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CALL FOR PAPERS: 2nd Concordia–McGill Universities African Studies Conference

July 3, 2019

The Concordia African Studies Working Group, in partnership with the African Studies Program at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development, presents the 2nd Concordia-McGill Universities African Studies Conference. The conference will take place on 3-4 October 2019.

Theme: Rethinking Africa’s Urban Future(s)

Africa is experiencing rapid urbanization. More than 22 million people are added to Africa’s urban population every year. By 2035 more than half of the continent’s population will be living in urban areas and Africa will host six of the 41 megacities of the world. For some, urbanization is the single most important transformation taking place on the African continent. Thus viewed, rapid urbanization bears critical implications on the future of Africa. Focussing on the social-cultural, economic and political dimensions, rapid urbanization can lead to efficient social service delivery, economic growth, and changes in state-society relations and regime politics on the continent. At the same time, however, the burgeoning urban population is intensifying the pressure on the already struggling urban infrastructure and resources of many African cities, while providing a fertile ground for political movements and action.

Alive to these dialectical changes of rapid urbanization, then, what are the implications for the social- cultural, economic and political future of the continent? How are African cities dealing with increasing demands for social services such as energy, water, sanitation, education, healthcare, housing, transport, etc.? What are the implications of the rapid urbanization of the continent on state-society relations with regard to gender equality, electoral politics, social movements, democratization, among others? What theoretical insights about the future of Africa can be drawn from the current process of urbanization?

The compressed time frame and the dominance of informal processes greatly distinguish urbanization in Africa from urbanization in other regions and time periods. Thus, without implying a homogenous African urban experience, it is imperative to document, critically reflect, and generate apt theories on Africa’s rapid urbanization. We invite contributions that address the intertwined social-cultural, economic, and political relationships in the ongoing urban transformation of the African continent such as:

  • Everyday life, inclusion and exclusion in urban Africa
  • Social movements in African cities
  • Urbanization and regime politics
  • Urbanization and gender relations
  • Posthumanism, assemblage urbanism and infrastructures of urban Africa
  • Methodological and theoretical innovations for understanding urban Africa
  • Urban planning and informality
  • Technology, smart cities, and innovation in Africa


Please send abstract of no more than 300 words to by July 30, 2019. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit full papers by September 13, 2019. Scholars based in Africa are particularly encouraged to submit papers. We cannot guarantee financial support to cover expenses of travel at this point, but we are actively seeking funding to support the participation of Africa-based scholars.

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