Tennessee State University

The 10th 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, professionals, 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 this years's conference.

The 2024 Conference Announcement & Call for Papers
Theme : "Resistance, Resilience, and the Unfinished Revolution: The Black Experience and the Struggle Against Oppression"
Dates: April 11 -12, 2024
Format: In-Person 

Keynote Speakers
1. Prof. Toyin Falola, University of Texas, Austin
2. Prof. Learotha Williams, Tennessee State University, Nashville
3. Prof. Tokunbo Ayoola, Anchor University, Lagos

The Black historical experience is marked by racial oppression and dominance across space and time, from centuries of enslavement in the African diaspora and half-a-century of colonial subjugation in Africa, to systemic racism which continues to marginalize Black people in various parts of the world. Concomitantly, the enduring struggle against Black subjugation is a dynamic and integral element of the history of Black people, profoundly shaping its trajectory and defining contemporary realities both on the African continent and within its diaspora.

Black responses to racial oppression have been multifaceted. The anti-colonial movement in Africa in the early 20th century was relatively moderate but later evolved into a more radical, even at times, violent expression in the nationalist movement of the post-World War II period. In the United States, the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, which initially relied on civil disobedience and was litigation-driven, increasingly took a more militant character by the late 1960s, in the form of Black Power. The more recent Black Lives Matter movement epitomizes ongoing resistance against racial disparities.

Although Black resistance to oppression is often defined along the contours of political and economic activism, the scope of this conference extends beyond these aspects. The 2024 conference will provide a platform for participants to critically examine various expressions of the struggle against oppression, including cultural nationalism. Furthermore, Black struggle for rights can also be constructed on terms more than racial. Led by civil society organizations and advocates of good governance, the growing resistance against authoritarian regimes and corrupt political elites in many parts of contemporary Africa, is an intrinsic component of the broader discourse on the struggle for rights among Black communities. The heightened demands from African nations, and more broadly from the Global South, to assume a more significant role in global governance, including the acquisition of permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, are also indicative of the ongoing struggle of Black communities against persistent marginalization. Thus, the conference will interrogate the multifaceted dimensions of the struggle against all forms of Black oppression from a historical perspective. Sub-themes and potential topics around which the conference is organized may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Responses to enslavement and other forms of servitude
  • Colonial resistance in Africa
  • The anti-colonial movement and nationalism in Africa
  • Decolonization in Africa
  • Armed struggle and wars of national liberation in Africa
  • Activism through the arts: dance, music, literature, and visual art
  • Pro-democracy campaigns and the democratization movement in Africa
  • The Civil Rights revolution and the Black Power movement in America
  • The Black Lives Matter movement
  • The anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa
  • Jim Crow segregation and Black struggles in the American South
  • Political activists: Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Kwame Nkrumah, Amílcar Cabral, Nelson Mandela, etc.
  • Cultural activists: Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Bob Marley, Sonny Okosun, Miriam Makeba, etc.
  • Scholar activists: W.E.B. DuBois, Walter Rodney, Frantz Fanon, Molefi Kete Asante, Wole Soyinka, Toni Morrison, etc.)
  • Nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience
  • Blacks and inequality in the criminal justice system
  • The church and liberation theology in the Black struggle
  • Youth and student activism
  • Civic organizations, community groups, and advocacy for good governance
  • Women in the Black struggle
  • The Black liberation movements and transnational connections: Ethiopianism, Pan Africanism, and Garveyism
  • Reparations, economic justice, and the fight against racial wealth inequality
  • Afrocentricity, Black consciousness, and advocacy for equitable education
  • Africa’s continued marginalization in global institutions: United Nations Security Council, IMF, WB, BRICS, G20…
  • The struggle for civil and human rights in Africa
  • Environmental racism and justice
  • Non-violent resistance movements
  • Social media protests
  • Ethnic, minoritarian, and separatist struggles
  • Liberationist philosophies

Abstracts/Panel proposals
Each prospective presenter should electronically submit an abstract of no more than 500 words by Feb. 28, 2024. 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: $100 by Feb. 28, 2024; late: $150 by Mar. 15, 2024
Graduate Students: $50 by Feb. 28, 2024; late: $75 by Mar. 15, 2024

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
Tenneessee State University
Avon Williams Campus
330 10th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 

Publication of Selected Papers
Conference papers will be eligible for publication in the bi-annual international academic journal, Global Africa: Journal of African and African Diaspora Studies. All submitted articles are subject to peer review.

Please, direct all questions to the conference conveners via their email addresses above.

All participants should note that the conference and Tennessee State University do not offer any form of financial assistance to participants. Thus, all attendees must provide their own funds to cover registration, transportation, and accommodation.