[URBANTH-L]Two CFPs: Cities and African/African-American History

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Tue Feb 22 21:11:52 EST 2005

1. Graduate History Conference, "Southern Black Rural and Urban Communities"
2. Colonial Architecture and Urbanism in Africa: Intertwined and Contested
1. Graduate History Conference, "Southern Black Rural and Urban Communities"

The Graduate Association for African-American History (GAAAH) at the
University of Memphis invites graduate students at all levels to
submit proposals for its Seventh Annual Graduate History Conference
to be held September 29-30, 2005 in Memphis, Tennessee.

The theme of this year's conference is Southern Black Rural and Urban
Communities. We welcome the submission of individual papers, complete
sessions, workshops, and roundtables on all topics relating to the
scholarship and teaching of the history of African-Americans across a
range of time periods and contexts. We hope to elicit the
participation of graduate students who represent a broad range of
disciplinary and methodological approaches.

Individual paper proposals should include a 300-word abstract; author
contact information, including a paper title; postal address and
e-mail address; and a one page cv. The organizers of complete
sessions should send, in a single submission, abstracts and cvs for
each of the paper presenters; cvs for the session chair and
commentator; and a 200-word description of the session. All
submissions should include contact information for all participants.
Please list audio-visual requirements, if any.

The submission deadline is August 29, 2004. Please submit all
proposals by mail to Reginald Ellis, University of Memphis,
Department of History, 147 Mitchell Hall, Memphis, TN 38152 or email
rellis1 at memphis.edu. For questions, you also may call (901)678-1744
or (901)678-2515.


2. Colonial Architecture and Urbanism in Africa: Intertwined and Contested

 Abstracts and manuscripts is being solicited for a book on Colonial
Architecture and Urbanism in Africa: Intertwined and Contested Histories.
The volume aims explore the cultural role of colonial architecture and
urbanism in the production of meanings, in the inscription of power and
discipline, as well as in the dynamic construction of identities. Like other
colonial institutions such as the courts, police, prisons, and schools that
were crucial in establishing and maintaining political domination, colonial
architecture and urban planning played pivotal roles in shaping the spatial
and social structures of African cities during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The study of architecture and urbanism in the historiography of colonial
Africa with few exceptions has received scant attention partly because
historians tend to minimize the relationship between built environment and
colonialism. Even when architecture and urban planning has been the focus of
inquiry, the relationship between architecture and urbanism on one hand and
colonialism on the other has not clearly delineated and carefully studied.
Historically, the literature on the subject treats colonial architecture and
urbanism as a reflection of economic interests of imperial powers. These
approaches emanate from the assumption that colonialism was essentially an
economic project. Thus, culture as a dynamic of that process largely remains
unexamined. The large body of work that has appeared in the past two decades
provides a framework, upon which this edited volume will be based, begins
from quite different assumptions: that is, it is precisely the cultural
dimension of colonialism that evinces its centrality in the development of
imperial identity and nationhood. As Dirks Nicholas (1992:1)) has suggested,
"colonialism not only has had cultural effects that have too often been
either ignored or displaced into the inexorable logics of modernization and
world capitalism, it was itself a cultural project of control." Colonial
knowledge both enabled colonial conquest and was produced by it; in certain
ways culture was what colonialism was all about". In a similar vein, Edward
Said (1993:11-12) has argued that the critical element of the cultural
sphere in the "process of imperialism" which occur by predisposition, by the
authority of recognizable cultural formations, by continuing consolidation
within education, literature, and visual and musical arts." While
acknowledging the importance of culture, Cooper and Stoler (1997:18)
emphasize that, "cultural work in which states engage and the moralizing
mission in which they invest are discursive fields both grounded and
constitutive of specific relations of production and exchange." These
scholars also caution us that the category of colonial project itself
includes a multitude of different practices, that colonial power is never
monolithic and changes over time, and that the resistance of colonized
subjects must always seen as part of the story.

Social historians of Africa have now begun to study the complex ways in
which colonial subjects contested the intricate workings of colonial power,
particularly in language, identity and in the reorganization of space
(Fabian 1986). By moving away from identifying discrete epochs of economic
changes, this new approach to inquiry examines the creation and recreation
of social boundaries, places of contest and their cultural representations,
as well as the process by which knowledge emerges as a particular "type of
power" (Foucault, 1980; Camoroff and Camoroff, 1991, Dirks, 1992). Thus the
new inquiry suggests a more complex way of considering colonialism and its
intricate modalities of power, the multilayered channels of its operation,
its disciplinary methods, the hierarchy of surveillance, inspection and
punishment by which its power has been inscribed in both time and space.

We welcome contributions that examine colonial architecture and urbanism in
Africa in a single region, social or historical context. Throughout colonial
Africa as it was true elsewhere, colonial architecture and urbanism assumed
different trajectories revealing important tensions, competing agendas of
settlers and metropolitan powers, doubts about the legitimacy of projects
and unpredictable responses from "unruly natives" which complicated the
original intention.

As a working hypothesis, colonial architecture and urbanism in Africa
created a built environment that fit discursively, into the administrative
apparatus of the empire: architecture and urbanism sought to project the
authority of the European powers at the same time stabilized the fragile
European identity at the colonial frontier; the intentional and semiotic
function of architecture and urbanism in the colonies made them an
appropriate sites for imperial projects; the production of buildings and
plans are themselves the outcome of social production and these 'texts'
reproduced the contradictions and limitations of the empire. Since Africans
were subjects of these architectural and urban planning schemes, they
responded in a variety of ways, which emerged out of their material and
historical circumstances. Subversion, accommodation, appropriation, neglect
and destruction were hidden transcripts to contest the hegemony of colonial
architecture and urban planning schemes.

In setting out to explore the connections, contributors are encouraged to
explore colonial architecture and urbanism as discursive cultural projects
in Africa. Like writing which was widely used by colonial powers to
appropriate people through the medium of writing and regulate their lives
through the world of writing (Hawkins, 2002), architecture and urban
planning also functioned in a similar way. More than other material
instruments of the empire, architecture and urbanism made the empire visible
and tangible. As "black mark on white paper" or "the world of drawing on
paper" architecture and urbanism sought to regulate the daily lives, habits
and desires of the indigenous people as well as European settlers. Indeed,
it was the cultural destination of architecture and urbanism and the
connection between them and colonialism that the volume seeks to broaden the

Our goal is to assemble 12 to 14 chapters for this volume that cover a wide
range of colonial cities and urbanism in Africa. Final submission should be
25-30 double-spaced pages. Drawing, maps and photographs are welcome.

The deadline for submission of title and abstract of proposed paper is June
15, 2005. Abstract of proposal should be 200 words. Completed manuscript,
February 15, 2006.

The University of South Africa Press has agreed to publish the volume. The
edited book on colonial architecture and urbanism will be of critical
importance to scholars and students of colonialism. It will also participate
in the ongoing debate on architectural, urban and postcolonial studies,
which seeks, in part to reconfigure modes of cultural analysis and academic
disciplines which focus on the operations of power and its deployment within
the field of architecture and urban planning in Africa and elsewhere in the

If you are interested in contributing to this volume, please contact:

Fassil Demissie
Public Policy Studies, Suite 150
DePaul University
2352 N. Clifton Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: 773-325-7356
Fax: 773-274-5244
Email: fdemissi at depaul.edu

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