[URBANTH-L] CFP: African Cities: Colonial Speculum and Post-Colonial Urbanism

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Wed Jan 18 17:47:13 EST 2006

African Cities: Colonial Speculum and Post-Colonial Urbanism

Call for Papers

African Cities: Colonial Speculum and Post-Colonial Urbanism

The Editors of African Identities and the Center for Black Diaspora, DePaul
University are pleased to announce a special issue of the journal devoted to
exploring African Cities: Colonial Speculum and Post-Colonial Urbanism. The
special issue seeks to explore the physical and social construction of
African cities and the dense web of intricate social relations, flows,
exchanges, appropriations and adoptions that constantly shape and reshape
their diverse geographical and social spaces.

In much of the literature on African cities which was derived from the early
20th century urban theory, the primary emphasis has been to generalize about
the development of cities at different stages in history as spatially
bounded entities, imprinted with a particular way of life as well as a
distinct spatial and social divisions of labor. Given this framework,
current literature of African cities retains a focus firmly rooted in
characterizing African cities as sites of urban disorder, chaos,
ungovernability, poverty, physical and symbolic violence. These images of
African cities are reproduced and mediated by a grid of knowledge that
privileges a particular form of city building processes which developed in
Europe and North America. Criticism of this form of urban representation of
African cities is extensive, yet the problem of African urbanity both in its
colonial and post-colonial urban forms remains under theorized.
There is therefore an urgent need to explore the nature of African cities.
In part, because African cities are moving away from the "nation building"
project assigned to them by the colonial powers and post-colonial states, to
spaces in which African inhabitants are reconfiguring and remaking urban
worlds, deploying their own forms of urbanity born out of their historical
and material circumstances. It is in these new dense urban spaces with all
their contradictions that urban Africans are reworking their local
identities, building families, and weaving autonomous communities of
solidarity made fragile by neo-liberal states. Urban Africans throughout the
continent are creating and recreating dense social networks, flows,
exchanges, and knowledge with their own architectural and urban development
imprints. 1 Indeed, the pace of the new forms of African urbanity has
accelerate in recent years by the deepening political and social crisis that
has engulfed African cities. We are seeking articles that examine the
significance of African urbanitiy, its complexity and vitality in a single
region, social or historical context. Throughout the continent, urban
Africans despite diminishing resources are appropriating and transforming
the colonial city and its ideal of modernity.

Articles should be between 6500-8000 words inclusive of notes and
references, accompanied by disc in Microsoft Word. Articles may include
black and white images scanned to disk at 300dpi. Manuscripts MUST conform
to Harvard Reference style.

They should be double-spaced throughout (including notes and references).
Because manuscripts are reviewed blind, the author's name, affiliations,
address, telephone and, fax numbers
The deadline for submission is May 30, 2006.

Manuscripts for the special issue of African Identities should be sent
directly to the Guest Editor:
Fassil Demissie, Guest Editor
Public Policy Studies, DePaul University
2320 North Clifton Avenue, Room 150.1
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 325-7356
Fax: (773) 325-7514
Email: fdemissi at depaul.edu

African Identities is a peer reviewed international cademic journal that
provides a critical forum for examination of African and diasporic
expressions, representations and identities. The aim of the journal is to
open up various horizons of the field through multidisciplinary approaches:
to encourage the development of theory and practice on the wider spread of
disciplinary approach: to promote conceptual innovation and to provide a
venue for entry of new perspectives. The journal focuses on the myriad of
ways in which cultural productions create zones of profound expressive
possibilities by continually generating texts and contexts of reflective
With an emphasis on gender, class, nation, marginalization, 'otherness' and
difference, the journal explore how African identities, either by force or
contingency, create terrains of (ex)change, decenter dominant meanings,
paradigms and certainties.

Fassil Demissie, Ph.D
Associate Professor
DePaul University
2352 N. Clifton Ave, Suite 150.1
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Email: fdemissi at depaul.edu
Visit the website at http://condor.depaul.edu/~diaspora

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