Call for Papers

5th International Conference of the Dakar Institute of African Studies

5th International Conference of the Dakar Institute of African Studies 

July 5-6, 2019
Dakar, Senegal


The Critical Thinker-Doer:
Higher Education and Knowledge Production for the Common Good

Atelier du Pipeline for Emerging African Studies Scholars (PEASS) d’African Studies Review (ASR)

organisé en collaboration avec l’Institut d’Études Africaines de Dakar

Jeudi, 4 juillet 2019

Dakar, Sénégal


Discourses produced on Africa have traditionally documented the continent’s many ills and challenges. They have also shed light on the genius of its people, the vibrancy of its cultures, and its incommensurable natural resources. This intellectual tradition has recently led scholars, analysts, people in the business sector, artists, and the like to argue that the 21st century is Africa’s time to rise and rule the world. However, beyond its rhetorical nature, what is the potential for this prediction to materialize now or in the near future?

If many believe that education offers the most reliable avenue to harness Africa’s energy and creativity, one wonders if African countries have the right education system at this juncture. Clapperton Mavhunga contends that they do not. He suggests that Africans need to create for themselves an education system that is cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary, problem-solving, which promotes grassroots-based and ground-up knowledge production, and trains “critical thinker-doers.” The goal should be to conceive “a philosophical template from which an African imagination could happen,” and to make sure that research is not simply aimed at the insular academic circles, but instead serves the needs of all Africans. This deep critical thinking and commitment, according to Achille Mbembe, are urgently necessary if we are to break the vicious circle of the not-well-thought-out development strategies, which have been always prescribed for Africa, yet continue to fail. Along the same perspective, decades ago, Cheikh Anta Diop advocated the importance of efficient and selfless intellectuals who are profoundly knowledgeable about Africa’s realities and aspirations, and who could chart the right path for the continent toward a brighter future.

Today, African countries are at a critical juncture. They are in a dire need for a new social contract in knowledge production and knowledge sharing for the empowerment of people and communities everywhere in the continent. This situation challenges Africans to come up with new ways of thinking and doing that epistemologically fit their existence.

The Fifth International Symposium of the Dakar Institute will focus on the different ways in which the concept of the critical thinker-doer could best be materialized. Participants from various geographical and professional origins will try and think about how research could help deepen our theoretical knowledge in various fields of inquiry, but at the same time generate the skills and know-how that decision-makers need as well as communities, people in business, and non-profit organizations. How could the « critical thinker-doer » concept impact Africa’s destiny?

Participants will begin evaluating research in and on Africa, and the conditions under which it happens. Does research create useful knowledge for society? How could we measure this impact in light of the huge financial resources and energy invested in research? What should be the relationships between fundamental research, applied research, and action research ? Would it be contradictory to the mission of universities and to the promotion of critical thinking to provide our students with skills necessary to solve real world problems? Where does knowledge on/by Africans (Hountondji) fit in research and teaching in our universities? How best could the scholar work with and for communities when their representation of the scholar is not conducive to collaboration?

We invite papers, panels, and performances (in English or French) on, but not limited to, the following sub-themes:

1) Current Trends and Realities of Higher Education in Africa

– Empowering the African University: Opportunities and Challenges

– Higher Education and Social (In)equality

– African Diasporas, Knowledge Creation, and Knowledge Sharing

– Education and Market Forces

– University Curriculum, Research, and the Making of the Thinker-Doer

2) The Challenges of Knowledge Creation on/in Africa

– Imperialism, Humanitarianism, and the Origin of African Studies

– The Construction of Africa in the Western Academy in the 21st Century

– Knowledge of Africa, Knowledge by Africans

– African Art as Philosophy

– How African Is the Field of African Studies

– The Insurrection Will Come through Education

– Un-thinking Africa: Decolonial Practices Beyond the Ivory Tower

3) Relationship Between Fundamental and Applied Research

– Applied Research in Africa

– Theorizing Doing and Doing Theory

– The Public Intellectual

– African knowledge transfer: the role of technology

– Agricultural Research: From the Lab to the Farm, and Back

– Applied Law, Customary and State Institutions

– Politics, Social Activism, and the Future of Africa

The African Studies Review in partnership with the Dakar Institute will host the African Studies Review Pipeline for Emerging African Studies Scholars workshop, immediately preceding the conference on Thursday July 4, 2019.

The African Studies Review (ASR) convenes Pipeline for Emerging African Studies Scholars (PEASS) Workshops in collaboration with the African Studies Association (USA) to stimulate, solicit, and further develop high quality journal submissions from emerging scholars of African studies under the mentorship of senior Africanists. Scholars who wish to submit a proposal to a PEASS are, ideally, post-doctoral researchers, newly minted PhDs with works-in-progress currently underway, and soon-to-submit PhD students. Emerging scholars will have an opportunity to work closely with senior scholars to re-work a pre-circulated draft article. This workshop will be run entirely in French.

The broader goals of PEASS Workshops are to:

Increase submissions from emerging scholars to top-rated journals, especially ASR;

Improve quality of submissions from emerging scholars;

Improve access to ASR for emerging scholars;

Improve networking and collaboration opportunities among like-minded scholars; and

Increase participation of emerging scholars in review process.

For more information about the PEASS workshop, visit:


Abstract deadline: May 1st, 2019. Please send your title, abstract, and a short bio with the subject “Conference 2019” to:

NB: When submitting your abstract, indicate if you want to be considered for the Pipeline for Emerging African Studies Scholars workshop, which is scheduled for July 4, 2019.


  • Scholars outside of Africa $100
  • Students outside of Africa $50
  • Scholars in Africa $50
  • Students in Africa $25


Université Cheikh Anta Diop

West African Research Center

University of West Indies, Mona, Jamaica

For more information visit: