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[EXTENDED DEADLINE] Beyond Profit: Extracting and Assessing the Scope of Violence in West Africa’s Mining Industry

Extended Deadline: March 22

Potential presenters are sought for the West Africa Research Association’s (WARA) co-sponsored panel on “Beyond Profit: Extracting and Assessing the Scope of Violence in West Africa’s Mining Industry” to be held at the African Studies Association’s 67th Annual Meeting, December 12-14, 2024. Chicago IL
Panel Theme: Beyond Profit: Extracting and Assessing the Scope of Violence in West Africa’s Mining Industry

Panel Overview
For centuries, the extraction of mineral resources, as a vital component of human technological development, has been a defining characteristic of West African informal and political economies. While the extant scholarship has examined the ecological effects of mining in this region, the scope of its impact on violence in the artisanal, corporate, small, and large-scale operations across the region is yet to be fully mapped out and interrogated.
This panel seeks to critically examine the manifestations of violence embedded within West Africa’s mining landscapes, investigating the ways in which these sites become spaces of contestation and resistance. Importantly, we position this analysis within the broader framework of “Global Africa” recognizing that the violence generated within Africa’s mining sector is inextricably linked to global flows of capital, geopolitical interests, and patterns of consumption that extend far beyond the continent’s borders.
We invite scholars, activists, practitioners, and those with lived experiences to submit proposals that illuminate the complex dynamics of violence within the African mining context. We particularly encourage submissions that move beyond simplistic narratives and engage with the following questions:
• Structural Violence: How do historical legacies of colonialism, neocolonial economic structures, and the uneven dynamics of global trade shape patterns of violence within African mining communities?
• Labor Exploitation and Conflict: What are the diverse forms of labor exploitation occurring within the mining sector? How do conflicts over wages, working conditions, and land rights manifest, and how are they linked to violence and transnational labor networks?
• Gendered Violence: How does gender shape experiences of violence and vulnerability within mining communities?
• Environmental Degradation, and Land Dispossession: How does mining-related environmental degradation fuel violence? How are communities displaced and dispossessed of their lands and livelihoods in the name of resource extraction, and how do these processes intersect with global patterns of environmental injustice?
• State and Corporate Complicity: What roles do state actors, security forces, multinational corporations, and global financial institutions play in perpetuating or enabling violence within mining zones?
• Global Consumption and Complicity: In what ways are consumers in the Global North implicated in violence associated with Africa’s mining industry? How can movements for ethical consumption and supply chain transparency challenge these dynamics?
• Resistance and Resilience: What strategies of resistance do communities, workers, activists, and social movements employ to challenge violence and demand accountability within the mining industry? How do these movements connect to broader global struggles for justice and sustainability?
• ⁠Mining and Urbanization: To what extent has mining shaped/reshaped African urbanization.
• ⁠Mining Treaties and Licenses: How have treaties, licenses and negotiations of mining spaces affected African communities?

Nwachukwu Uzoamaka
Department of History,
Indiana University Bloomington

Vitalis Nwashindu
Department of History,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts: Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to the panel organizers- Nwachukwu Uzoamaka and Vitalis Nwashindu at- africamininghistory@gmail.com

Format: We welcome historical analyses, case studies, interdisciplinary research, theoretical explorations, and contributions utilizing visual or artistic methodologies.

Deadline: [Friday, March 22, 2024]