the ways in which modes of behaviour can serve to provide a space in which to reinforce or to attempt to renegotiate the boundaries of community, the relationship between individual and community or conceptions of political membership, and invites both historical and contemporary case studies which reflect on the ways in which political belonging has been defined through social practice.

3.Creating Citizens: Political Education, Political Philosophy and Practices of Citizenship in Africa

Convenor: Emma Hunter, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

A central concern of contemporary policy makers is the teaching of citizenship. This has led to a flowering of 'citizenship education'. At election time, public space is taken over not only by party election posters, but also by posters instructing citizens on their rights and duties. In some African countries, NGOs and the State encourage citizens to enrol in civic and political education workshops and training.

Historically, colonial and post-colonial states have employed didactic texts, newspaper editorials and political speeches to teach practices of citizenship. Beneath an apparent homogeneity of language and approach, didactic texts and courses often promote very specific political philosophies, for example in their view of the relationship between citizen and state or the proper role of political parties. This panel explores this phenomenon both historically and in the present, and invites case studies from across Africa which explore political education as a space in which conceptions of citizenship are developed.

4.Fixing Identities: Identity papers, history and contemporary practices of census in Africa

Convenor: Florence Brisset-Foucault, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

This panel intends to be a multi-disciplinary discussion on identity papers and census practices in past and present Africa. The way identities are processed through bureaucracy is often at the core and heart of bitter controversies and can play a direct role in fuelling violence. In several African countries, the recent introduction of identity cards has triggered heated debates on what constitutes a "proof" of identity and what is to be notified on the IDs as the fundamental characteristics of an individual.

This panel calls for contributions on the history of the registering and identification processes, criteria and techniques, deployed by the State and other actors, as well as analysis on the present debates on identification and daily uses of "papers" on the continent. Who are the actors involved in census and identification processes? According to what criteria are people classified? What kind of differences can we trace between countries on the continent? What has been the influence of the international context, such as the "war on terror" and the anti-immigration policies?

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