CfP: Globalization, national languages and development in Africa

Call for Papers, deadline 1 September 2018

A Centre of Excellence for Thinking Africa and the World  
3 - 5 December, 2018, Saint-Louis, Senegal
General Framework and Rationale

The Institute for Advanced Studies in Saint-Louis, Senegal is partnering with Foundation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris, France,  Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, Université Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Pan African Association for Literacy and Adult Education (PAALAE), Association Nationale pour l’Alphabétisation et l’Education des Adultes (ANAFA) in Senegal and the Saint-Louis Forum to organise an international conference on the major issue of globalization, national languages and development in Africa. This conference is dedicated to two pioneers of African linguistics: Aram Fall and Pathé Diagne to whom the conference will pay tribute to show that the younger generations have come to grips with the challenges of language as an essential resource for development in Africa. The conference is scheduled for 3 - 5 December, 2018 in Saint-Louis, Senegal.
Tribute or Sargal to two pioneers of African linguistics: Aram Fall and Pathé Diagne
Promoting national languages as a tool for national identity and a means for developing the potential of African communities is the brainchild of a daughter (Aram) and a son (Pathé) of Saint-Louis in Senegal, Ndaar Geej. Ndar is located so close to the mouth of River Senegal, where the ocean, in a show of strength, leaves the river in fear and causes it to split into several arms, opening Senegal to the rest of the world.
In post-colonial Senegal, these two figures spearheaded the struggle that was later taken over during colonisation by two generations of intellectuals (one literate in Arabic, and the other in French). Better still, they provided the inspiration and guidance for the new generation that continues to use language as a tool for rolling back the dark clouds of alienation and under-development. These two figures conducted cutting-edge research and framed theories which show concretely how languages can be used to learn about the past, trigger transformation, improve the present and contribute in shaping the future.
Wolof, considered as the common and most dynamic language in Senegal, was the main tool these figures used to conduct their analyses and undergird their expertise. However, they never, for one moment, forgot that this language is part of the entire culture in Senegambia, West Africa and the languages in the world. They produced lexicons, dictionaries, manuals and grammar; wrote, translated and disseminated materials and literary sources; wrote works of fiction; and contributed in conceiving highly original scientific works. Their examples have been a source of inspiration for the younger generations that work on languages as a tool for promoting cultural identities and regional integration, and for developing the knowledge and means of achieving social and political freedom in Africa.
Language(s), identity(ies), theory (ies) and practice (s) for freedom and development in Africa  
Several research works on language and development have established that languages are among the markers of cultural identity. According to Cheikh Anta Diop, cultural identity should be perceived from three interrelated dimensions: historical, linguistic and psychological. Philosophers, sociologists and anthropologists acknowledge that “cultural identity” refers to the sum of elements that make it possible to determine where an individual belongs culturally or to characterise a given social group. In other words, it is an implicit or explicit awareness of belonging to a group of human beings living in a specific geographic area, with the same history and the same cultural heritage characterised strongly by a language. This means that language is a reflection of identity, one of its most obvious manifestations. Language provides the basis for cultural uniqueness and constancy. Imposing the colonist’s language legitimized the adoption of official languages used predominantly in administration, education and communication to the detriment of previous cultural systems. So from the onset, the language struggle is basically one of promoting national languages, a struggle for science and development. The needs of Africans require that African languages serve as vehicles for the march towards modernity, emergence and development on the continent.  
Conference topics  
- Theories and practices on national languages
- Contributions on theoretical thinking: description/classification of languages and the status of Wolof: Morphology, Syntax, Grammar
- Contributions on conceptions of the world, knowledge and techniques, toponymy and ethnonymy, physical, economic and cultural anthropology
- Critical studies on productions: books, newspapers, films, etc.
- Language development and improvement of the economic, administrative, political, cultural and educational environment: Toponyms, Ethnonyms, civil data
- National languages in the development of African communities.
Please submit a single Word or PDF file including an abstract no longer than 500 words, along with a concise CV, and send it by email to with a subject line "Sargal Arame Fall and Pathé Diagne” before 1st September 2018. The abstract can be in French or English.
The candidates selected to participate in this conference will be informed before 15 September 2018.  
The researchers selected to participate in this conference will be required to submit a final version of their original unpublished article (of no more than 7000 words) no later than 15 November 2018.
The working languages at the conference will be French and English.
The papers selected will be published in the conference book.
Scientific committee under the chairmanship of Professor Babacar Diop Buuba
Institute for Advanced Studies in Saint-Louis, Senegal