The 8th Humanities Korea International Conference

Dear colleagues and friends,

The Institute of African Studies (IAS) of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) is pleased and honored to announce that it co-hosts the 8th HK (Humanities Korea) International Conference in conjuction with the University of Bayreuth, Germany. The conference will be held on 25-27 October 2018 at the Global Campus of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Yongin city, South Korea.

The plan for this conference has been conceived and is in the effective process of being implemented as an integral part of what we have done so far within the framework of Humanities Korea (HK) research project in addition to contributing to academic excellence by means of international cooperation. This international conference is intended to bring together all the researchers engaged in Africa-related studies and exchange productive and mutually beneficial viewpoints and ideas, which are crucially conducive to the advancement of our research activities and inter-university cooperation for promoting African Studies.

The main theme of the third stage of our research project is ‘disappearance and reconstitution’. For the main theme to be lucidly and succinctly reflected in the list of papers to be presented, we have fastidiously decided the main theme and subthemes of this annual event. However, we have been trying to invite more scholars to present a wide range of topics, so that more prospective participants could be encouraged to take part in the conference in preparation.

Being cognizant of this, the conference will address a wide range of critically important issues and themes relating to African Studies in general and relevant to socio-cultural and politico-economic factors and phenomena that can be observed in African societies at various scales and in multiple aspects.

Conference themes

The main theme of our 2018 conference is ‘Africa in an Ever-changing, Multi-faceted and Multi-layered World’, which is intended to investigate into how Africa adapts itself to an ever-changing and ever-fragmented world.

The transition from bi-polarism to multi-polarism has affected virtually every aspect of our lives and created new environments in one way or another. Africa is not an exception to the current trends and challenges, but newly created conditions and environments influence African countries both at individual and wider societal levels.

It is plain and evident that we have achieved a lot by virtue of traditional and well-established ways of understanding in a broad variety of disciplines. Despite this fact, new trends and approaches continue to emerge for the purpose of looking for new ways of analyzing and understanding African societies and cultures. In this atmosphere, one does not need to be shy away from these new ways.

African societies go through a number of overarching changes both at the local as well as global level. The consequences of these changes affect the everyday lives of people in one way or another. Changing social situations in Africa require us to have a new approach and the inclusion of emergent key issues in our research agenda.

In this vein, we need to look for appropriate research methodologies that will empower us to adequately explain and analyze emergent key issues in a proper and scientific way. Within a larger framework of the main theme ‘Africa in an Ever-changing, Multi-faceted and Multi-layered World’, the following subthemes and other related ones could be included and would be welcome.

The themes and subthemes are as follows:

Agenda 1: Differences and similarities in African studies

Agenda 1 is set aside as a continuation of what was discussed in the workshop held at die Universität Bayreuth in Germany at the beginning of December, 2017. New, innovative and creative ways of analyzing and understanding African societies and cultures continue to emerge and be practiced in many parts of the world. They have the possibility of empowering us to find alternative and non-conventional ways of looking at African societies. Agenda 1 is, as mentioned above, designed for delving into the historical and intellectual contexts in which the institutionalization of African studies took root. Each respective country has its own research interests and programs that have stimulated and attracted attention. Participants are, therefore, requested to deal with these issues in a retrospective and introspective way.

– old/current/new approaches to African studies

– on being taken for granted in depicting and representing Africa

– the conventionalized and de-conventionalized in African studies

– universality and particularity in understanding other societies and cultures in the global context

– country-specific ways of analyzing and understanding African societies and cultures

– established theoretical prism and its applicability

– othering in African studies

– interdisciplinarity, multi-disciplinarity cross-disciplinarity and transdisciplinarity

– challenges and prospects facing a new generation of Africanists

(An Africanist here is a rather loosely defined term referring to a scholar actively engaged in a scientific and systematic study of African societies and cultures.)

– and other related and relevant issues

Agenda 2: Major thematic and regional issues in contemporary African societies

Panel 1: Popular cultures and urban youth culture in Africa

Making sense of such a vast and diverse continent as Africa is uphill all the way in view of its complexity and diversity. A profound understanding of emerging popular cultures in Africa is of crucial importance. The fundamental importance of studying and understanding emerging popular cultures, particularly urban youth culture, should not be underestimated. This panel deals with the multifaceted aspects of popular cultures in Africa that are in a constant state of flux.

– diversity and complexity

– Afrocentrism and Euro-centrism

– emerging urban subcultures

– urban youth languages

– marginality and social stigmatization

– social norms, values and practices associated with urban youth culture

– social structure and individual agency

– collective morality versus individual distinctiveness

– and other related themes and issues

Panel 2: Language and education, language contact in Africa

Language is very closely interconnected with education, which forms the core of capacity building and the chances of upward social mobility. Panel 2 is prepared to discuss such topics as language in education, multilingualism, European languages as a representation of colonial legacy, language as a social and ethnic marker and other related issues.

