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ASWAD 8th Biennial Conference
African Diaspora Circularities: Forging Communities, Cultures, and Politics
November 4-7, 2015 Charleston, South Carolina
Hosted by the College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina

Read this Call for Papers in: Spanish. French. Portuguese.

The African Diaspora is defined in great measure by the movement and circulation of African peoples, their cultures, and their ideas. African peoples in diaspora have created their own meanings and social-ideological geographies, forming new communities, dialogues and autonomous spaces within the global Black world and larger transnational communities. Whether it is the birth of Gullah culture in the Carolina Sea Islands from far-flung Atlantic colonial spaces or communities navigating the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class, African peoples have been generating circuits that constitute intertwined histories with increasing dialogue among each other.

ASWAD invites panel submissions for its 8th Biennial Conference that focuses on related themes of circulation/migration and the importance of locality/place 
in shaping the human experience of Africans and African descendants around the world. Contrary to the common misperception that forced migrations and related cultural circulations of Africans and their descendants are mostly themes of the past, the 2015 conference takes place in an age of unprecedented movement of ideas and people and still, for Africans and their descendants, circulation often occurs under circumstances of severe duress. As in the past, African descendants are creating new politics, cultures and communities within Africa and beyond that form the foundation for discourse and advocacy in human rights struggles and underlie the ongoing quest for cultural and political autonomy. ASWAD 2015 thus also seeks to generate dialogue about the inherent qualities of independent cultural production and community creation by African-descended people.

The theme of circularity invites presentations on the racial, gender, sexual, and class contours of migration and the meaning of place in the production of intellectual formulations, community formation, Pan-Africanism, and identity within Africa and its Diaspora that utilize diasporic feminist and black/ queer/diaspora frameworks. Additionally, circularities engage arenas of new technologies, media, and communication. ASWAD also encourages panels that explore circularities from scientific perspectives, highlighting such issues as the biological impacts of the global movements of African peoples, medicine and healing, and other biological and scientific research on Africa and its diaspora.

Attentive to our 2015 conference location in the South Carolina low country, the Gullah/Geechee communities and the Oyotunji (Yoruba/ Vodou) religious community in Beaufort County are examples from this region that demonstrate how specific geographies, economies, and patterns of migration have created distinctive new Black worlds and forged spaces of refuge and resistance. This region also reflects the significance of the Haitian Revolution in the process of slave resistance and therefore ASWAD particularly welcomes panels that explore music, dance, language, literature, religion, spirituality, politics, and economics in Gullah/Geechee communities and throughout the African Diaspora.

As an interdisciplinary organization, ASWAD invites presentations that illuminate the lives of Africans and African descendants from scholars in any discipline, including the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, life sciences, and performing and visual arts.

Of Special Note in 2015:
The Charleston, South Carolina Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture will be celebrating its 150th anniversary with the theme “On Our Own Terms.” We also invite panels that consider this and related themes.

ASWAD will be celebrating its 15th anniversary during the 2015 conference and invites panels that consider the field of African Diaspora Studies, future trends and areas of interest. We will also feature an ASWAD Special Panel on “Methodologies, Epistemologies, and Pedagogies in African Diaspora Studies” as well as “Mentoring for our Future.”

Our conference program begins with concurrent Mentoring Sessions on the first day: 1) “Mentoring for Graduate Students” and 2)  "Mentoring for Post-doctorate and Junior Faculty."  Graduate students who wish to participate in these sessions are encouraged, although not required, to be panelists during the conference.  Like other participants, all participants in the Mentoring Sessions must be registered conference participants.  Deadlines for registration to participate in Mentoring Sessions coincide with other Program Committee deadlines noted below.

Instructions for Submission of Proposals
ASWAD’s Program Committee strongly prefers whole panel proposals rather than individual submissions.
  Panel submissions will be given priority in the review process.  Beginning October 13, 2014, the Program Committee will receive Panel Proposals of no more than 200 words for thematic panels consisting of three or a maximum of four speakers, including a possible discussant.  Proposals must also include paper abstracts of no more than 150 words and bios of no more than 50 words for each presenter. All participants must be members of ASWAD in good standing at the time of confirmation for participation.  The Call For Papers will close January 12, 2015 and acceptance notification is anticipated for February 16, 2015.  Confirmation of attendance and paid conference registration are both required by April 1, 2015.

For a list of potential panel topics, visit

Graduate Students/Post-Doctoral Scholars and Junior Faculty who wish to participate in the Mentoring Sessions should also register via this website. This must be completed no later than the close of the CFP on January 12, 2015.

Accommodations/Hotel Reservations: 
Conference Sessions will be held at the College of Charleston. Blocks of rooms have been reserved at three area hotels, but availability will diminish quickly. Please see the hotel information below. In order to receive the discounted rate, participants should use the code “ASWAD” and must make reservations by October 4, 2015.

Fairfield Inn and Suites
4841 Tanger Outlet Blvd North Charleston, SC 29418
Rate: $139

Crowne Plaza Charleston
4381 Tanger Outlet Blvd.
North Charleston, SC 29418
Rate: $139

Residence Inn
5035 International Blvd
North Charleston, SC 29418
Rate: $159

We look forward to a stimulating group of ASWAD panels in Charleston, South Carolina, November 4-7, 2015.

Program Committee:

Laura Rosanne Adderley, co-chair
Elisa Joy White, co-chair

Yvonne Daniel

Jualynne E. Dodson
Maha Maraoun
Deborah Thomas

Local Arrangements Committee:
Antonio D. Tillis
Margaret Washington

Conference Inquiries (other than proposal submission):
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