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Africa Research Day, London, 29 April - call for papers

February 25, 2013

Monday April 29 2013, Brunei Gallery, SOAS

The Africa Research Student Network (AfNet) at the University of London is seeking papers for its inaugural Africa Research Day. This is a forum for graduate students to discuss research old and new practices, facilitate dialogue across disciplines and bridging the gap between theory and practice. The event is open to graduate students across the University of London and all disciplines/research backgrounds are welcome emphasizing research in Africa. The forum gives preference to papers submitted by University of London  research students but all are welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion.

Doing Research in Africa: The state of Research

The forum will focus on various approaches centering on the methodological issues concerning conducting research in Africa. This includes papers that look at research from different disciplines with various methodologies (quantitative and qualitative). We hope to also address the flow of research by highlighting the role of Africa-based researchers doing research in the UK. Papers are welcome on the themes listed below but are not limited to them. Papers should fall broadly into:

1) Interdisciplinary research
What role does interdisciplinary research play in facilitating innovative research approaches and outcomes? What type of contexts is interdisciplinary research most suited for? How can universities and  organizations continue to promote interdisciplinary research approaches? What challenges does this bring in difficult research contexts?

2) Research in Violent contexts
Research in violent contexts (Congo, Mali, Libya, Somalia) brings unique challenges and how do researchers navigate difficult research environments? What ethical standards/responsibility do researchers have to their interlocutors especially in violent contexts especially with marginalized/vulnerable groups? In sensitive environments, how do researchers tackle researching subjects that are difficult to talk about?

3) Africans Researching on Africa
African researchers who seek to pursue doctoral research in universities outside of Africa face particular challenges especially when doing research in ones home country. What challenges/opportunities do Africans doing research on their home countries face? What is an authentic voice according to Africans and non-African researchers?

4) Innovative Researching Tools (ICT, Social media, Facebook etc…)
Africa has one of the fastest growing markets for smart phones and growing internet connectivity. There is also a growing number of Africans who use social media and other media tools to participate in issues of development and governance. What role is social media playing in facilitating new research spaces for researchers? How does crowdsourcing contribute to, for example, conflict mapping by society?

5) Donor organizations and African universities
After Mahmood Mamdani’s piece on the state of social science research in African universities, the role of donor organizations have been under the microscope. Researchers will know this is an ongoing dilemma that in many instances facilitates research on under-researched topics. What is the role of African universities in working with donor organizations? Is this relationship beneficial at all to African universities?

We invite abstracts no more than 300 words in length on any of the themes outlined above. Please send an abstract by March 8 2013 to

Siham Rayale & Pritish Behuria