19th Annual Africa Conference at The University of Texas at Austin – March 29 – 31, 2019


The 2019 Africa Conference will critically examine the highly intricate and contested processes of identity formation and its significance for African societies. Furthermore, the conference will engage with discussions on identities that are intimately linked to notions of African diaspora across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. The primary aim of the conference is to reflect on the varying and varied forms of social practices and processes through which identities are constructed, contested, negotiated, and reconfigured in relation to one another. Simultaneously, the conference intends to create an intellectual space for examining the politics of identity that systematically marginalizes, excludes, disempowers, and denudes certain social groups. Beyond the specific emphasis on Africa, the overarching focus of the conference is to engage with different theoretical inflections that have emerged in the existing scholarship on imbricated identities as well as to probe into the ways in which they have been challenged and reformulated within the academia.

See the Call for Papers for further information

Call for Applications: Leiden ASA Visiting Research Fellowship January-February-March 2019

Call for Applications:
Leiden ASA Visiting Research Fellowship January-February-March 2019

The Leiden African Studies Assembly calls for applications for a three-month (90 days) visiting fellowship at Leiden University (African Studies Centre) from September up to and including November 2018. Applications from all academic disciplines are welcome. An application must include an element of collaboration with a researcher of the African Studies Centre Leiden and a researcher of another faculty/department of Leiden University. The output of that collaboration can be a joint seminar or workshop, a joint research proposal, or a joint publication.

Requirements for a visiting fellowship
In order to be eligible for a LeidenASA 90-days Visiting Research Fellowship, the applicant has to fulfil all of the following criteria. He or she must:
1. Hold a PhD degree, by the time of applying;
2. Have conducted research, as part of the PhD and/or in later projects; with a focus on Africa;
3. Be actively pursuing an academic/research career;
4. Have published books, book chapters and/or journal articles in recent years that meet international standards;
5. Propose a research project for the fellowship that is likely to contribute to interfaculty collaboration at Leiden University; as shown in statements of collaboration (enclosed with the application) from one African Studies Centre Leiden scholar and (at least) one other Leiden University scholar. Overview of scholars to be found here: http://www.ascleiden.nl/sites/default/files/leidenasaresearchmembersmay2018.pdf
6. In accordance with visa regulations, be ready to return to the country of which he/she is a citizen and/or a current resident upon completion of the fellowship.

In the assessment of applications that meet these requirements,
A. Preference will be given to applicants based in Africa. ‘Africa’ here refers to the member states of the African Union. ‘Based in’ Africa is understood to have lived in Africa during at least two of the last four years; and
B. Emphasis will be placed on the quality, intended outputs and feasibility of the research project proposed for the fellowship.

A fellowship includes
– A return ticket (economy class).
– A daily stipend to cover living expenses.
– Single accommodation in Leiden with shared facilities.
– The use of (shared) office facilities and of library facilities.

How to apply?
Please complete application form below and send it, together with all required additional documents, to:

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Applications must be submitted in English or French.
However, Visiting Research Fellows may pursue their research in any language(s) of their choice, in agreement with their ASCL/Leiden University counterparts.
The deadline for applications is 25 August 2018.

Call for Papers: Religion/Spirituality and Wellbeing in Africa, in ALTERNATION 2019

THEME: Religion/Spirituality and Wellbeing in Africa

Internationally, numerous scholars of religion and spirituality argue that religion/spirituality has direct implications for human wellbeing. Research has shown, that the same is true with regard to Africa. Across Africa, religion/ spirituality remains a factor that influences and shapes the wellbeing of many Africans. But the role of religion in Africa has not always been constructive and clear-cut. Affirmatively, religion has contributed to the struggle against colonialism, for national independence, the fostering and support of modern democracies, and the establishing of independent nation states. Negatively, religion(s) has, at times, and in some contexts, also contributed to endorsing and perpetuating postcolonial autocratic life-denying tendencies among politicians, patrimonial autocratic and oligarchic systems, and the denial of human rights, for a wide variety of minority groups, not aligned with the hegemonic power structures. The question is whether, and how religions and religious formations in Africa have intentionally positioned themselves as forces for wellbeing, safety and security, or, for ill. How have they engaged the individual, as well as social challenges that African people face? How do they function for the continuous improvement of the quality of life and wellbeing of people? OR: if they do not function in this way, what roles do they play in society in general, but also specifically, and practically. Acknowledging that there have been some valuable research focusing on particular contexts, there is inadequate scholarly literature which specifically explores the interplay between religion spirituality and wellbeing, or its opposites.

