Call for papers: Consumption and Identity in African Cities

Deadline: 13 January 2017 - 12:00am

Dates: 9 - 9 March 2017

Where: University of Cape Town

Conveners: Department of Environmental and Geographical Science

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, is hosting a one-day symposium on 9 March 2017. The event is supported by a British Academy/Newton Advanced Fellowship on Consumer Ethics in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

The geographies of consumption in Africa are largely unwritten. What is clear, however, is that throughout history, the ability to consume and to judge ‘good’ consumption has also been the ability to materialise identity and difference. In contemporary Africa, the rapid growth of the middle-classes, juxtaposed with deep inequalities in fast-expanding cities, is creating dynamic spaces where imaginaries and practices of consumption are in flux.

Debates about sustainability, food (in)security, urban agriculture, animal rights, conspicuous consumption, and political greed and corruption are prominent, and often racialized. This symposium focuses on this context where conflicting ethical judgements about what constitutes ‘good consumption’ directly emerge from and shape identity and belonging. We welcome papers that seek to engage with any aspect of the relationship between consumption and identity in African cities and towns, and to contribute to a deeper understanding of the ways in which consumption is made meaningful in the everyday lives of urban Africans.

Submission guidelines

Please send abstracts of not more than 250 words, attached as a Microsoft Word document, to Dr Shari Daya [email protected] by Friday 13 January 2017. All abstracts will be reviewed by the Fellowship team, and notifications of acceptance will be sent by 3 February 2017.

A small number of travel bursaries will be available to help support scholars travelling from outside Cape Town. If you wish to be considered for one of these bursaries please include a covering letter stating this, in the same file as your abstract. Preference will be given to postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.

Photo: Tobias Mandt (flickr)

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