– the intellectualization of African languages at the age of globalization

– the role of language in economic development and participatory democracy

– African languages as a medium of instruction

– language ideology and European languages as a colonial legacy

– African urban youth languages

– language as an educated elite enclosure

– language and ethnic identity and polarization

– areal diffusion and contact-induced language change in Africa

– language contact and new varieties

– new trends and dimensions in and approaches to African linguistics

– and other related themes and issues

Panel 3: Literature and postcoloniality

Literature is often considered to be a mirror of society and life as a whole. Literature reflects the human condition as well as the social, cultural and historical aspects of a society. In this respect, participants in Panel 3 are encouraged to explore the following topics.

– making sense of the impact of African literary works on the world literature

– the dynamism of and interpace between oral (orature) and written literature

– major themes and topics in the works of contemporary African writers

– representations of Africa in literary works

– discursive construction of Africa

– Afro-European literature

– colonial and postcolonial African literature

– African literature in European languages

– postcolonial coloniality and its implication

– language contact and contact linguistics

– linguistic variables in urban settings

– and other related themes and issues


Panel 4: Gender and land issues

It is no exaggeration to emphasize that gender and land issues have something in common in the sense that they are related to structural inequalities and accessibility to various resources. Panel 4 is intended to deal with these controversial and polemical issues that affect the every aspect of life in Africa.

– gender inequities in access to land

– race, gender, ethnicicty, nationality and de-ethnicized national identity

social and cultural constructions of masculinities and femininities

– gender as a practice

– gender-based inequality

– the construction of hegemonic masculinity

– land tenure systems

– land rights, illegal grabbing and conflicts in Africa

– inclusive land governance for improving women’s land rights

– land rights for indigenous peoples

– and other related themes and issues

Panel 5: African diaspora

Panel 5 is a conceptual and thematic exploration of African-Diasporic identities and search for their origin in the Americas and other parts of the world. Theoretical approaches, comparative perspectives and methodologies that are relevant for and conducive to understanding African Diasporic identity can be discussed in this panel. For a profound understanding of the making of African-Diasporic identity, one needs to historicize the trajectory of people of African descent. For this to be done, comparative and historical perspectives and approaches that combine historical aspects with contemporary ones would be implemental.

– the African presence in a global context

– historical and cultural linkages between African and African Diaspora people

– the intellectual, political, artistic, and social experiences of people of African descent

– the lives of people of African descent throughout Africa and the African diaspora.

– recent trends and approaches in the analysis and research on African-descended peoples

– and other related themes and issues

Panel 6: Recent major and critical issues related to Africa

In recent years, some African countries have gone through socio-political turns and twists that have reshaped many aspects in their respective countries. These changes triggered by various factors are examined and analyzed from different perspectives and viewpoints, often reflecting specific research interests and goals. Headed by PRC which is now Africa’s biggest trade partner, some Asian giants such as India and Japan have shown their growing involvement in Africa. What does this mean for the continent’s economic future and political destiny.? This panel discusses these essential issues..

– recent political and politico-economic and socio-cultural upheavals in Kenya, Zimbabwe and the Republic of South Africa and their consequences

– One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR) by PRC

– A new Asian scramble for Africa?

– and other related themes and issues

Official language of the conference

The official language of the conference will be English.


Mode of presentation

The preferable mode of presentation is by PPT. The power point presentations preferably should not exceed the time allocation. The time allocated for each presentation is 30 minutes (25 minutes for your presentation and 5 minutes for questions and answers at the end of each session.

Scheduled timeline

– The title of your paper to be presented, be it tentative or final, should reach us by the 20th of April 2018.

– We would highly appreciate it if you could send us the title and abstract, or proposals of your paper (be it tentative or final) by the 25th of May 2018 at the latest.

– Your final paper to be presented has to reach us by the 30th of September (Sunday) 2018.

Air fare and accommodation

In principle, each participant is advised to secure air fare from the university or institution he/she is affiliated with. For this to be done, we are ready to send an official letter of invitation to your esteemed institution. Therefore, you are kindly asked to let us have the postal address to which our letter is to be sent. You are also required to get travel insurance that covers the whole period of your scheduled stay in Korea. Accommodation will be provided at the university hostel located just next to our institute. For those who wish to stay longer either for sightseeing or personal visit, prior notification will be highly appreciated for arranging for accommodation in advance.

All those interested in attending this conference are most welcome, and in case of any inquiries please do not hesitate to contact us.


For further enquiries about this conference, please contact:

Chul-Joon YANG (conference coordinator, organizing committee)

Institute of African Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

81 Oedae-ro, Mohyeon-myeon, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-city, Gyeonggi-do 17035

South Korea

Tel. +82-31-330 4855

Fax. +82-31-330 4865