Tennessee State University

The Annual Africa Conference

Conference Logo 2022Welcome to the homepage of the Annual Africa Conference at Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee. Each year the department hosts academics, independent scholars, policymakers, and graduate students in an international conference on various themes on African and Diasporan African history and related subjects. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit abstracts relevant to the theme of the current conference.

The 2023 Conference Announcement & Call for Papers
Theme: "Popular Culture in Africa and the African Diaspora"
Conference Dates: April 6 -8, 2023
Conference Format: Virtual (via the Zoom Platform)

The African world, both in its continental and diasporic spaces, has always had a dynamic cultural tradition, which, like other societies of the world, is ever evolving, reinventing, and transforming. Youth identity and expressions have particularly been major and forceful catalysts of contemporary urban popular culture in Africa and the African Diaspora. The expression of popular culture particularly in Africa, while rooted in African consciousness and developed from African historical experiences and social and cultural systems, has been most profoundly influenced by a consistent bombardment of foreign cultural values, mainly from the Global North. In the contemporary cyberculture age, such global cultural influences and interventions have resulted in the advancement of popular culture, often at the expense of local traditions. However, the mix of local and cultural foreign identities in African popular culture is only indicative of the adaptiveness of the African contemporary culture and, possibly a sign of glocalization.

In the African Diaspora, as reflected in the United States, for instance, Black cultural expressions have significantly shaped all subsets of contemporary American popular culture. This has happened despite the long history of the subjugation of Black people to enslavement, Jim Crow segregation, and residual institutionalized racism, all of which have denied the reality and authenticity of Black culture. Resistance to racial oppression is a major factor in the production of various forms of Black popular culture. It is particularly evident in music, for instance, where jazz and blues and contemporary rap grew out of the frustration of the Black community. In other parts of the African Diaspora, Black influences on popular culture have been multifaceted and profound.

The 2023 conference will provide a platform for participants to critically examine the multidimensional curves of popular culture in Africa and the African Diaspora. Popular culture encompasses cultural representations in many dimensions including entertainment forms, media formats, leisure activities, fashion style, and other cultural indices in a fashion that embodies mass appeal and visibility. Sub-themes and potential topics around which the conference is organized may include but are not limited to the following:

Dance and Performing Art
Music in Traditional, Modern, and Contemporary Forms
Impact of the Internet and Digital Culture
Literature and Creative Writing
Cinema, Movies, and the Film Industry
Popular Culture and Gender and Sexuality
Graphic Art, Comic Art, and Photography
Fashion, Styles, and Trends
Festivals, Carnivals, and Ceremonies
Black Music during Enslavement
Traditional and Modern Theatres
Nightclub, Sitcom, and other forms of Entertainment
Radio and Television in Popular Culture
Advertising and Consumption Culture
Religion and Gospel Music and Songs
Social Parties and the Culture of Money Spraying in Africa
Jazz, Blues, and African American History and Culture
Popular Culture and Counterculture
Traditional and Contemporary Art in Multiple Genres
Culture and Crafts in Historical Perspective
Popular Culture and Criminality
Popular Culture Movements in History
Popular Culture and Politics and Governance
Youth Culture and Urban Spaces
Popular Culture, Sports, and Recreation
The Film Industry in Africa: Nollywood, Ghollywood, etc.
Social Media and Popular Culture
Cartoons, Graphic Works, and Comics
Philosophy, Legality, and Popular Culture
Science, Technology, and Popular Culture
Pop Icons and Celebrities
Popular Culture and Globalization in Africa
Popular Culture and Local Customs and Traditions
Popular Culture and Peace and Conflict
Western Pop Culture and African Variants
Popular Culture, The Digital Divide and Rural Marginalization

Abstracts/Panel proposals
Each prospective presenter should electronically submit an abstract of no more than 500 words by Jan. 31, 2023. Abstract prepared as Microsoft Word document should include the following information:

1.   Presenter’s name with last name (surname) underlined.
2.   Title of paper.
3.   Institutional affiliation of each presenter.
4.   Contact information (mailing address, phone number, and email address).

Note that the submission of an abstract automatically grants conference organizers the right to publish it in the conference program and website.

Submit an abstract  

Mandatory non-refundable registration fees for the conference are:
Regular: $50 by Jan. 31, 2023; late: $60 by Mar. 15, 2023
Graduate Students: $25 by Jan. 31, 2023; late: $30 by Mar. 15, 2023

Registration payment is accepted in two ways:

1. By check: Mail check payable to "Tennessee State University" to:
The Annual Africa Conference
Department of History, Political Science, Geography, & Africana Studies
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37209

2. Online: Click this link.
Follow the instructions on the link to make your payment.

Conference Program

Dr. Adebayo Oyebade
Professor of History & Department Chair

Dr. Gashawbeza Bekele
Professor of Geography

Conference Venue
Virtual for 2023 conference

Keynote Address Video Link