Members Login

Call for Paper Abstracts:

October 8, 2013

African Studies Association (ASA) of the UK biennial conference, 9-11 September 2014

Panel 3904:

Neighbours and neighbourliness in Africa

This panel will explore neighbourly relations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Neighbourliness in Africa is an complex, contested concept. Given that many of the continent’s boundaries are arbitrarily placed, the very definition of who neighbours are can be a fraught, emotional and often heavily politicised question. Ethnic identities, historical friendships and rivalries, frequent migration and regional conflict, as well as regional and continental groupings and pan-Africanism further complicate the question of who counts as neighbours and what this association entails.

The practice of neighbourliness varies across the continent too. Some regions’ governments share close solidaristic ties; others have experienced high tension and conflict. A few countries have become neighbours through secession; others have to deal with powerful hegemonic neighbours. Across the continent, who counts as a neighbour and what being a neighbour means carries different meanings and engenders different political, cultural and economic relationships.

We welcome papers from any discipline which deal with general or specific questions of neighbourliness in Africa. Papers might address topics such as:

- Theories/concepts of neighbourhood

- Borders, boundaries and the international politics of division

- Grassroots perceptions of neighbouring countries

- Regional foreign policy

- Pan-Africanism and neighbourliness

- Regionalism and neighbourliness

Panel organizers:

Jonathan Fisher, University of Birmingham (

Julia Gallagher, Royal Holloway, University of London (

ASA paper abstract submission deadline: April 2014