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ECAS 2019 - Africa : Connections and Disruptions

Edinburgh, June 11-14 2019

Africa has witnessed substantial continuities, and acute ruptures. The continent is home to unchanging processes that have prevailed for millennia, and other movements that are in a state of flux. Africa’s connections and disruptions are both enduring and novel. Moreover, the relative weight attached to each element, and the perceived relationship between them varies greatly depending on the positionality of the observer : from the colonial administrator, to the African farmer, to the entrepreneur, to the nurse, to the politician, to the preacher, to the civil servant, to the LGBTQ campaigner, to the aid worker.

A multiplicity of connections exist within, between, and beyond Africa. They can be fundamental or mundane, and shift in ways that are sudden and spectacular, or subtle and underwhelming. With connection comes a disruption ; and with disruption comes a connection. Studying these connections and disruptions invites a new way of seeing time and space as socially constructed and never uncontested. It also raises many questions : who or what is brought together or driven apart ? What forces are driving the process ? Why do tipping points emerge at particular junctures ? What are the intended and unintended consequences of these pivotal moments ?

Connections and disruptions form and inform debates at the African local and at the global level : They are addressed in the decolonization of the academy, in the questions over who is connected to which conversations and who is denied.

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