CFP: ASA-UK stream and panel on autobiography in Africa

Please find below the call for panels and papers for the Thematic Stream on Autobiography in Africa for the ASA-UK to be held in September 2018. We would be most honoured if you could send in a proposal for a panel or a paper for this occasion before the deadline of 16 February 2018.

Within this Thematic Stream I will organise a Panel on Detention and Autobiographical Writing. (See call for papers, also below.) If you want to submit an abstract on that subject, you may contact me directly (preferably before 6 February 2018).

But feel free to submit a paper proposal on another theme related to autobiographical narrative (use the option 'open panel' in your registration): Godwin, Tom and I will come up with panel proposals for these abstracts.

Thank you in advance and looking forward to receiving your proposal.

Met vriendelijke groet / With kind regards, Inge Brinkman


Conference Stream

Text, paratext and context in African autobiographical narratives.

11-13 September 2018, Birmingham

You can now submit your panel and/or paper for the thematic stream on autobiography in Africa.

Submit through:

Call for Papers and Panels ASAUK 2018: NOW OPEN

Please note: deadline for the proposal: 16 February 2018

Always straddling and dismantling the boundaries between truthfulness and imagination, between memory, concealment and referentiality, between psychology, history, geography and literature, autobiographical narrative invites the audience to (re-)consider the relations between text and context, or text and co-texts. In its counterdiscursive capacity, postcolonial autobiographical narrative has been especially emphatic in this respect: its critical constellation in the end rests on reference to political practices and hierarchies beyond the text, weaving palimpsestic layers of (counter-)meanings. In this light it is not surprising that many African autobiographers have stressed the importance of realism for their work, and they and their publishers often employ various strategies – in the text, but also in paratextual elements – to enhance the effect of realism as the starting point of meaning-making.

Meanwhile, discussions on African autobiographical narrative have over the last decades expanded to include oral genres, life histories, auto-ethnographies, online blogs and Facebook pages, apart from the more classic form of a published book. This begs the question how relations between text and context are established in these more recent forms of autobiography.

In this thematic stream we will focus on text, paratext and context in autobiographical narratives from Africa. We welcome paper proposals that deal with African autobiographical narrative in whatever form – published, online, oral –, and in principle from any discipline or from an interdisciplinary perspective.

See also:

STREAM: Text, paratext and context in African autobiographical narratives.

We regret to note that no financial support from our side can be offered for your participation.

Tom Odhiambo (University of Nairobi): or
Godwin Siundu (University of Nairobi): or
Inge Brinkman (Ghent University):



“Detention and Autobiographical Texts from Africa"

11-13 September 2018, Birmingham

Submit to:

Please note: deadline for the proposal: 6 February 2018

Nelson Mandela’s A long walk to freedom (1994) is probably the most well-known autobiography from Africa that relates to the issue of detention, but it is certainly not the only one. In the course of Africa’s history, many autobiographical texts have been produced that relate to confinement and imprisonment. Thus, including Mandela’s autobiographical narrative, there exists a large body of texts that relates to the conditions of imprisonment during Apartheid. Furthermore, a number of African autobiographical texts discuss colonial detention; a case in point being the Mau Mau memoirs from Kenya. Finally, the critical stance of many African authors vis-à-vis postcolonial policies has led to a relatively large number of them being arrested and detained, an experience some of these authors write about in autobiographical narrative.

This panel focuses on the experience of detention in autobiographical writing from Africa. The range of themes and foci is open and may include: the notion of confinement itself in relation to authorial strategies and creativity, aspects of gender and imprisonment, relations between the state and artistic production, etc. Papers from all disciplines or from an interdisciplinary stance are welcome.

Submit your paper proposal to:

Inge Brinkman ( by 6 February 2018 (As the deadline for the ASAUK submission is 16 February 2018 this will leave some time for the final organisation of the panel).

The panel features in the Thematic Stream:

(organised by Godwin Siundu, Tom Odhiambo and Inge Brinkman).

See also:

STREAM: Text, paratext and context in African autobiographical narratives.