CFP: Neoliberalism and Alternative Narrative Temporalities in Contemporary African Fiction

CFP: Neoliberalism and Alternative Narrative Temporalities in Contemporary African Fiction


short description: This panel analyzes the various representational strategies diverse African and African diasporic authors have brought to bear in using fiction as a cultural medium for imagining alternatives to
the deleterious socio-economic impacts neoliberal political economy has had upon the social landscapes of Africa since the early 1980s.

abstract: The inception of neoliberalism across Africa brought with it devastating social fallout. By the mid-1980s 2/3 of Africa was operating under neoliberal structural adjustment programs mandated by the IMF, which in cutting government spending, devaluing local currencies, and removing tariffs and laws limiting foreign investment, gutted fledgling African middle classes, deepened poverty, and opened the doors to multinational corporations gobbling up Africa’s natural resources, resulting in what has come to be widely known as “the lost decade” in African history and an ensuing long period of deep material inequality, population flight, and various forms of social instability. With torrents of debt servicing payments flooding out of Africa to Global Northern financial institutions and foreign “experts” running the continent’s economies, neoliberalism in Africa has come to be seen as a kind of neo-imperialism, one that Nigerian author F. Odun Balogun deems, along with the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism, one of the great Global Northern plagues visited upon Africa.

This panel considers how contemporary African and African diasporic writers have employed alternative narrative temporalities in their fiction as means of imagining possible social vistas for Africa outside of neoliberal governance and the current structures of the global capitalist economy. Eschewing realism, with its tendencies to reify socio-economic realities even while critiquing them, authors such as Abdourahman Waberi, Nisi Shawl, and Namwali Serpell experiment with genre and setting as a means of challenging the seeming intractability of capitalist hegemony, and this panel analyzes the thematic valences their work takes on in doing so.



Submission of Abstract: September 16, 2022
Notification of acceptance: October 1, 2022
Deadline for submission of papers and presentations: January 15, 2023

Please send your abstract and CV to