We invite any scholars who plan to attend the 2015 African Studies Association (ASA) annual meeting in San Diego, CA (Nov 19-22) to submit paper abstracts of no more that 200 words for a panel provisionally entitled, “New Perspectives on Prisons, Detention, and Punishment in Africa”. This panel will examine the prison and experiences of detention in colonial and postcolonial Africa as a window into the relationship between African states and the societies within them. Forty years after the publication of Michel Foucault’s groundbreaking work, Discipline and Punish, scholars across the globe have turned to imprisonment and detention in order to better understand the operations of, and resistance to, state power. In African history, much more work is needed to illuminate the penal philosophies underpinning regimes of punishment; the function and structure of penal systems; the ways in which penal systems contributed to governance strategies of colonial and postcolonial states; and the experiences, perspectives and actions of prisoners.
While the two organisers of the panel are both historians, we invite scholars in any discipline working on this broad theme to submit abstracts. Particular topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• Methodological approaches to the study of prisons
• Forms of resistance in colonial and postcolonial prisons
• Prisons as a tool of governance and a vehicle for nation-building
• Gendered experiences of punishment and detention
• Penal philosophies, colonial or postcolonial
• Memories of imprisonment and confinement (individual or collective)
Please note that all final panel members must be current members of the ASA in order for the panel to be considered. If the panel is accepted, all presenters must preregister for the conference by May 15th.