Creativity, Culture, and Identity in Africa and the African Diaspora: 2016 Africa Conference at The University of Texas at Austin, March 24-27, 2016

06 August, 2015

Creativity, Culture and Identity in Africa and the African Diaspora

Africa Conference 2016

University of Texas, Austin

March 24-27, 2016

     Closely allied to the idea of genius, the discourse of creativity has privileged the individual subject whose Promethean determination, originality, and passion bring into being art, innovation, and excellence.  This humanist understanding of creativity still has considerable currency in disciplines such as literature and the arts, psychology, mathematics and the sciences.  Related accounts of creativity and the imagination have emerged in numerous other areas, including business, popular psychology, the social sciences, and engineering and technology.  The discourse of creativity that surfaces within multiple fields reveals that the notion of the individual creator is not simply widespread, but omnipresent; indeed, it is a fundamental ideology of Western culture. 

     Challenging the individualist and depoliticized ideology of creativity, the conference calls for papers that present alternative accounts of the social and political dimensions of creativity as they relate to invention, technology, work, artistic and cultural production, the body, desire, pedagogy and social change. The conference aims to reach a multidisciplinary academic audience; artists and grassroots activists; the political, journalistic, and information technology communities, and interested members of the general public.  The conference promises to create a provocative space for comparative critical dialogue between scholars and dancers, actors and writers, songwriters and singers. The conference invites papers on all aspects of creativity, identity and culture from the artistic to the scientific, to business and the humanistic. Scholars in all disciplines are invited to propose papers on various aspects, including but not limited to any of the following:

  • Creativity, identity and culture profile: What is novel and original among Africans and Black people generally? 
  • Value added to progress: development ideas, new thinking
  • Globalized modernity and its consequences on cultural performances, rhetoric and other forms of expressions.
  • The creative process in Africa and the African Diaspora
  • Creative thought processes
  • Creativity and the everyday
  • Creativity, religion and the performance of rituals
  • Gender, imagination, and creative space
  • Histories of creativity and inventions.
  • The politics of creativity: creativity and resistance, anti-colonial genres, creativity and apartheid, creativity and democratic movements.
  • Nollywood: (production, text, marketing, impact, etc.)
  • Technology, Information, Innovation.
  • The business of creativity; creativity as business
  • “Beyond Art” and an exploration of the current range of artistic and cultural practices, especially in the wake of the drastic shifts in critical paradigms associated with women’s studies, multiculturalism, cultural studies, and queer studies.
  • Social movements: developments in new social movements and their creative strategies for political organizing, protest, and autonomy; how activists and communities had been imagining and enacting their political aspirations and organizing. 
  • Ethical issues in creativity: The questions of technological innovations, and stunning improvements in our knowledge of and mastery over the natural world vs. global environmental destruction
  • Creativity and performance
  • The expanding body: widespread experimentation and new theorizations with regard to the body and its relation to subjectivity. Papers can theorize the creative interfacings between the body, mind, and spirit, as well as the outside world.
  • The pedagogy of creativity: the strategies, agents and locations that have sought to transcend the hierarchies and limits of traditional pedagogy.

     We expect papers that inform new ways of thinking while engaging critical perspectives. Selected papers will be published in book form. Joint panels are welcome. For this year, we welcome presentations that seek to demonstrate theoretical paradigms through the medium of performance. Graduate students are especially encouraged to attend, present papers and interact with senior scholars to build their own growth process as scholars. This conference encourages interaction between scholars across disciplines, locations and special interests. Ample time will be provided for interactivity between participants.

     The deadline for submitting paper proposals is November 30, 2015. Proposals should include a 250-word abstract and title, as well as the author's name, address, telephone number, email address, and institutional affiliation.

Please submit all abstracts to africaconference2016@gmail.com 

     A mandatory non-refundable registration fee of $150 for scholars and $100 for graduate students must be paid immediately upon the acceptance of the abstract. This conference fee includes admission to the panels, workshops, and special events, as well as transportation to and from the conference from the hotel, breakfast for three days, dinner on Friday night, lunch on Saturday, and a banquet on Saturday evening. All participants must raise the funding to attend the conference, including registration fee, transportation and accommodation. The conference does not provide any form of sponsorship or financial support. The University of Texas at Austin does not provide participants with any form of funding support, travel expenses, or boarding expenses.

Convened by: Professor Toyin Falola, toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu

Coordinated by: Abimbola Adelakun & Daniel Jean-Jacques, africaconference2016@gmail.com

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