Third Toyin Falola Annual International Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora (TOFAC 2013), July Monday 1 to Wednesday 3, 2013


Venue: Conference Centre, Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria

Arrival date: Sunday, June 30, 2013 Departure date: Thursday, July
4, 2013



Submission of Abstract, Due April 15th, 2013


While ethnicity has long been a staple analytical category of scholarly engagements on Africa and Africa-descended worlds, sparking rich, variegated conversations on its many referents and meanings, scholars of Africa and its vast diaspora have rarely conceptualized race as a stand-alone unit of Africanist analysis outside the familiar templates of colonial and neocolonial binaries, and outside of oppressive Euro-American racial formations such as apartheid, plantation slavery, and Jim Crow. Nor have they seriously considered how the emerging grid of place as a physical, imagined, and aspirational representation of self and the other might complicate notions of ethnic identity and racial awareness.

The conveners of the Toyin Falola Annual Conference (TOFAC) solicit abstracts that address one or more of our sub-themes from empirical and theoretical perspectives. Papers may use the subthemes as framing devices and as touchstones for exploring diverse African and African Diasporic realities either separately or as a cluster. Alternatively, they may explore concepts that derive from or catalyze racial imaginations, ethnic consciousness, and a fixed or dynamic sense of place. Our view of the broad theme is that it is at once elastic and restrictive, and that authors’ scholarly imaginations should define the parameters of how ethnicity, race, and place should be understood and how the epistemological relationship between all three can be posited.

Clearly, ethnicity is an expansive category. It encompasses a plethora of representational practices, textual productions, material cultures, symbols, aspirations, cultural retentions and mixtures, religious belief, and forms of political negotiation. These elements are individually or collectively mobilized to articulate a coherent narrative of identity and solidarity, however transient such a narrative may be. Taken together or unpacked for separate engagement, these constitutive elements of ethnicity offer the space for rich multidisciplinary analyses. They can foreground, and can be applied to, empirical and conceptual inquiries in many fields in the social sciences and the humanities. Although we welcome papers that address ethnicity and its corollaries from parochial disciplinary methodologies, we encourage authors to imagine a multidisciplinary audience for their papers and to cultivate analytical approaches that would spark cross-disciplinary conversations.

Scholars of Africa and of the African Diaspora spawned by slavery, colonialism, trade, exile, economic hardship, opportunity, adventure, and post-colonial migration, have yet to systematically grapple with the place of race, race consciousness, and constructions of racial communities and attributes in the evolution of African cultures and experiences around the world. Yet racial ideas, not just reactive ideas about racial solidarity, but proactively constructed notions of intra-racial difference have proliferated in the texts and conversations of global black elites, intellectuals, and black communities around the world. This development has in turn given political and social valence to ideas and debates about black authenticity, race treachery, racial integration and separatism, compromise and resistance, and even the philosophical implications of skin lightening, hair straightening, and other bodily practices among black folk. Differing understandings of racial destiny, black victimhood, black racial purity, and the intertwinement of authenticity and place of origin have become subjects of discussion in global black intellectual circles. Moreover, beyond the familiar analysis of the complex and at times difficult legacies of European-African, Asian-African, and Arab-African encounters and miscegenation in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the New World, recent studies have begun to unearth elaborate racial claims and narratives of racial differentiation within “African” communities and in “African” zones of contact previously narrated homogeneously into an African racial formation.

Some questions are already framing discussions of the role of race and racial constructs in the study of African communities around the world; questions about whether the Sahara, Indian Ocean, and certain sectors of the Red Sea constitute a racial divide that disturb the geographical continuum of Africa; whether Africa is a byword for “black” and if so what “black” means in light of its obvious exclusion of “white” Africans; whether the field of play between race and ethnicity is narrow or wide; whether we can posit intra-black racism as a phenomenon; whether a black racial essence exists that connects Africa to its diaspora and produces trans-oceanic communities of solidarity; whether continental Africans and diaspora Africans relate to race and racism differently and/or have
different racial imaginations that may engender intra-racial tensions; whether xenophobia and native/immigrant tensions are sustained by popular racial and ethnic stereotypes or are grounded in real differences within black communities; whether immigrant and native-born blacks can work together to pursue agendas specific to their common interests in white-dominated power structures like the United States; whether the fault lines of some conflicts in Africa correspond to a clichéd understanding of racial difference between Africans and Arabs; and whether intra-African racial claims are stand-ins for other aspirations or deserve to be understood on their own racial merits.

We encourage authors to propose papers that explore race, racial politics, and racial transformation in the context of Africa’s encounter with the world outside, in the context of oppression, in the context of the racialization of ethnic difference, in the context of post-slavery and emancipation, and in the context of identity construction in response to colonial and postcolonial policies of differentiation and privilege.

Our conception of place ties in with the provocative outlines articulated above on race and ethnicity. We understand place to be a physical, mental, and ideological location or situation in which significant sociopolitical, economic, and emotional investments have been made. These investments often define the contours of identity, serving as anchors and referents for a variety of identity practices, including racial and ethnic self-representation. We acknowledge, however, that “place,” its connotations, and the semiotic burdens it is often called upon to bear are always changing. We therefore welcome papers that radically redefine “place,” “home,” “location,” “origin,” and related idioms of affiliation and affinity.

Finally, we encourage ambitious proposals that bring our three subthemes into productive and insightful dialogue. The choice of doing this through empirical inquiry or conceptual reflections or both lies with the author.

