CFP: Between and Beyond: Perspectives on the Southern Sahara (African Studies Association 2009)

18 February 2009

Call for papers: Panel to be proposed for the African Studies Association Meeting “Africa at a Crossroads” New Orleans, LA – November 19-22, 2009

CFP: Between and Beyond: Perspectives on the Southern Sahara

Sponsored by the Saharan Studies Association (*

Deadline: March 5, 2009

This panel will examine the implications – both historical and contemporary – of the position of the Southern Sahara region as a crossroads between North and West Africa. This region has been linked for centuries by trans-Saharan trade routes, the rise and fall of empires, the expansion of Islam, the slave trade, and the migrations and exchanges of ideas that accompanied these movements; today, it also increasingly receives attention on the international stage after having been identified by the United States as a hotbed of terrorist movements. Despite these linkages, the populations who inhabit the Southern Sahara and its border regions often remain deeply divided with some groups identifying broadly with North Africa and the Middle East, and others with sub-Saharan Africa. Likewise, this region occupies an ambiguous place in the academy since it is often considered to be neither part of Northern nor sub-Saharan Africa. This panel invites scholars to address the implications of this region’s very in-betweenness considering questions including: How have leaders created nations within this space occupied by ethnic groups who (might) align themselves with very different regions? How did colonial empires understand these spaces and how did their policies shape the understandings and experiences of modern-day residents? How have individuals capitalized upon their region’s position between the Arab and African worlds? How do people from such ethnically diverse areas construct their personhoods? Is it even useful to view this region as a hyphenated space between North and sub-Saharan Africa or does this continue to marginalize it? Can it stand alone as a unique zone stretching from the Atlantic to the Red Sea? By discussing these issues from a range of disciplinary perspectives, this panel aims to raise issues faced by people in this region and to interrogate the
implications of its geographic and cultural positioning.

Submissions: Contributions are sought (and encouraged) from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Although we strongly encourage graduate students, we also welcome submissions from undergraduates, professionals, post-doctoral researchers, lecturers, professors, activists, and practitioners. Abstracts or descriptions of the presentations should be no longer than 250 words and should include contact information, name, mailing address, telephone number, affiliation, department, and email address. Please respond no later than March 5, 2009. The ASA deadline for completion of the panel proposal including all membership and conference registrations for participating members is March 15.

Deadline: March 5, 2009

Abstracts or descriptions may be sent via email to or

Erin Pettigrew
PhD Student
Department of History
Stanford University

Katherine Wiley
PhD Student
Department of Anthropology
Indiana University

*The SSA will not be able to provide participants with subventions for travel, lodging or conference fees.

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