Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
The Annual Africa Conference

April 10, 2015


The Department of History, Political Science, Geography, & Africana Studies at Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee, invites academics, independent scholars, policymakers, and graduate students to present papers at its third annual conference on the theme:

The Struggle for Human and Civil Rights in Africa and the African Diaspora in Historical Perspective 

  A little over two decades ago (1993), a newly enacted constitution in South Africa guaranteed universal adult suffrage and, ipso facto, allowed the hitherto disfranchised black South Africans to vote in the country’s first nonracial election the following year. Earlier, fifty years ago in the United States, the passing of the landmark legislation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, also enfranchised American Blacks who had been historically denied free vote. While colonial racist laws and practices oppressed Africans on the continent, Jim Crow regulations denied African Americans, particularly in the South, their civil rights. The struggle for human and civil rights, indeed, constitutes a defining theme in the historical experiences of African people and their descendants in the Diaspora. But far from being anachronistic, this narrative has, at least in subtle ways, continued to define the historical panorama of contemporary Black/African world. The fiftieth anniversary in 2015, of the Voting Rights Act, a milestone in Black struggles to attain denied rights, provides an opportunity to explore the important subject of civil and human rights in historical perspective. Thus this year’s Africa Conference will offer a unique platform for scholars from various disciplines and other participants to dialogue on issues pertinent to human and civil rights in Africa and the African Diaspora. The struggle for civil and human rights certainly has a multi-dimensional framework; hence, the conference invites papers of historical and contemporary relevance to the broad theme. Potential topics for presentation may include but are not limited to the following:

Enslavement, segregation, and racial discrimination
Racism and European colonial repression
Anti-colonial movements and national liberation wars
State repression in the modern state and resistance by civil society
The debate over rights in the LGBT Community
Genocide, wars, and crimes against humanity
Modern slavery forms and human trafficking
Children and women’s rights
Police brutality and racial profiling
Poverty and economic inequality
Access to healthcare
Minority rights: ethnic, creed, and gender
Freedom of expression, rule of law, and democratization
Conflicts and conflict resolution
The justice system and rights
Leadership in civil and human rights struggles
The West and the advocacy of human rights
Freedom of expression and social justice
Contemporary disfranchisement and electoral malpractices

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Bessie House-Soremekun
Professor and Director, the Africana Studies Program, and Founding Executive Director
Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development
School of Liberal Arts
Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN

Guest Speaker
Mrs. Elizabeth McClain
Civil rights activist and retired Professor of African American History
Department of History, Geography, Political Science, and & Africana Studies
Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN

Date of Conference
Friday, April 10, 2015


Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, Tennessee 37209-1561


Dr. Adebayo Oyebade
Professor of History
Tennessee State University
Nashville, TN 37209

Dr. Gashawbeza Bekele
Assistant Professor of Geography
Tennessee State University
Nashville, TN 37209 gbekele@tnstate.edu

Abstracts/Panel proposals
Each prospective presenter should submit electronically an abstract of 500 words or less to either of the conveners by Friday, Nov. 28, 2014. Abstract prepared as Microsoft Word document should include the presenter’s name, title of paper, institutional affiliation, and contact information (mailing address, phone number, and email address). Please, note that submission of abstract automatically grants conference organizers the right to publish it in the conference program and website.

Conference Registration Fees
Mandatory non-refundable registration fees for the conference are:
Regular: $50 by Dec. 31; & $60 by Feb. 27 (banquet included).
Graduate Students: $25 by Dec. 31; & $30 by Feb. 27 (banquet included).
Banquet only: $25 by Feb. 13.
Please, make your check payable to Tennessee State University.

Publication of Selected Papers
Selected conference papers will be published as a book.

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