Abstracts may investigate and explore one or more of the following topics:

  • Ethnic Associations
  • Ethnic Nationalism
  • Language Politics
  • Ethnicity and Colonization
  • Ethnicity and slavery
  • Ethnicity and slave culture
  • Ethnicity and slave religion
  • Politicized Ethnicity
  • Ethnic Politics
  • Ethnic Literatures
  • Ethno-religious imaginations
  • Ethno-religious violence
  • Ethno-religious communities
  • Linguistic politics
  • Language and ethnic solidarity
  • Ethnicity and civil war
  • Ethnicity and electoral contest
  • Ethnic cleansing
  • Genocide
  • Civil war
  • Racial authenticity
  • Intra-racial tensions
  • Racialization of difference
  • Arabs and Africans
  • Afro-Arab solidarity and conflict
  • Berber identity/nationalism
  • Tuareg identity/nationalism
  • African-Diasporan tensions
  • Intra-racial stereotypes
  • Racial Writings
  • Racial representations
  • Race and African identity
  • Racism
  • Racial mixture
  • Miscegenation
  • Luso-African communities
  • Mixed race communities and social consciousness
  • Racial revolutions
  • Afrocentrism
  • Black power
  • Black nationalism
  • Black separatism
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Race and religion
  • Race and Pan-Africanism
  • Racial origins
  • Race and civilization
  • Nilo-centric theories
  • Ancient Egypt in Africa
  • Race in Ancient Africa
  • Afro-Arab borderlands
  • Xenophobia in Africa
  • White Africa
  • Apartheid and Post-Apartheid
  • Home Exile (or Self Alienation)
  • Exile-Exile (or Alienated Exile)
  • Exilic Experience
  • Origins
  • Ancestry
  • Local and global identities
  • Rural and urban spaces
  • Consciousness
  • Spatial identities
  • Territorial struggles
  • Land politics
  • Displacement and dispossession
  • Refugees
  • Domesticity
  • Gendered space
  • Mobility and migration
  • Orientalism
  • New Diaspora – Africa in China, etc
  • Religious pilgrimage
  • Changing concepts of home
  • Generational dynamics

Participants will be drawn from different parts of the world. Graduate students are encouraged to attend and present papers. The conference will provide time for scholars from various disciplines and geographical locations to interact, exchange ideas, and receive feedback. Submitted papers will be assigned to particular panels according to similarities in theme, topic, discipline, or geographical location. Additionally, selected papers will be published in book form.

The deadline for submitting abstracts/proposals of not more than 250 words, is April 15, 2013. It should include the title, the author’s name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, and institutional affiliation. Abstracts should be saved with the author’s names as it appears on the abstract. Please submit all abstracts to the following:

* *

Professor Ademola Dasylva e-mail:

All inquiries should be directed to Dr. Mrs Doyin Aguoru,
Mobile phone: +234(0)703 504 7854


For regular update on the conference information visit:

A mandatory non-refundable registration fee (ICSG/TOFAC administrative charges) of ten thousand Naira (N10, 000) (for participants from Nigeria and other African countries) and $100 (for participants from USA, Europe, and Asia) must be paid immediately an abstract is accepted. The Registration fee covers conference bag, tag, jotter and biro, lunch and tea/coffee break throughout the conference duration.

Accommodation: i) LCU Guest House; ii) Hotels

TOFAC 2013 HOST, LEAD CITY UNIVERSITY has graciously made available some rooms from its Guest House, gratis, to registered participants: 25 rooms for registered participants from US, Europe, Asia. 20 rooms for registered participants from Africa, including Nigeria, on first-register-first-served basis. However, they will be responsible for breakfast, which the Catering department will be too willing to provide on request.

For other participants who are unable to make the LCU-free-guest rooms list, there are two options:
i) LCU has a few rooms available in the students’ hostels (some single rooms, some shared rooms) that can accommodate about a hundred participants at a token fee each, on request;
ii) hotel rooms are available for other participants who may prefer to stay in near-by hotels at very friendly and negotiated charges where they can be conveyed by the conference vans on arrival. Married couples shall be encouraged to stay together in a room. Joint authors, unless they register separately, will be entitled to a lunch plate, a pack of conference materials, and a single room (for joint-authors), provided they register early enough to qualify for LCU guest rooms.

Airport Pick-up Logistics:

Arrangement for the Airport pick up is currently being perfected for participants from US, Europe, Asia and other parts of Africa (not participants from Nigeria). Although there will be airport pick up arrangement for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, for this category of participants, they are advised, where possible or practicable, to make their arrival to Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, Nigeria to coincide with the conference arrival date of Sunday, 30 June, 2013.

It is expected that all participants will raise the funding for their air-ticket/transportation to attend the conference.

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Moses Ochonu, Vanderbilt University
Prof. Ken Harrow, Michigan State University
Publication of Peer-reviewed papers: Africa World Press and the Carolina Academic Press will publish the best papers selected from the conference.

Please visit TOFAC website regularly, for update on further information on TOFAC 2013.

TOFAC Representatives in the United States:

Ms. Lady Jane Acquah
Prof. Julius Adekunle (


Prof. Ademola O. Dasylva, Redeemer’s University, Mowe, Ogun State, Nigeria (TOFAC Board Chairman and Convener)

Prof. Ayo Olukotun, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Entreneurial Studies, Lead City University, Ibadan.

Dr. Doyin Aguoru, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria.

Dr. Mark Ighile, Redeemer’s University, Mowe, Ogun State, Nigeria

Dr. Anya Egwu, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.


Lady Jane Acquah.


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