CfP: Rethinking Time and Gender in African History

Call for papers, deadline 20 November 2020

Ghent University

29-30 April 2021


What are the gender categories and temporal logics that underpin and shape the histories we write about African pasts? Despite the critique of post-colonial and feminist scholarship, these notions seldom receive serious attention in our practice of research and writing. Even today gendered histories about Africa often continue to be framed by Eurocentric teleological narratives of modernity. Moreover, such traditional schemas of periodization, as feminist gender historians argue, tie women’s and gender history to linear narratives of change. While many historians of Africa have critically written against this progressive chronology, it still implicitly underlines much of the literature on gender in African history.

What would happen if we brought the notions of time and gender under more critical focus? How would this reshape the gendered histories we write? This two-day workshop seeks to bring together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds (e.g. history, cultural studies, linguistics) to explore new routes in the theoretical thinking as well as the methodologies of African gender histories.

We welcome proposals focusing on different aspects of gender history: women’s history, history of masculinities, and queer histories. Papers can also draw on a variety of sources, such as oral histories, written documents, visual and performing arts—and study different time periods (though proposals with some focus on longer historical time spans are encouraged). We are especially interested in contributions that engage in critical and creative conceptual work, analytical explorations of new temporal models, and methodological reflections; as well as papers that experiment with new ways of history writing. Interdisciplinary approaches are most welcome!


Christine Saidi, Kutztown University
David Schoenbrun, Northwestern University


Please send a title and 300 words abstract before 20 November 2020 to

Authors will be notified of acceptance on 4 December 2020. Note that the workshop language will be English.

Completed papers will be due 9 April 2021, so that the papers can be pre-circulated ahead of the meeting. While the scholarly exchange during the workshop is valuable in itself, we also aim to produce a special issue after the workshop.

The workshop will be hosted at Ghent University and will take place within the framework of the research project ‘Rethinking African Gender Histories: Time, Change, and the Deeper Past in Northern Mozambique (GENHIS-AFRICA)’ funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Kindly note that if the COVID-19 situation has not improved sufficiently to guarantee safe travel and a safe meeting environment, the workshop will be held virtually.