Scholars have argued that in Africa, religion/spirituality in all its various manifestations is a seminal, ingrained, aspect of life, identity construction, social practice and reality construction and interpretation. They argue that religion/spirituality should not be regarded as separate from the totality of human life in Africa. For all intents and purposes, it saturates the lives and cultures of African people. Concomitantly, religion/spirituality and its related practices, are perceived as a social and humanistic resource for African cultural, moral-ethical, political and economic functioning, but also development and advancement. This perception of religion/spirituality, is usually endorsed by views from John Mbiti, who, in his African Religions and Philosophy (1969) described Africans as “notoriously religious”; Fabien Boulaga (1984), who embedded all of African life – “self-transcendence, nature, earth, sex, anything that moves” – in religion; Stephen Ellis and Gerrie ter Haar (2004), who argued that “it is largely through religious ideas that Africans think about the world today, and that religious ideas provide them with a means of becoming social and political actors”; and, more recently, Trinitapoli and Weinreb (2012), that Africa is “the world’s most religious continent”. This form of the essentializing, if not erroneous idealisation, of the importance of religion/ spirituality, or of a broad-based religious world view, for Africans, is obviously contentious.
Given the myriad of challenges and struggles Africans face on a daily basis in all spheres of life, in all the sociocultural, -political, and -economic dimensions, and societal levels of a rapidly – if also very unequally – modernising continent, we need to move beyond the simplistic and idealistic understandings of the significance of religion/ spirituality in Africa.
Moreover, the scholarly homogenising assumptions, common generalisations, and generic intellectual simplifications about African life and culture, not only obfuscate and befuddle very complex issues, as these differ from context to context, and country to country. They al-so mask a lack of the equal recognition of the wide diversity of people, as well as religions and spiritualities on the continent, and their fluid functioning, and impacts.
Against the background of these primary misconceptions, African social life should rather be fully recognised and studied with regard to its complexities, its fluid and experimental practices, and the inherent, and often tacit contestations of power and privilege, as these are present in its numerous sociocultural contradictions embedded in the articulations of the person and community; religion and the secular; health and disease; and democracy and undemocratic hegemony; as these grow, and at times collide. This means there is a need to ask about Africa’s experiential questions. In this context, it is important to better delineate the significance of religion and spirituality for African life and culture, and if not, how this is the case. Finally, can one distinguish between the nature and impact of religion and spirituality that add to the wellbeing of people, in specific contexts, and that which is to their disadvantage, and detriment. And, what do African people regard as the religion or spirituality that serve them and their wellbeing, and what not.

Amongst others, this Special Issue of Alternation seeks to clarify these key issues, as briefly outlined above, with a primary focus on the ways in which religion/spirituality contribute to wellbeing as understood by Africans themselves in various contexts – local, national and continental or, cosmically/environmentally. By explicating the concepts and researching the nuances of the wide variety of relationships between religion/ spirituality and wellbeing in Africa, from indigenous African perspectives, this issue will hopefully add to our discourse and knowledge production in this very important interdisciplinary area. It is also hoped that it will open up more possibilities and directions for future research, and research-led teaching and learning.

