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2024 African Studies Association (ASA) Annual Meeting

December 12 December 14

THEME: Global Africa

Global Africa means that Africa is the continent not only of the future, but of now. The current signals are unmissable. Africa’s global youth are shaping and participating in global conversations about social justice, democracy, development, decolonization, technology, migration, popular cultures, scientific innovation, and local and international policies about these. Challenges to electoralism and liberal democracy on the continent have shaken the assumed hegemony that major Western powers held in African locations and led to the rethinking of democracy. When COVID-19 devastated the world, continental Africa provided an exception to theories of the causes and mechanisms of the virus’s spread and impact, spurring scientific research and inspiring solutions to be applied globally. In every corner of the globe, Africa and its diaspora dominate popular cultures—music, fashion, the arts, performance, food and cookery, and so on. Sighing under the growing crush of climate change’s effects, the world is turning to African ecosystems, indigenous knowledges, and African communities and governments for solutions to bolster global efforts at climate change mitigation. Africa’s vast natural resources have and continue to be vital for global wealth creation, scientific progress, and the technological advancement of the world. The Russia-Ukraine war forced international organizations to recognize and critique the mechanisms and channels by which the European conflict created acute food insecurity in Africa more than anywhere else. South-South cooperation at platforms such as BRICS have had to contend with the question of how to meaningfully include and balance the sheer power and potential of African nations in the organization’s efforts to expand. As the Israel-Gaza war began to rage, the world began to (re)interrogate extant notions of freedom, colonialism, racism, apartheid, decolonization, genocide, and war crimes, mirroring Africa’s own longstanding and constant grappling with these issues in light of its history and international relations. In sum, past and present global trajectories, problems, and even the existence of humanity, require us to contemplate Global Africa.

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