Spring Conference

Africa in the Classroom: Pedagogy, Community, Decolonization

University of Pittsburgh Center for African Studies Spring Conference

May 5-6, 2023

Chérie N. Rivers (UNC-Chapel Hill), keynote speaker

Proposal Submission date: February 28, 2023

Submission portal found here

Contact: Dr. Ian Copeland


The Programming Committee cordially invites proposals for the annual Spring Conference of the Center for African Studies, to be held May 5-6, 2023 at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The theme of this year’s conference is Africa in the Classroom: Pedagogy, Community, Decolonization.

Both across and beyond the university, our decolonial moment offers a pivotal opportunity for Africanist thinkers, researchers, and teachers. As the African continent grows in both population and global influence, how can these shifts be reflected in our practices of presenting knowledge? What colonial, imperialist, or elitist mindsets persist, and how might university structures be reworked to destabilize them? Most concretely of all, what is the role of the classroom and those entrusted to lead it? This year’s conference will convene a conversation around these timely questions, as well as foster a community of mutual support that cuts across lines of discipline, geography, and institutionality. Through paper presentations, a keynote address, roundtable discussions, and a syllabus workshop, conference attendees will both benefit from and contribute to a reconsideration of Africa in the classroom.

We invite all scholars and practitioners who work on Africa-related topics—including those based in our regional academic networks in the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and Appalachian regions—to participate in the conference. We are equally excited to receive contributions from practitioners outside academia, community college members, and graduate and undergraduate students. We welcome presentations on topics related to the conference theme(s) of decolonization, pedagogy, (de-)canonization, community engagement, and applied research, in addition to research or reflection on any Africa-related topic (and representing any discipline or field of knowledge). Presentations may take the form of a traditional conference paper, a lecture-demonstration, or another creative format. You are welcome to attend regardless of whether you submit a proposal; we encourage the presence and contributions of all.

Please submit your proposal—including a working title, format, and abstract of ca. 200 words—through the abstract submission portal found here. Submissions are due by February 20, with notifications of acceptance by March 1.

A conference website with the full agenda will be made available before the conference takes place. Details about conference registration, facilities, and accommodation are forthcoming. In the meantime, those with questions should direct them to Ian Copeland (ian.copeland@pitt.edu). We look forward to welcoming you!