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African Studies and Social Media - call for papers

January 4, 2013

African Studies and Social Media: Call for Papers ECAS Lisbon Panel 138 (closing 16th January 2013) 

During the 5th European Conference of African Studies (ECAS Lisbon, 27-29 June 2013), a unique panel on new social media developments in Africa is likely to attract attention. The importance of social media throughout the African continent is considerable, but research in this field is limited. Operating within the broader framework of diverse and highly complex processes of development, the usage and effects of social media in Africa are undergoing contnuous and significant change. This panel intends to explore trends and processes at the interface of social and technological transformation by drawing upon a multi-stranded approach to document and analyse recent phenomena in the domain of African studies.

2.4 million people in Kenya are using Twitter. Social media played an important role in the Arab Spring in several North African countries. Cell phones are used to control the outcome of elections in rural areas. The Library of Congress archives all tweets in the world. Research outcome can be shared through Facebook groups. How should researchers use social media to look at changing societies in Africa? How can researchers use social media as a tool in spreading the outcome of their research or contact their informants? What is important for African researchers? Should all these ephemera be documented and archived, and if so: how?

The basic objective of the panel is to throw light on to the dynamics and patterns of interaction, outreach and networks via and within social media structures affecting distinct realms of African studies and research. Although we have not restricted the geographical scope of the panel to any particular region of the African continent, we envisage partial coverage of both national and transnational dimensions of relevant aims, usage and impact of social media, ranging particularly from West to East Africa.

If you are interested in submitting a paper: proposals should consist of a paper title, a (very) short abstract of less than 300 characters, and an abstract of 250 words. The proposal should also state the audio-visual requirements you have for your presentation.

Panel 138:

Papers can be submitted to

In case of any questions, don't hesitate to contact the convenors by e-mail.

Best regards from the convenors of Panel 138,

Mirjam de Bruijn (
Jos Damen (
Guy Thomas (