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SERSAS 2021 Spring Conference

African Mobilities: the Means and Modalities of Movement(s)
Within and Beyond Africa

SERSAS/SEAN 2021 Virtual Spring Conference
Friday, March 12 – Saturday, March 13, 2021

Register for the Conference


Friday, March 12, 2021


2:00-4:30 PM

Emerging Scholars Workshop

For the second year in a row, the African Studies Quarterly – an online, open-access, fully peer-reviewed multidisciplinary journal published by the University of Florida – will sponsor a pre-conference workshop for emerging scholars (advanced graduate students or doctorate awarded in past 3 years). Participants will pre-circulate a draft article-length piece for review by other emerging scholar participants and a lead faculty critic for each paper. Each submission will then receive seminar-style discussion during this workshop, with 45 minutes allotted to each paper. Drafts of papers to be workshopped will be available for circulation on March 1. If you would like to participate in the workshop as a reader and general commenter, please send an email to Stacey Sewall (sewall@email.unc.edu) and Abbey Warchol (abwarch@live.unc.edu) for access to the papers. Papers:

  • Holly Dunn, Assistant Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, U. South Florida.”The Logic of Popular Justice in Response to Witchcraft in the Eastern DRC: The Unanticipated Outcomes of Disconnected Legality.” Discussant: Beth Whitaker, Professor of Political Science, UNC-Charlotte.
  • Ampson Hagan, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology, UNC-Chapel Hill “Enduring Temporalities of Material Non-Movement: Waithood and Waiting for Covid-19 Vaccines in Africa.” Discussant: Brenda Chalfin, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for African Studies, U. Florida.
  • Yioula Sigounas, Ph.D candidate, Department of Anthropology, UNC-Chapel Hill. NGO Dreaming in Urban Uganda. Discussant: Christopher Day, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of African Studies, College of Charleston.


5:00-6:00 PM

Keynote Address, Dr. Omar Ali

Dr. Omar H. Ali is Dean of the Lloyd International Honors College and Professor of Comparative African Diaspora History at UNC-Greensboro, and a recent Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the Year. He is a historian and ethnographer of the African Diaspora who explores the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds from the early modern period to the present. He has been a Fulbright professor of history and anthropology at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, a visiting professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University, and a Library Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Prof. Ali’s books include Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery Across the Indian Ocean, Afro-South Asia in the Global African Diaspora, Islam in the Indian Ocean World, and In the Lion’s Mouth: Black Populism in the New South.


Panel 2A 10:45 AM-12:15 PM

Borders, Migration and Mapping

Beth Whitaker UNC Charlotte
Border Proximity and Support for Free Movement: Evidence from Africa

Wycliffe Njororai Simiyu University of Texas at Tyler
Migration destination patterns for East African Association Football Players

Matthew Unangst Jacksonville University
Mapping Mobilities in Precolonial and Colonial Africa

Kwaku Nti Georgia Southern University
Unrelenting Crisscrosses: Pandemic Imposed Restrictions and the Aflao (Ghana-Togo) Border


Panel 2B 10:45 AM-12:15 PM

Political and Legal Movements

Adrien Ratsimbaharison Benedict College
Political Stability: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

Holly Dunn University of South Florida
The Logic of Popular Justice in Response to Witchcraft in the Eastern DRC: The Unanticipated Outcomes of Disconnected Legality

Chris Ippolito Georgia Institute of Technology
Protest Movements in Today’s Africa: Towards an African Spring?


12:30-1:30 PM

Lunch and SERSAS Business Meeting


Panel 3B 1:45-3:15 PM

Africa and COVID Pandemic: Bail or Bane

Yvette Essounga Njan Tuskegee University
Africans Moving And Thriving Despite the Pandemic

Bill F. Ndi Tuskegee University
Politics and COVID Pandemic Blend: A Recipe for Committed Literature

Benjamin Hart Fishkin Tuskegee University
Moving in the Wrong Direction: Francis B. Nyamnjoh’s A Nose for Money

Denis Waswa Louisiana State University
Reconstructing Black Humanism: “The Becoming Black of the World”