We are currently organizing a panel on “Looking back at African Unity: A Bi-centennial Reflection” at the 4th European Congress on World and Global History in Paris, 4-7 September 2014. We welcome paper contributions which aim to reflect on the trajectory of the African unity debate particularly from the perspective of the “transfer of ideals and broader entanglements in global processes” impacting African unity. For a more detailed panel idea, please refer to the full abstract in this announcement.
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Looking back at African Unity: A Bi-centennial Reflection:
The Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union, was established in 1963 with the purpose of providing collective leadership to address the pressing issues of the day – in particular colonialism, underdevelopment and external economic exploitation (Murithi 2007). The quest for unity symbolized by the establishment of the OAU and later the AU was meant to be a corner stone towards meeting the above objectives. The OAU /AU yielded mixed results in terms of meeting the objectives it set out to fulfill at its establishment. Whereas it is hailed for the attainment of political independence, economic empowerment of most Africans is still a tedious work in progress.
The African Union turned 50 years in May 2013 providing us an opportune moment to reflect on its trajectory so far by reviewing the union debate from the perspective of transfer of ideals and broader entanglements in global processes impacting African unity. To this end, this panel aims to bring together different perspectives addressing the following issues:
1. Historical insights into the early debates behind the formation of the OAU and relate this with some of the current debates on the future role of African Union
2. Salient norms and principles of African Unity and the historic roots of these ideals as indicative of larger global entanglements
3. Debates on the persistent trends of spatial organizations of authority and sovereignty in Africa in the context of the OAU and AU;
4. Discursive framing of the vision of African unity and the establishment of OAU especially in the early years;
5. Non-elitist and public perception of African unity past and present;
6. Key challenges to effective OAU and AU: from global to the national and beyond (Cold War politics, resilient colonial structures, etc).
Dawit Yohannes Wondemagegnehu
Institute for Peace and Security Studies
Addis Ababa University
Ethiopia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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