AEGIS Africa-Europe Group for Interdisciplinary Studies
African, Afropolitan and Afropean Belongings
AEGIS Summer School Cagliari, 11-14 June 2024
The 2024 AEGIS Summer School will address the theme of African, Afropolitan and Afropean Belongings. The past decades have seen a resurgence of identity politics all over the world, including in relation to African struggles to find belonging in a world where the global North seems to be still socio-economically and politically dominant. Inextricably linked with both identity politics and global inequalties are processes of movement and migration, which come with transportations and transformations of identities as well as political, personal and often racialized questions of who belongs where. Pre-existing patterns of movement, whether in relation to, for example, established diasporas in the former colonial centres in Europe or perambulatory practices on the African continent itself, interact with new and old articulations of belonging to produce complex identity landscapes that interact with political dynamics in different ways, from xenophobic hostility to comradery and community. Global North’s responses to migration, including the UK’s deportation scheme with Rwanda or the EU’s expansive border control policies and agreements, contribute to reshape Africa’s position, or rather, African positionings, in an evolving geopolitical environment. The powerful role that the continent’s natural resources have to play provides another important source of leverage. In the face of the patronising legacies of colonialism, African leaders, states and populations work to navigate the terrain to their advantage and, in doing so, to shape the ways in which Africa and Africans find belonging , in a growingly multipolar world.
While some Africans seek belonging through Afropolitan aspirations to ‘global citizenship’ or through transnational lives and communities linked to the Euro-American space, many struggle to achieve meaningful belonging in relation to states and nations that can protect or neglect, include or exclude. As the 2024 summer school will explore, who belongs under the aegis of the state remains a site of vibrant political contestation, as do the gendered and ethnicised categories and benefits of belonging. Attempts to assert belonging, or indeed separation, whether in relation to the state, the nation or otherwise, take many different forms, including armed separatism, creative activism and careful political coalition building. At the same time, articulations of economic identities as hustlers or entrepreneurs emerge as responses to often volatile economic conditions and as means of crafting new African economic imaginaries. These dynamics play out across terrains that have distinct features, whether megacities, rural landscapes or peri-urban peripheries, with these terrains themselves constituting an actor in the dynamics of identity. Interconnected with these processes of constructing belonging are myriad practices of cultural production, which can draw on existing repetoires to sustain or unsettle the social status quo or can irrupt new cultural forms and identities into the collective repetoires of African populations. In reflecting on African, Afropolitan and Afropean belongings, the summer school seeks to also examine how African Studies, historically implicated in projects of ‘othering’ Africa, can ‘turn the lens’ to reflect and operate a decentering on dynamics of belonging within its own academic community. Who is seen to belong? What implications does this have for which knowledges find a place within the field? How is such belonging structured by factors including the racialised distribution of capital and the colonial and neocolonial roots of knowledge systems? Who defines categorical assignments, and how? How is labelling carried out? To what extent is the production of knowledge about Africa extroverted or not? Is decentering possible?
Pursuing a critical understanding of African, Afropolitan and Afropean belongings calls for thorough interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary cooperation, which, besides scholars, also includes planners and policy makers. The following are indicative preferential sub-themes for the summer school, but should not be considered as definitive or exhaustive:
- Borders, migration and belonging – transporting, transforming and maintaining identities
- Education, knowledge systems and decolonisation – knowledge of Africa and African knowledge
- States and belonging – policies, practices and inclusion/exclusion
- Race, intersectionality and African belonging
- Spaces of belonging – cities, rural areas, land, environment and the role of space in belonging
- Labour, capitalism and identity – hustlers, dreamers and the identities of economic imaginaries
- Globalisation, Afropolitanism and geopolitical belonging – material, cultural and political connections and engagements with the ‘multipolar world’
- Religion, language, culture and community – institutions, practices and histories of collective identity
- Conflict, crisis, security and belonging – uncertainty, precarity and identity
- Making spaces in which to belong – activism, resistance and belonging
- Memory work: the local, the national and the trans-national
- Performance and identity: literature, music and film
The 2024 Summer School is organized by the Centro di Studi Africani in Sardegna – CSAS in collaboration with the AEGIS Centres of Roskilde (Denmark), Edinburgh (UK), Lisbon (Portugal), London (UK), CESSMA (France), Leiden (Netherlands). The aim of the Summer School is: a) to bring together advanced Ph.D. students and teaching staff from AEGIS Centres in order to exchange field and research experience; b) to improve the students’ ability to prepare and present their research in an international context and more specifically to serve as a ‘feeder’ for ECAS 10 in Prague; c) to promote graduate training within AEGIS and stimulate African-European inter-university cooperation.
The workshop is open up to some 20 PhD students and young researchers coming from AEGIS Centres and their affiliates in Europe and Africa. Applicants are invited to submit proposals (a 500-word abstract as well as a one-page outline of their Ph.D. status and current research – PHD SUPERVISOR(S) MUST BE IN CC WHEN APPLYING) that address the overall theme. Papers that apply and/or refine conceptual and theoretical approaches to the subject matter, as well as presenting fresh empirical information, will be especially welcome. Applicants will be selected on the basis of their research outline and their ability to engage with wider issues in African Studies today. Priority will be given to students and researchers with recent field experience and fresh research results. Application by African students based in African Universities is encouraged; subsidies for the participation of a limited number of successful African applicants will be available on the basis of merit. The deadline for submitting proposals is 29 October 2023. Participants will be informed of acceptance by 10 January 2024.
Each AEGIS member participant will be asked to contribute to the Summer School expenses by paying fee in the region of €300 to partly cover registration, food and lodging in Cagliari. The cost of travel to and from Cagliari is to be met by individual participants. Candidates coming from AEGIS Centres can apply to their Centre for financial assistance. External candidates will have to pay for their own expenses. Participants are expected to register in the afternoon of Monday 10 June 2024. Working sessions will be held from 11 June 2024 to 14 June 2024.
For more details, please write to:
Local Organizing Committee:
Alessio Zuddas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Filippo Petrucci, email@example.com
Logistical enquiries may be directed to Isabella Soi, CSAS Scientific Co-ordinator at:
Wayne Dooling, SOAS, University of London, UK
Elieth Eyebiyi, CESSMA, France
Eric Hahonou, Roskilde University, Denmark
Paul Nugent, University of Edinburgh, UK
Manuel Ramos, ISCTE, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Ian Russell, University of Edinburgh, UK
Apply now: Link to the online application form