The Executive Committee of the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) has nominated HUMA – Institute for Humanities in Africa at at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa to co-host the next biennial conference.
The African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) was established in 2013 to promote Africa’s own specific contributions to the advancement of knowledge about the peoples and cultures of Africa and the diaspora. The Biennial Conference is the scientific convening of the association. It is one of the continent’s largest gathering of African and Africanist scholars across the continent, its diaspora, and globally, bringing together over 600 delegates to think around a specific theme. The first biennial conference was held at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in October 2015, the second – ASAA2017 – at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon in October 2017, and the third – ASAA2019 – at the United States International University Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya.
ASAA2022 takes place on the back of global protests against the devaluation of Black/African lives. This, also as a global epidemic of violence against women, attains alarming proportions. As the world begins to grapple with the collective existential threat and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, HUMA is keen on working with the ASAA to convene researchers, intellectuals, activists, artists, students, and the policy community to reflect on the critical questions that are crucial to forging a more ethical and liveable interdependent life going forward, and how-to, and the productive consequences of centring Africa, African perspectives and epistemologies at the core of imagining a new world.
What does it mean to be human today in Africa, African in the world today, and what can Africa contribute to thinking the human? The idea of the human is increasingly threatened by destabilising transformations as the world gradually moves to what is defined by some as the abyss of modernity and the aftershocks of the postmodern. Will prevalent ideas of being human and/or being African survive? Should the idea of the human and African be saved, and as we move into the Anthropocene/posthuman, what or who will or should count as human and/or African in the end? As the old certainties of the enlightenment are questioned and rejected and the promises of neoliberal democracy shattered – labelled as both fraudulent and farcical – what alternatives remain to imagine the human from Africa?