Centre for African Studies (LUCAS)

General enquiries

Leeds University Centre for African Studies
c/o POLIS,
Social Sciences Building,
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT

Tel: 0113 343 5069

LUCAS Schools Project coordinator

Richard Borowski

Finding Africas

CfP: Finding Africa seminar series 2018 – Theorising Africa: Reviewing a History of Ideas


Dear All,

Calling Africanists from all disciplines and departments, and those with an interest in broader issues surrounding African Studies:

Finding Africa is pleased to announce its seminar CFP for the academic year 2017/2018. Our topic is “Theorising Africa” and all topics are welcome.


                                    Finding Africa 2017/18 (UK)

Theorising Africa: Reviewing a History of Ideas

University of Leeds

Seminar Series 2018


The field of cultural theory has – for as long as it’s been a discipline – been dominated by Western epistemologies.  Our ways of knowing have, undoubtably, always required a framework through which they can be conceptualised – or even legitimised. The consequence of this institutionalisation of thought, which has its roots in a myriad of complex historical and structural implementations of power, is that other epistemologies often get overlooked or even rebranded under different names or theories, at the behest of fitting the demands and criteria of Western academe. The notion of a history of ideas that is grounded in a Euro-American paradigm obscures, and limits, our understanding of and engagement with the multiplicities of meaning at work in cultural analysis. Theorising Africa seeks to explore what it means to be human, to be a member of society, through the exploration of identity, aesthetics, and politics by placing cultural theory and African epistemic frameworks in dialogue.

The concept of Ubuntu finds its distorted counterpart in some versions of post-humanist thought. Ideas of community deriving from Igbo cosmology similarly find their traces – albeit inversely – in much of the discourses pertaining to community building in the fields of cultural theory, law, and literature. Subverting the closure inherent in binary oppositions, we seek to bridge the divide that has so far disadvantaged African epistemologies on the academic platform, entering into dialogue and engaging with a richly diverse history of ideas.

For this seminar series we are interested in looking to Africa for its history of ideas: How has African thought transcended boundaries and how can it continue to do so? What can African thought contribute to the many blind spots in the fields of cultural theory? How can these contributions account for the work of knowledge-making? In what ways are these contributions necessary?

We seek papers and proposals on topics including, but not limited to:

·         African literary theory

·         Reframing the history of ideas – philosophical interrogations

·         Cultural analysis

·         Psychoanalysis

·         African Futures

·         Law

·         Politics and bio-violence

·         Feminisms and policy

·         Community building

·         The creaturely

·         Animism

·         Theology

·         Art History

·         Challenges to the legacy of the writer

·         Any non-conforming inquiry which doesn’t fall into a field

Please get in touch with proposals (max 300 words + bio) in Word format to findingpocoafrica@gmail.com by 10 January 2018.

Finding Africa

United Kingdom & South Africa


Twitter: @findingafrica


This entry was posted in Finding Africas, Leeds, Research, Seminars.

Finding Africa – African Feminisms seminar series 2017

This entry was posted in Finding Africas, LUCAS, Seminars.

Finding Africa seminar series 2016-17 CfP: African Feminisms

Finding Africa 2016/17 (UK) – African Feminisms

African feminisms have, from the beginning, been grounded in an inclusive and intersectional discourse which seeks to challenge and unravel patriarchal, political, existential, and philosophical imbalances in society. As such they have been instrumental in bringing into question some of the ‘blind spots’ and prejudices embedded in Western feminisms. In light of current debates on decolonisation and the continued interest in intersectional politics in the global sphere, Finding Africa invites researchers to propose papers which centre on the theme of African feminisms in any field of the humanities.

Accepted submissions from the UK will comprise the lineup of the next round of seminars co-hosted with the University of Leeds’ Centre for African Studies (LUCAS) in 2017. A second call for submissions from South Africa will be made shortly.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

Intersectionality and African Feminisms

Womanism in Contemporary African Feminism

The Future of African Feminisms

Human Rights and African Feminism

African Feminisms and Curricula

Contemporary African Feminisms

African Feminisms in the West

Philosophy and African Feminisms

African Feminist Manifestos

The Psychology of African Feminisms

African Feminist Literature

African Feminisms and Disability

Guide for authors:

All submissions should be 250 word abstracts in Word format emailed to findingpocoafrica@gmail.com by 20 November 2016.

This entry was posted in Finding Africas, LUCAS, Research, Seminars.

Next Finding Africa seminar – 24 May

Liberating the Female Voice from the Patriarchal Order of the South African Pastoral Tradition: Anne Landsman’s The Devil’s Chimney by Ruth Daly

The next Finding Africa seminar, hosted in association with the University of Leeds’ Centre for African Studies (LUCAS), will be on 24 May 2016. Ruth Daly will present a reading of Anne Landsman’s The Devil’s Chimney in her paper titled ‘Liberating the Female Voice from the Patriarchal Order of the South African Pastoral Tradition’.

The seminar will take place on 24 May 2016 at 4pm in Seminar Room 1 of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (physical address: 31-2 Clarendon Place, Leeds). Entrance is free and all are welcome.


Literariness takes precedence over fiction as social document in Anne Landsman’s The Devil’s Chimney, a text which engages with storytelling as a means of escape from hegemonic control. Landsman’s iconoclastic novel echoes the feminist-socialist model of Olive Schreiner, dismantling constructed binaries of sexuality, gender, and race. Dominant myths of the pastoral genre are deconstructed from within in playful and innovative ways. While an undermining of the plaasroman is not new to South African writing, I propose that Landsman’s re-writing of the genre takes it into a new literary sphere in its suggestion of a new symbolic order, one in which ‘women’s [inexhaustible] imaginary’ is explored. This paper will offer a reading of the novel through the lens of French feminist psychoanalytic theory in an attempt to examine the ways in which this new symbolic order is suggested.

About Ruth Daly



Ruth Daly is a PhD student in the School of English at University of Leeds. Her research interests include postcolonial literature, psychoanalytic theory, feminisms, and social and political concerns in post-conflict societies.

 The original planned Finding Africas seminar with Matthew Lecznar has been postponed to a future date.

This entry was posted in Finding Africas, Seminars.

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