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No. 12, November 2025 “Pan-Africanisms, (Post-)Slavery and Race”

Deadline for final version of articles: July 1, 2025

Scientific Editor

  • Sakiko Nakao, Chuo University

Theme of this Issue

The African diaspora originated from the mass deportation of captive people transported from the African continent to the Americas and territories in the Indian Ocean and Asia. Accompanying this movement of forced migration was a process of racialization of these enslaved people (Cottias 2007). Certain physical and cultural characteristics supposedly shared by the enslaved were systematically associated with their “African” ancestry and subaltern status. Viewed as an anti-racist resistance movement, pan-Africanism, which overturns stigma, is underpinned by bonds of racial solidarity. In structuring post-slavery societies, including on the African continent, blackness and Africanity developed interdependently (Pierre 2013). Over time, some pan-African struggles have attempted to transcend racialized belongings to envisage a transnational anti-colonial and anti-neo-colonial solidarity, while others have emphasized culturalist solidarity and revived its racial basis (Apter 2016). How have the various political and cultural actors of Pan-Africanism explicitly or implicitly positioned themselves with regard to the history of racialization?

This issue of Slaveries & Post-Slaveries examines the repercussions of the transatlantic matrix of race on post-slavery societies. Particular attention will be paid to societies on the African continent, as the racial logics operating within them have rarely been studied. We understand racial logics as the assumption that supposed physical and cultural differences between groups are “inherited” from one generation to the next (Takezawa 2005). While these logics may have existed in a great many societies before the European invention of “scientific racism,” the social, political and economic structures that exploit these differences were transformed when the latter was introduced, and became part of global racialization processes (Takezawa & Schaub 2022; Clarke & Thomas 2006; Pierre 2013). We will question the ways in which racial logics are mobilized within pan-African movements from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. What are the resulting impacts on the vision of “Africa” as a community of belonging and on the process of identification and self-identification of being African?

The aim herein is to study the circulation and transformation of racial thought within African communities on the continent and in the diaspora, as well as the strengths and limits of their mobilization within the pan-African movement. The political mobilization of racial ideologies can be a tool of resistance, but can also generate conflicts within and between African societies. Is there convergence in the anti-racist and/or pan-African resistance strategies adopted in different post-slavery societies? Or, on the contrary, have the various interpretations of chromatic cultural and political concepts such as négritude and blackness been sources of divergence within pan-Africanism? How have national and international political powers instrumentalized these affinities or divergences (Apter 2016; Pierre 2013)?

Themes

Contributions may focus on the following themes, among others:

  • The symbolic dimension of the slave trade and slavery within pan-African movements from their origins to the present day.

  • The politics of remembrance of the slave trade and slavery pursued by African governments and/or international bodies (OAU/AU, UNESCO, etc.) and their impact on racialized conceptions of belonging among Africans on the continent and in the diaspora.

  • The issue of citizenship and nationality for people from the diaspora community.

  • Pan-African cultural events (FESMAN in Dakar, 1966 and 2010; PANAF in Algiers 1969; FESTAC in Lagos, 1977; FESPACO in Ouagadougou since 1969; PANAFEST in Ghana since 1992, etc.).

  • Racial logics as part of social, cultural and political discourses and practices within African societies or the diaspora.

  • The role of racial logics in discourses and practices that define social relations, particularly with regard to social statuses linked to slavery within African societies.

  • How “lineage identification” within African communities sustains ideology, Afrocentrism, and militant protest movements.

  • Contributions focusing on regions often sidelined in pan-Africanist discourses are welcome, including North Africa, the Indian Ocean, or the African diaspora in Asia.

  • Finally, special attention may be given to the study of counter-discourses to chromatic identifications of Africa, such as the concepts of multiculturalism, creolité or Afropolitanism.

Submission Procedures

Proposals for articles (between 500 and 800 words) must be sent by June 1, 2024 to ciresc.redaction@cnrs.fr

Decisions on manuscripts will be announced on July 1, 2024.

Accepted papers (45,000 characters maximum, spaces included, bibliography included) must be submitted in French, English, Spanish or Portuguese, before November 1, 2024. They must be accompanied by an abstract or résumé of no more than 3,600 signs. The full list of recommendations to authors is available here.

Final versions must be ready by July 1, 2025.

Selected References

Apter Andrew, 2016. “Beyond Négritude: Black Cultural Citizenship and the Arab Question in FESTAC 77,” Journal of African Cultural Studies, no. 28/3, pp. 313–326.

Clarke Kamari Maxine & Deborah A. Thomas (eds.), 2006. Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness, Durham, Duke University Press.

Cottias Myriam, 2007. La Question noire. Histoire d’une construction coloniale, Paris, Bayard.

Diagne Souleymane Bachir, 2001. “Africanity as an Open Question,” in Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Amina Mama, Henning Melber & Francis B. Nyamnjoh (eds.), Identity and Beyond: Rethinking Africanity, Uppsala, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, pp. 19–24.

Glissant Édouard, 1990. Poétique de la Relation, Paris, Gallimard.

Mbembe Achille, 2006. “Afropolitanisme,” Africultures, no. 66/1, pp. 9–15.

Pierre Jemima, 2013. The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race, Chicago/London, The University of Chicago Press.

Takezawa Yasuko, 2005. Jinshu gainen no fuhensei wo tou, Kyoto, Jimbun Shoin.

Takezawa Yasuko & Jean-Frédéric Schaub (eds.), 2022. Jinshushugi to Han jinshushugi: Ekkyo to Tenkan, Kyoto, Kyoto University Press.

Thioub Ibrahima, 2012. Stigmates et mémoires de l’esclavage en Afrique de l’Ouest : le sang et la couleur de peau comme lignes de fracture, FMSH-WP-2012-23. Available online: https://shs.hal.science/halshs-00743503 [last accessed, December 2023].

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