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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 ( and Abbey Warchol ( 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, “Malik Ambar: Ethiopian Migration in World History”

Dr. Omar H. Ali is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College and Professor of Comparative African Diaspora History at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The author of Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery Across the Indian Ocean, co-editor of Afro-South Asia in the Global African Diaspora (3 vols.), and co-curator of the exhibit “The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World” with Sylviane Diouf at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, he is a founder of the Ethiopian and East African Studies Project at UNC Greensboro. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, he received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Panel 1B 9:00-10:30 AM

Extraction, Development, and Environmentalism

Panel Chair: Colin West, UNC-Chapel Hill

Cathy Skidmore-Hess Georgia Southern University
In the Grasp of the Lion: Twentieth Century Hunting, Economic Mobility and Development in Northern Botswana

Hye-Sung Kim Winthrop University
Consequences of Oil Extraction and Competition over Resources: Conjoint Experiment in Turkana, Kenya

John Cropper College of Charleston
Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI)


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

Borders, Migration and Mapping

Panel Chair: Todd Leedy, University of Florida

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

Panel Chair: Christopher Day, College of Charleston

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 3A 1:45-3:15 PM

Material Culture, Memory, and Mobility

Panel Chair: Lauren Jarvis, UNC-Chapel Hill

Elizabeth Fretwell Old Dominion University
Seamstresses, artisan workshops, and mobility in central Benin, West Africa, 1960s-1980s

Molly McCullers University of West Georgia
Paradise Drive-In: Cars, Safari, and Imperial Imaginaries in 20th Century Southern Africa

Ashley Parcells Jacksonville University
‘Our Language and Customs are Swazi, but we are Zulu’: Chieftaincy, Ethnicity, and Sovereignty in Ingwavuma

Victoria Rovine UNC-Chapel Hill
The Mobility of the Pith Helmet: A Colonial Accessory in France and French West Africa


Panel 3B 1:45-3:15 PM

Africa and COVID Pandemic: Bail or Bane

Panel Chair: Samba Camara, UNC-Chapel Hill

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”


Panel 4 Plenary Session 3:30-5:00 PM

African responses to COVID-19

Panel Chair, Kristen McLean, College of Charleston

Danielle Boaz UNC Charlotte
Religious Freedom vs. Public Health: East African Responses to Religious Gatherings and Ceremonies during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Chris Paul North Carolina Central University
Capacity and Complications: Understanding how the Ebola Crisis Affected the Function of Civil Service in Liberia

Seth Palmer Christopher Newport University
Pan-Africanism and Malagasy Nationalism in the Marketing of Covid Organics

Moses Khisa North Carolina State University
Countering Covid: Militarism, Securitization, and Regime Politics in Uganda


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