The Cornell Institute for African Development Poverty, Inequality and Development Initiative Department of History
Conference Announcement and Call for Papers
Lusophone Africa – Intersections Between the Social Sciences
May 2 and 3, 2003
Cornell University’s Institute for African Development announces a conference focusing on Lusophone African countries to be held in collaboration with Cornell’s Poverty, Inequality, and Development Initiative and Cornell’s Department of History. The conference will focus primarily on history and the social sciences, and more particularly on the contributions that each can make to a broader interdisciplinary understanding of contemporary problems. Given the broad range of scholarly interest in these countries, and the relatively small number of research presentation opportunities devoted exclusively to Portuguese speaking Africa, the conference seeks to promote interaction between many fields, especially within the three broad thematic areas of the conference: history, politics and society, and economics. It is an explicit goal of this conference to build on the growing network sponsored by the Lusophone Africa Studies Organization, and to help create and promote Lusophone studies as an active and interdisciplinary field of inquiry.
Of particular interest are the broad issues of development facing these countries in the modern era. As many emerge from crises which are at the same time political, economic, and social in nature, solutions to any given problem must of necessity draw upon insights from all of these fields as well as the historical context within which they take place. This historical, political, and economic context cannot be divorced from the Portuguese colonial experience which is even now a very recent phenomenon that continues to have a major impact on these countries. Accordingly, Lusophone Africa remains in what can be considered the immediate post-colonial period and faces problems related to the civil and political disruptions that surrounded independence. Examples of such current issues are: problems of political stability and representation in societies which are newly emergent from widespread civil conflict such as that in Angola; problems of social reconstruction and cohesion in the aftermath of widespread dislocation such as has occurred in Mozambique, Angola, and other countries; issues surrounding agricultural development and its interaction with politics and society in the post-colonial era; problems of economic management in extremely low income countries with large natural resource sectors in a world dominated by large trading powers and international organizations; problems of reconciliation in the aftermath of conflict.
This list is by no means intended to limit contributions; rather, it is intended as an indication of the breadth of areas of interest in this conference. Indeed, the uniting focus is Lusophone Africa itself rather than any subset of scholarly studies within that overarching theme. However, papers will be grouped in three broad areas:
Politics and Society
A one-day conference is planned, with participants arriving on Friday, May 2, allowing for a full day of presentations and discussion on Saturday, May 3. Presentations will be brief, in order to maximize opportunities for discussion and debate. It is anticipated that papers will be published in an edited volume subsequent to the conference.
Shorter papers and/or presentations are also welcome. Short presentations can serve as starting points for debate and interaction. These short papers can be easily distributed and read prior to the conference, allowing full participation by all attendees in a manner that is frequently difficult to achieve when longer papers are distributed only immediately before the conference or even at the event itself. Such presentations will be grouped together in thematic sessions focusing on particular countries/problems of current interest.
Those wishing to present papers and participate in the conference should indicate their wish to do so and their proposed topic by January 31, 2003. Some funding is available to assist presenters in paying for travel expenses and lodging at Cornell.
tCornell Institute for African Development
170 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
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