Hat tip: Zola Mumford

Africans in Europe in the long twentieth century: Transnationalism, translation and transfer University of Liverpool, 30-31 October 2009

The past few years have seen a flowering of historical research on Africans in Europe and the growth of new networks of scholarship on the subject. Most of this work acknowledges that as colonial or ex-colonial subjects, as migrants, and as members of a global population for whom a common identity and fate were increasingly claimed in terms of diaspora, Africans often moved from one mono- or plurilingual context/contact zone into another. This could be the result of physical relocations, of a transfer of administrative jurisdiction over them from one colonial power to another (as after 1918), or indeed of participation in transnational literary and political networks. But much current research remains limited to particular national metropolitan contexts, their languages and institutions, with the themes of transnationalism and translation addressed largely through triangulations between Africa, Black America and the respective country of ‘settlement’. The purpose of this conference is to bring together new research and provoke discussion around those moments where Africans found themselves at the interface between European cultures, asking about the implications for subjectivity and everyday life as well as for literary and political practice of having to deal with and through different languages and cultural practices. We invite contributions that address experiences in any (or indeed all) European territories, and particularly welcome empirically-grounded case studies which address the problems of methodology and interpretation raised by the project of studying transnational lives. Possible topics might include:

• Africans as language teachers and language learners – formal and informal institutions

• Visual culture: self-presentations

• Multilingual families and generational power

• Communication, power and identity in international organisations and networks

• International milieus within national borders (seamen’s bars and Black neighbourhoods)

• Languages of the shop floor

We anticipate that the conference papers will be published.

Please send abstracts by 31 August 2009 to Eve Rosenhaft, School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies, University of Liverpool.

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