Call for papers: Urban Africa (7th European Conference on African Studies)

Deadline: 19 January 2017 - 12:00am

Dates: 29 - 1 July 2017


Where: Basel

Conveners: The Centre for African Studies Basel and the Swiss Society for African Studies

The Centre for African Studies Basel and the Swiss Society for African Studies on behalf of AEGIS (Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies) invite you to submit paper proposals for the 7th European Conference on African Studies ECAS 2017 with the theme: Urban Africa – Urban Africans: New encounters of the rural and the urban.

African urbanization trends raise several issues that are of interest to scholars. These range from politics, through economics, all the way to social and cultural issues. The key issue, however, is how urbanization processes in Africa transform conventional objects of African Studies and how do scholars of Africa gear up to face such changes? These are the questions which we have invited scholars of Africa to engage with in a more conscious and systematic manner.

While among the 223 accepted panels the urban is prominent, many also look into the entanglements of the rural with the urban, especially with a view to addressing an implicit assumption underlying the study of Africa and which concerns the supposed rural ‘nature’ of the continent as well as the constitutive nature of the tension between tradition and modernity. Over the past few decades a self-critical attitude within many disciplines has led to a weakening of these assumptions, the urban continues arguably to be seen as the exception or, at any rate, as analytically less consequential than the rural. ECAS 2017 “Urban Africa – Urban Africans” will, therefore, be an occasion for rethinking African Studies, but also for exploring and deepening research avenues that many researchers working on urban and rural issues have taken up over recent years. There is a critical mass to be harnessed in the effort to push the frontiers of critical European knowledge production on Africa.

The call for papers is now open and closes at midnight on 19 January 2017. Before you propose a paper, please read the theme of the conference, the rules below, and then browse the list of list of panels.

The accepted panels of ECAS2017 have been divided into thematic streams: Economy and Development (A); Politics and International Relations (B); Social Anthropology (C); Sociology (D); History (E); Arts and Culture (G); Language and Literature (H); Philosophy (I); Religion (J); Health (K); Environment and Geography (L); and Law (M). When browsing through the list of panels, you can alternate between the All panels view that shows all the panels in one list, regardless of the stream and the All streams view that shows the list of streams.


Call for papers (pdf)


All paper proposals must be made via the online form. You will be asked to provide:

  • your contact details
  • your institutional affiliation and current position
  • the title of your paper
  • a short abstract of no more than 300 characters (including spaces)
  • and a long abstract of no more than 250 words.

The main conference language being English, this information should be submitted in either English or French.

All proposals must be made via the online form, not by email. There is a ‘propose a paper’ link beneath the long abstract of each panel page. Go to the panel page you are interested in and then click on this proposal link to make your proposal directly to that panel/workshop.

On submission of the proposal, the proposing author (but not the co-authors) will receive an automated email confirming receipt. If you do not receive this email, please first check the Login environment – Cocoa (see toolbar above right) to see if your proposal is there. If it is, it simply means your confirmation email got spammed/lost; if it is not, you will need to re-submit, as for some reason the process was not completed. Co-authors cannot be added/removed nor can papers be withdrawn by the proposers themselves – for that, please email

Proposals will be marked as pending until the end of the Call for papers. Convenors will then be asked to make their decisions over the papers proposed to their panel by 29 January 2017 and to communicate those to the proposers, marking them up within the login environment (Cocoa). Papers which are neither accepted nor rejected, but marked for ‘transfer’, will be given the opportunity to be re-housed. We aim to resolve all transfers by the 2 March 2017.

Useful information for later in this process

Editing your paper

Paper authors can use the login link in the toolbar above to edit their proposals.

Pre-circulation of papers

ECAS has no rule about this; however many convenors are keen to pre-circulate completed papers. To facilitate this and save on email traffic, if requested by convenors, authors can upload PDFs of their papers within the online system, which will then show as a downloadable file beneath their abstract on the public panel page on this site.

Timing of presentations

Panels will last an hour and a half and will include a maximum of 5 participants, including the panel convener and/or discussant. Panels are required to be open for paper proposals through the website: panels shall not be organized as ‘closed’ sessions. Each participant shall present one paper only but may be involved as convener of a further panel, plenary session or roundtable, or be involved as discussant in one of these (i.e. one additional role).

Communication between authors/convenors

Convenor/author email addresses are not shown on the panel pages for anti-spam reasons. However there is an in-built secure email messaging system. If you cannot work that, please email to obtain relevant email addresses.

Any queries with the above please email

Photo: Screenshot from ECAS 20017 video

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