Call for papers: Visiting Religion in “Global Africa”

The University of the Free State invites proposals for a conference to be held at the Black Mountain Leisure and Conference Hotel, Bloemfontein, South Africa from 24 September 2019 to 26 September 2019

Visiting Religion in “Global Africa”

1. Context

New dynamics in Africa, how religious groups organize themselves, how they relate to the state, each other and the broader society, the political and social issues around which they mobilize and engage, and how African governments are responding to their activities needs to be reflected not solely through the prism of security and violent extremist groups. Studies of “Global Africa” need to investigate the interplay between the religious, political or social experiences of Africans and the transformations of Africa in a globalized world. Africa has its own belief systems and practices yet for centuries has been visited by those religions born in the Middle East and Asia and exported to Africa by European and Asian missionaries and traders. Conversely, scholarship on religion for example global Islam,global Christianity, global Hinduism, global Buddhism and global Judaism tends to give the impression that Africa is a mere periphery of the so-called Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddha, Baha’i and Jewish worlds. As a result, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhaand Jewish Africa are often perceived as the continent other countries and networks act upon, with African Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddha,Baha’iand Jews often seen as passive consumers of foreign influences and pressures.Yet, scholarship on globalization of Africa has been focused either on merely describing (if not romanticizing) African experiences abroad, on one hand, or on exploring how societies in Africa are affected by global trends, on the other hand. Therefore, little attention has been paid to African practices, thoughts, and connections as these relate to both globalized and localized religious, social and political trends.This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the multiple dimensions of religion in “Global Africa”. We invite scholars to submit papers focusing on the meaning of religion and what it means to be African and Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddha, Baha’i, Jewish or any other religion; how this has been historically; and how it is being negotiated at the intersection of local, regional and global encounters, narratives, perceptions and exchanges.

While we welcome proposals focusing on Africa’s global and local interactions through circulations of people, ideas, goods, beliefs and practices in any time period, we especially encourage original research that investigates creatively the interplay between the religious, political or social experiences of African Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddha, Baha’i, Jewsand other religions and the transformations of such an Africa in a globalized world. We also hope to include papers which examine the importance of transnational religious networks in Africa and the role Africans play in global religious arenas.Questions that we seek to investigate include but are not limited to: How to account for the dynamics of continuity and change in forms of religious piety, authority and knowledge production in Africa, in a context of increased global connections? How do African Christians, Muslims, Hindu, Buddha, Jewsand others articulate their religious life in a globalized world? For Africans in the diaspora, how do links with their homelands and traditional beliefs and practices shape their relationship to religion? How do diasporic religious or non-religious experiences affect or alter aspects of lived religion in Africa? To what extent has the interaction between the so-called Christian, Muslim Hindu, Buddha,Baha’i and Jewish world and Africa shaped religious practices and thought or the perception of the so-called “Home-state” of their religion? How do Africans navigate notions of “Africa and Religion, faith, foreignness and modernity” in a globalized world? How does the racialization of the world due to religion play out in African contexts; conversely, how much of “the idea of the Religious world” intersect or conflict with conceptions of race, belonging or religious community in Africa?

2. Sample Agenda

This conference aims to examine those issues and place them within a much broader discussion of regional trends and dynamics.

Keynote Speakers
Roundtable 1, “The Diaspora in Africa: Broad Trends of Religion in Africa”
Roundtable 2, “The African Diaspora: Traditional beliefs and practices outside the continent”
Roundtable 3, “Theology as it is or as it should be”
Panel 1, “Modes of Engagement”
Panel 2, “Extremist Groups, Violence, and Security”
Panel 3, “Sectarianism, Identity and Conflict in Context”
Panel 5, “Leadership and Empowerment (including gender)”
Panel 6, “Daily life and practices”
Panel 7, “Religion vs the rest”
Panel 8, “Translation of the Religions: Literal and Implementation”
Panel 9, “God, Glory, Gold and Globalization”
Panel 10, “State and religion”
Panel 11, “Belief, faith, scriptures, the instruction manual, and the organization”
Visits to / by Religious Leaders and Organizations

3. Presentation formats

• Oral presentation – Take an advantage of oral presentation of your paper/ research on site and get the first-hand remarks and comments from the audience. Encourage a live discussion regarding the presented topic and network with other researchers and academics in the field of education and related areas, from around the globe.

• Video presentation – Registered presenters who are not able to attend the conference in person may opt for this presenting format. Participants will watch either your recorded presentation or will be following it through a live stream. They will be able to ask the questions either in a real time through the internet connection or may fill in the reflection forms which we will be mailing back to you, if requested.

• Poster presentation – Participants will get familiar with your research/ paper trough poster exhibition which will be available in the conference’s venue during the entire length of the program. Presenters will have an opportunity to discuss and explain their research in direct contact to the audience. Alternatively, if required by presenters, reflection forms can be distributed to the participating delegates, which will be mailed back to you after completed by the conference’s delegates.

5. Submission Guidelines

Paper proposals should be sent to and or before 31/03/2019.Proposals should include an abstract of no more than 300 words and a title, as well as the author’s name, email address, and institutional affiliation. Please also attach an updated Curriculum Vitae. Proposals from advanced graduate students and recent PhDs are especially welcomed. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by 30/04/2019. We expect those selected to submit a complete version of their paper to the conference organizers on or before 31/08/2019. Participants will be required to organize their own travel and accommodation. Accommodation will be at the conference venue – Black Mountain Leisure and Conference Hotel (see There will be a conference registration fee on a scale of student presenter, student non-presenter, presenter, non-presenter and exceptional for example proof of OAP or welfare. An edited book consisting of selected conference papers will be published following the conference.

6. Conference organizers

Dr. Glen Segell,
Prof. Hussein Solomon,

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