The Saharan Crossroads conferences explore and reinforce cultural, artistic, and historical connections between populations living in and on both sides of the Sahara. The second conference, Views from the South, will take place south of the Sahara in Niamey, a city that has long been the home of many national festivals and has a strong emphasis on arts and culture, as well as a model museum that promotes contemporary artistic production and is a highly frequented and popular venue for local people.
This second conference will focus on the intellectual and cultural production from south of the Sahara and its links with the north. The conference will be multi-disciplinary while emphasizing that the arts are a powerful force in the promotion of cultural exchange, peaceful coexistence, and the promotion of peace. Music, theatre, dance, literature, film, and the decorative arts form a common thread that brings people together and engages them in the collective creation, criticism, and celebration of life.
Papers should be no longer than fifteen pages. We encourage the submission of complete panels. For the first stage of review, participants should submit one page abstracts presenting major themes to be addressed in the longer, full paper. Panel Chairs should submit one page abstracts of their panels. We will be accepting proposals until November 30, 2010. Please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words and a short CV (2 pp) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Proposals received after this time will not be considered. Priority for acceptance and funding will be given to scholars from AIMS and WARA affiliate countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and the 18 countries comprising West Africa), and from the U.S.
Prospectus for Conference Jointly Organized by WARA and AIMS
Saharan Crossroads: Views from the South
This conference is part of a series of conferences, organized jointly by the West African Research Association (WARA) and the American Institute of Maghrib Studies (AIMS), to explore and reinforce cultural, artistic, and historical connections between populations living in and on both sides of the Sahara. This initiative was launched in 2004 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with the first meeting treating the Saharan crossroads in historical perspective. The first international conference took place in 2009 in Tangier. The second conference will take place in Niamey on July 8, 9, 10, 2011.
This meeting will take place in Niamey, the capital of Niger. It will take advantage of the particular position of Niger as a hub of cultural and economic exchange between the populations of North Africa and West Africa in the Saharan space. Niamey has long been the home of harmonious cultural encounters, and many national festivals, and puts a strong emphasis on arts and culture. The city has a model museum that, in contrast with other West African museums, promotes contemporary artistic production as well as the historical and cultural crossroads of this nation on the edge of both sides of the Sahara.
This conference will focus on the intellectual and cultural production of Saharan identities in Niger as well as other West African countries and its links with the North. Art, culture, and history form a strong bond between African countries north of the equator. This conference seeks to promote cultural exchange between African countries in the pursuit of peaceful coexistence and the promotion of peace. Regional harmony is demonstrated in countless ways, particularly through the arts such as music, theater, dance, literature, cinema, decorative arts, and in historical and political relationships. In putting these diverse common connections at the center of attention for this scientific meeting, the organizers of this conference hope to promote scientific and cultural cooperation between African countries.
In the framework of regional cooperation for organizing this conference, we propose that there be 15 participants from WARA countries and that the AIMS delegations consist of nine scholars/artists from the North (perhaps three from each country where AIMS has a center). As with the first conference, U.S. participants will be invited, but will be expected to cover the costs of their international travel.
WARA will take the lead in organizing this second conference, which will, like the first, be a joint project between AIMS and WARA. We propose that this conference, July 8-9-10, 2011, serve as the 2011 annual conference for AIMS. Professors Abdourahmane Idrissa (Princeton University), Ghislaine Lydon (UCLA), and Scott Youngstedt (Saginaw Valley State University) will serve as the organizers of this conference. Since one of our goals is to establish linkages between scholars from North and West Africa, continuity between the two conferences is desirable. We can accomplish this by inviting some of the same scholars who participated in the 2009 conference in Tangier as participants in the 2011 conference in Niger.
WARA will commit to raising funds to cover coordination and other costs associated with the conference, venue, and lodging and meals for conference participants. If AIMS decides to consider the 2011 joint conference between WARA and AIMS as their annual conference (as they did in 2009), AIMS would cover the costs of its delegation members' travel and contribute to the conference organizing costs in Niger. The details of this contribution can be worked out by AIMS. This conference is partially funded through the West African Peace Initiative and a grant from the bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department.
Conference participants will submit copies of their papers in article form. These articles will be published in English in a special issue of a journal, such as The Journal of North African Studies, African Arts, or The International Journal of African Historical Studies. This can be determined after we decide the level of participation by each of our organizations.