The 5th Annual Lagos Studies Association Conference

Theme: Postcolonial African Cities at 60: Continuities and Discontinuities

June 22-26, 2021
Lagos, Nigeria


The concept of postcolonialism is dominant in African studies for one principal reason—its flexibility at a temporal, theoretical, historical, and spatial level. While many thinkers regard the postcolonial as a period thoroughly disengaged from imperialism, others view it as a series of responses, contestations, and critiques that throw into sharp relief colonialism’s most gruesome atrocities. Yet, others consider it an unending circulation of colonial knowledge and practices in postcolonial societies. Thus, coloniality is deeply implicated in the postcolonial. Serious attention to comparative postcolonial cities promises to track how different African urban spaces have evolved from their precolonial and colonial incarnations. The globalization of urban institutions and governance, the remaking of the city by urbanites, and the efflorescence of hybrid identities that borrow from multiple sites of knowledge and power characterize postcolonial African cities. Yet, the postcolonial African city defies easy definition, even as African countries enter their 6thdecade of independence in 2020.

This 5thedition of the annual LSA conference seeks to place the postcolonial at the center the African city, and ask how the concept shapes our framing of African urban locations in their physical, imaginative, spatial, and theoretical dimensions. We seek to move beyond the simplistic dialectic that the city is either a measure of development or decay in postcolonial Africa; instead, we would like to engage provocative ideas about people, institutions, narratives, and practices that make each urban location unique, without ignoring the shared histories and experiences of African cities.

What is postcolonial about African cities since the 1960s? How have African cities evolved from their colonial past? Is there any correlation between decolonization on the one hand, and urban governance, artistic expressions, identity formations, and countless of other manifestations of daily existence, on the other? Why might the city form the basis of intellectual engagements within the expansive narratives of postcolonial state and nation-building? In what ways can the rhetoric of political, cultural, or epistemological decolonization improve our knowledge of African cities? How are cities that emerged since the 1960s different or similar to those with roots in precolonial and colonial eras? Did the postcolonial state engender a unique type of city or urbanization process?

We welcome abstracts from academic and nonacademic practitioners working on any African urban location and across the following fields and themes, among others:

African feminisms

African philosophies of urbanism


Arts, musical culture, and performance

Atlantic connections

Childhood and youth identities

Cinema, films, Nollywood

Civil society and activism

Civil war and reconstruction

Conflict resolution, peace-keeping, and security

Cyber culture, social media, and digital representation

Decolonizing the African city

Dictatorship and military rule

Ecocritical readings of African urbanism

Economic and fiscal policies

Education and literacy

Ethnicity and inter-group relations

Futurity and temporalities

Globalization and transnationalism

Health and healing

Heritage, archeology, material culture, and museums


Inequality and class conflict

Infrastructure and urban planning

Knowledge systems and philosophy

Labor, employment, business, and entrepreneurship

Language, literature, and orality

Media, popular culture, and self-fashioning

Mobility and transportation

Nature conservation and environment

Oil and mineral extraction

Photography and digital imaging

Politics, electoral process, political parties

Queer studies and African sexualities

Religion and urbanism

Shipping, maritime history, piracy, and port studies

Space and place-making

Spirituality and religious identities

Theorizing African cities

Urban animals and zoocritical perspectives

Urban anthropology and sociology of everyday life

Urban governance and planning

Women, gender, and sexualities

–Among others


Please note that call for abstract has closed. We are not accepting new submissions.


If you have any question about the conference, contact LSA at:

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