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Centre of African Studies: News


Centre Of African Studies Annual Conference With New Political Topographies Project/Politics And International Relations (PIR)

CALL FOR PAPERS New Political Topographies: Trans-boundary Flows, Power and Legitimation in Africa and Beyond, 28-29 May 2015

This conference examines how the proliferation of new political actors and/or new modes of political action have affected political order in Africa and beyond. It explores how new trans- boundary connections, particularly those related to transnational, corporate, non-governmental (NGOs) and para-statal actors, shape political topographies: What new topographies of power and authority have they cultivated at local, national and transnational levels? How ‘new’ are these developments in practice? How is legitimacy constructed and contested under these conditions? How do these developments shape our understanding about statehood in ‘most of the world’ (Chatterjee 2004)?

The vibrant debates that surround new political topographies in Africa are the springboard for this workshop. We will be building on explorations of re-spacing, authority and governance beyond the state such as Callaghy et al. (2001), Mbembe (2002), Hansen/Stepputat (2006), Nugent/Engel (2010), Abrahamsen/Williams (2010), Hönke (2010) and Lund (2006), and relate it to cutting-edge work on transnationalised sites in a range of other regional contexts. We will also engage with new work in international political sociology and geography tackling method(ologies) for mapping emerging political topographies. Together, these various strands provide the basis for thinking through new political topographies from Africa/’most of the world’ and the implications of such thinking for a better understanding to the future of global politics.

Organiser: Jana Hönke, with Kathy Dodworth (University of Edinburgh)

Keynote: Rita Abrahamsen (University of Ottawa)

If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send a title and abstract to by 30 January 2015. For a number of presenters we will be able to offer support for travel and accommodation.


Abrahamsen, R. and M. C. Williams (2010). Security Beyond the State. Security Privatization and International Politics. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Callaghy, T. M., R. Kassimir and R. Latham (2001). Intervention and Transnationalism in Africa. Global-local networks of power. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Chatterjee, P. (2004). The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on popular politics in most of the world New York, Columbia University Press.
Engel, U. and P. Nugent, Eds. (2010). Respacing Africa. Leiden, Brill. Lund, C. (2006) Twilight Institutions: Public Authority and Local Politics in Africa. Development and Change 37,(4): 685–705. Hönke, J. (2010). "New Political Topographies. Mining companies and indirect discharge in Southern Katanga (DRC)." Politique Africaine 120: 105-127. Mbembe, A. (2002). At the Edge of the World: Boundaries, Territoriality, and Sovereignty in Africa. Beyond state crisis? Postcolonial Africa and post-Soviet Eurasia in comparative perspective. M. R. Beissinger and C. Young. Washington, DC, Woodrow Wilson Centre Press: 53-80