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Call for Papers: Critical African Studies

August 22, 2016

Valuing land in Eastern Africa: a Critical African Studies Special Issue

Critical African Studies

This proposed special issue will explore the plural and changing forms of value attached to land and territory in Eastern Africa (broadly defined), in historical and contemporary contexts. Increasing competition for land is often taken as a given in recent work on land governance and conflict in this region and beyond. But this raises the obvious question as to what exactly is the subject of this competition or conflict: what is ‘land’ (soil, natural resources, property, homeland, political territory, sacred place, social space, cultural landscape), what generates its value(s), and how do these values intersect. There are also questions about the historicity of land values, disputes and transactions: how do more recent concerns over land or processes of commoditisation emerge from longer histories of valuing land and territory?

The collection is intended to bring together different disciplinary and methodological approaches to these questions, reflecting some of the range of recent scholarship on land issues in Africa, which has included work by political scientists and legal scholars on land tenure governance and territorial politics; anthropological, historical and cultural approaches to the relationships between people and land; and the study of land-use, livelihoods, markets and commoditisation. Papers taking an interdisciplinary approach and/or exploring changes in land values over time and connections between local and macro processes are particularly welcomed.

Submission Guidelines

If you are interested in contributing to the issue, please send an extended (2-page) abstract of your paper to Cherry Leonardi ( by 30 September 2016.

Selected contributors will be invited to submit full draft papers for editorial review and comment by 1 December 2016, and may be invited to attend a related workshop at Durham University in December 2016. Those taken forward at this stage will be expected to submit final versions of the paper by an agreed date in early 2017. All papers included in the special issue submission will then be subject to the standard peer-review process by Critical African Studies: publication will depend on the outcome of anonymous reviewers’ reports and the satisfactory completion of any required revisions. Final papers will be published online as soon as the editing process is completed, in advance of the print edition. For submission guidelines please visit the Instructions for Authours page.

Please address all queries to:

Dr Cherry Leonardi
Editorial Board, Critical African Studies
Senior Lecturer in African History
Durham University, Dept of History
43 North Bailey, Durham DH1 3EX, UK
Tel. 0191 3341070

Editorial information