Proposed Themes Alphabetically Organized
Religion/Spirituality, the Ancestors and Wellbeing
Religion/Spirituality and Children
Religion/Spirituality, Conflict and Peacebuilding
Religion/Spirituality Consumerism and Materialism
Religion/Spirituality, Corruption and Politics
Religion/Spirituality, Death and Dying
Religion/Spirituality, Democratisation, Autocracy and Patrimonialism
Religion/Spirituality, Dialogue, Meaning, Identity, and Integration
Religion/Spirituality and Economics (Capitalism)
Religion/Spirituality and Employment
Religion/Spirituality and/ in Education
Religion/Spirituality and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Religion/Spirituality and Health Systems
Religion/Spirituality, Human Dignity and the Integrity of Creation
Religion/Spirituality, HIV Testing and Condoms
Religion/Spirituality, the Holy Spirit and Wellbeing
Religion/Spirituality and Masculinities
Religion/Spirituality and Marriage (e.g. abortion, childlessness/barrenness, pregnancy and birth)
Religion/Spirituality, Moya and Wellbeing
Religion/Spirituality and Natural Disasters (e.g. drought, famine, earthquake, etc.)
Religion/Spirituality and Old Age
Religion/Spirituality and Public Policy
Religion/Spirituality and Poverty
Religion/Spirituality, Public Health and Epidemics (e.g. HIV and AIDS, ebola, malaria, cholera)
Religion/Spirituality, Sexuality and Gender
Religion/Spirituality and Squatter Camp Life
Religion/Spirituality and Urban Life
Religion/Spirituality and Village Life
Religion/Spirituality and Wealth Creation
Religion/Spirituality and Youth

Academic Research in Religion/Spirituality/Theology and Policy Intervention

Research Grants and the Study of Religion/Spirituality/Theology (How are research grants in-forming the study of religions/spirituality and theology in Africa, and how could they ad-vance such research?)


Title and Abstract Friday 01 June 2018
Article Submission Friday 31 August 2018
Review Feedback Friday 14 September 2018
Final article Friday 12 October 2018
Final Editing Friday 11 January 2019
Submission to Press Friday 11 January 2019

Please submit the proposed titles of your articles, as well as a brief abstract of about 150 words, to the guest editors: Dr. Chammah J. Kaunda (ckaunda@hsrc.ac.za) and Prof Roderick Hewitt (hewitt@ukzn.ac.za). Please do so by 01 June 2018.

Please use the Alternation Guidelines for Contributors, and style format for submissions. Cf. below, and Guidelines for Contributors at: http://alternation.ukzn.ac.za/submissions.aspx

We request the submission of full articles, for the review process, by 31 August 2018.

Alternation is a fully accredited, peer-reviewed South African Department of Higher Education and Training journal. It is edited by Prof J.A. Smit, former Dean and Head of School, School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics, and published at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, on an Open Access platform. All articles are subject to peer-review by at least two independent peer reviewers. All articles that pass the review process, and that are accepted for publication, will be published online, at: http://alternation.ukzn.ac.za/archive.aspx
The Alternation homepage is available at: http://alternation.ukzn.ac.za/Homepage.aspx

Eboussi Boulaga, F. 1984. Christianity without Fetishes: An African Critique and Recapture of Christianity. Barr, R.r. (trans.). Maryknoll: Orbis Books.
Ellis, S. & G. ter Haar. 2004. Worlds of Power: Religious Thought and Political Practice in Africa. London: C. Hurst and Co.
Mbiti, J. 1969. African Religions and Philosophy. London, Ibadan, Nairobi: Heinemann.
Trinitapoli, J. & A. Weinreb 2012. Religion and AIDS in Africa. New York: Oxford University Press.

Guidelines for Contributors, and Alternation Style

Manuscripts must be submitted in English (UK). If quotations from other languages appear in the manuscript, place the original in a footnote and a dynamic-equivalent translation in the body of the text or both in the text.

Contributors must submit one computer-generated copy of the manuscript to the editor(s). The computer-generated copy must be in Word for Windows, and must have an Abstract and Keywords. It must also be submitted in the Alternation style.

Manuscripts should range between 5000-10000 and book reviews between 800-1200 words. How¬ever, longer articles may be considered for publication.

Attach a cover page containing the following information: The corresponding author’s full name, address, e-mail address, position, department, university/ institution, and telephone/ fax numbers. A brief summary of the biodate of all authors must be attached too.

Maps, diagrams and posters must be presented in print-ready form. Clear black and white or colour digitised photos (postcard size) or diagrams in pdf or jpeg may also be submitted.

Use footnotes sparingly. In order to enhance the value of the interaction between notes and text, we use footnotes and not endnotes.

