EVENT May 20
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Old and new African Diaspora Networks: Intersections, Distinctions and Strategies

University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Organization: African Centre for the Study of the United
Categories: Digital Humanities, Graduate Conference, American, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, Popular Culture, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2020-05-20 to 2020-05-21 Abstract Due: 2020-04-01

The conference will bring together scholars and intellectuals from the African diaspora, and/or those engaged in African diaspora research and engagement. It will offer perspectives on old and new diaspora from various theoretical, conceptual and disciplinary perspectives. The aim is to generate new knowledge that can inform not only scholarship but also work in the policy/government, civil society and business spheres.

The conference is calibrated as an interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary congregation. Multiple viewpoints from which old and new diaspora can be explained and comprehended will be presented.


The conference builds on the May 2019 symposium entitled “the African Year of Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons: Africa-UN-US Intersections” held at Wits University in partnership with the African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS) and the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN). The 2019 symposium was broad in nature, covering a wide range of migrations issues, topics and themes. Narrowing focus onto the past and present African diaspora, the May 2020 conference is being organised with a multiple partnership bringing together the following organisations:

  • The African Centre for the Study of the United States, Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • The African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, New York, USA
  • The African Studies Centre and the Alliance for African Partnerships both based at Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, USA
  • The Africa Institute at the American Jewish Committee (AJC), New York, USA
  •  The Institute for African Studies at the George Washington University, Washington DC, USA
  •  The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), Wits University, Johannesburg, South Africa
  •  The Kenya Diaspora Association (KDA), Nairobi, Kenya
  • Harvard University Centre for African Studies
  • Global Governance Africa     


The conference invites abstract submissions of   300 words on one or more of the following topics:


  • The notions of “Africans in diaspora” and “the diaspora and Africa”
  •  Geographical, cultural, political and economic dimensions
  •  Identity and allegiances
  • Spatial and temporal considerations
  • Distinctions between old and new diaspora
  •  Convergences between old and new diaspora
  • Digital diaspora
  •  Diaspora, soft power and public diplomacy
  •  Intra-Africa migrations and diaspora
  • Brain drain versus brain gain
  •  Comparative analyses (with European, Asian, Semitic, etc.) diasporas  
  • Conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches
  • The place for inter-disciplinary studies
  •  Country and regional case studies
  •  Diaspora networks and interests
  •  Pan-Africanism
  • Perceptions and image
  • Diaspora and global, regional, national and local policies and strategies
  •   Links between universities


The abstracts should be submitted by 1st April 2020 to ACSUS.research@wits.ac.za. Please also cc  Dr. Adam Levin (adam.levin2@wits.ac.za) when submitting. 


Please take note of the following information:

Important dates

1 April 2020: Abstracts submission deadline

10 April 2020: Notice of acceptance

5th May 2020: Registration deadline


Registration Fees

  • Senior and established scholars: $200
  • Non-academic participants, diplomats, civil society, techies:$200
  • Early career scholars (postdoc, recent doctoral graduates): $100
  • Students (Honours, Masters, Doctoral): $50

For more information please contact Dr. Adam Levin at adam.levin2@wits.ac.za.








Adam Levin