Authors may use their own numbering systems in the manuscript.

Except for bibliographical references, abbreviations must include full-stops. The abbreviations (e.a.) = ’emphasis added’; (e.i.o.) = ’emphasis in original’; (i.a.) or […] = ‘insertion added’ may be used.

The full bibliographical details of sources are provided only once at the end of the manuscript under References. References in the body of the manuscript should follow the following convention: Mkhize (2017:14) argues …. or, at the end of a reference/quotation: …. (Ngwenya 2017:20f).

The surname and initials of authors as they appear in the source must be used in the References section.

Review articles and book reviews must include a title as well as the following information concerning the book reviewed: title, author, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, number of pages and the ISBN number.

In the text as well as the References, all book, journal, newspaper and magazine titles must be in italics.

The format for the References section is as follows:

Journal article by one author
Fulela, B. 2008. Checking the Post: Derrida and the Apartheid Debate. Alternation 15,2: 11 – 37. Available at: http://alternation.ukzn.ac.za/Files/docs/15.2/02%20Fulela.pdf. (Accessed on 08 May 2017.)

Journal article by two authors
Mkhize, N. & N. Ndimande-Hlongwa 2014. African Languages, Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), and the Transformation of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Higher Education. Alternation 21,2: 10 – 37. Available at: http://alternation.ukzn.ac.za/Files/docs/21.2/02%20Mkh.pdf. (Accessed on 08 May 2017.)

Book by one author
Moran, S. 2009. Representing Bushmen: South Africa and the Origin of Language. Rochester: University of Rochester Press. (Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, Book 38.)

Book by one editor
Smit, J.A. (ed.) 1999. Body, Identity, Sub-cultures and Repression in Texts from Africa. Durban: CSSALL.

Book by two editors
Dhunpath, R. & R. Vithal (eds.) 2012. Alternative Access to Higher Education: Underprepared Students or Underprepared Institutions? Cape Town: Pearson Publishers.

Chapter in an edited book
Smit, J.A. & J. van Wyk 2001. Literary Studies in Post-apartheid South Africa. In Zegeye, A. & R. Kriger (eds.): Culture in the New South Africa after Apartheid. Volume 2. Cape Town: Kwela Books & History on Line.

Translated book
Foucault, M. 1977. Discipline and Punish. Sheridan, A. (trans.). New York: Pantheon.

Online resource
Jansen, J. & P. Vale (Co-chairs.) 2011. Consensus Study on the State of the Humanities in South Africa. Status, Prospects and Strategies. Pretoria: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). Available at: https://www.assaf.org.za/files/2011/09/2011-Humanity-final-proof-11-August-2011.pdf. (Accessed on 08 May 2017.)

Religion, Gender and Body Politics


Religion and Gender 7, 2 (2017): Religion, Gender and Body Politics

CfP for Panel 182: The Religion of the Orishas, 18th IUAES World Congress, 16-20 July, Florianopolis, Brazil


Between January 8th and February 28th 2018, the registered participants will be able to submit their paper proposal to the 18th IUAES (International Union of Anthropological and Ethnographic Sciences) World Congress at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil, and in particular to Open Panel 182: The Religions of the Orishas

The panel is on the religions of the orishas in various contexts – diasporas and re(creation) of African heritage in the sacred space
This panel discusses various links, forms and faces of the African origin religions in the contemporary world. We would like to invite scholars doing their research on the religions of the orixás (orishas) in their different dimensions, such as: ritual, cultural and symbolic production (music, body and dance);function of technology; (re)creation of social relations and connections; relations between religion and gender, sexuality, public policies, context of production of the heritages, intolerances, migration processes and religious transnationalization.

Open pannel number 182 is coordinated by Prof Dr Joana Bahia (State University of Rio de Janeiro) < joana.bahia@gmail.com > and Prof Dr Renata Siuda-Ambroziak (Universidade de Varsóvia/Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina) < r.siuda@uw.edu.pl >

Informations about registrations see : http://www.pt.iuaes2018.org/cronograma and also http://www.iuaes2018.org/inscricoes/capa

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