ASA 2020 Virtual Meeting

November 19-21, 2020

The African Studies Association (ASA), the largest U.S. based organization of Africanist scholars, invites proposals for a series of panels and roundtables focusing on COVID-19 within the 2020 virtual Annual Meeting.

The Board of the African Studies Association invites proposals on a broad range of subjects in relation to COVID-19. This interdisciplinary series of COVID-19 sessions will engage scholars, activists, artists, healthcare practitioners and administrators, policy makers, scientists, and others to broaden the opportunity for dialogue and knowledge sharing. The ASA encourages proposals from activists working in communities in Africa and beyond that are currently challenged by the pandemic. By Fall of 2020, the very character of the pandemic looks likely to be quite different from when the disease begun. We want to learn from youth’s and others’ innovations, and gain from the insights, experiences, and reflections of participants about how governments, community organizations, and international organizations are negotiating, navigating, and managing ways forward.

Suggested Session Topics
The ASA invites you to consider the following suggestions for possible interdisciplinary COVID-19 sessions. Proposals addressing any of these topics are welcome. As always, participants are welcome to suggest others.
We anticipate 10 sessions that could include proposals on any of the following suggested themes:

• Gendered and generational dynamics around management of care in families (including food and health)
• African migrants in and out of detention centers in Europe, Latin America, the United States, and North Africa
• The impact on development aid programming, including the crisis of food security, and other areas of limited resources
• Healthcare workers’ use of Ebola-informed techniques to communicate health messages, educate the public, prepare emergency back-up facilities to quarantine and protect themselves and their patients from contagion spread
• The experience of displaced African health professionals in the West
• The precarity and peril of work for a segment of African immigrants (for example, in meat-packing plants, as healthcare workers, etc.)
• The impact on refugee camps, IDP camps, urban informal settlements
• Crime during COVID-19
• Policing strategies during COVID-19
• Anti-COVID strategies as instruments of state repression
• Black Lives Matter movements or responses on the continent and in collaboration with those in the diaspora
• Global South interdisciplinary and innovative strategies of success
• The engagement of Africa-based artists as public health advocates
• Involvement and role of UNESCO and other arts-related agencies
• Science, scientific leaders, and society
• Past and present lessons from biological, epidemiological, socioeconomic and political dimensions
• Historically-informed examinations of health policy, treatment, and vaccine considerations
• Historical studies of epidemics in Africa – 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, Ebola, SARS, MERS
• Initiatives of international and transcontinental organizations – WHO, African CDC, African Union, etc.
• International conflicts over scientific research, patents and restricted access to medical therapies and vaccine
• Religion, religious organizations, and civil society’s engagement with COVID-19-related issues and concerns
• Youth initiatives and innovations around COVID-19
• Education and knowledge sharing (e.g., webinars) about COVID-19

Types of Submission
The ASA welcomes proposals of panels, roundtables, and individual papers.

A panel has a chair, no more than four paper presenters, and a discussant. A panel proposal consists of: 1) the title and abstract; 2) name, email address, phone number, and institutional affiliation for each participant; and 3) paper titles and an abstract for all the papers. The panel abstract includes a statement about the topic and a brief summary of the main argument(s) to be explored (approximately 250 words). The quality of the panel abstracts is the main criterion for acceptance; a panel with a weak abstract or with two or more weak paper abstracts is unlikely to be accepted.

A roundtable has a chair and no more than four presenters. The proposal has a title, abstract, and the proposed roundtable participants. The abstract is a statement about the topic and a brief summary of the main issues to be explored (approximately 250 words). The quality of the roundtable abstract is the main criterion for acceptance.

Individual Paper
Individual COVID-19 paper proposals should only be submitted if you are not presenting a paper in a pre-organized panel in the COVID-19 series. The paper abstract should include a statement summary of the topic, the nature, and extent of the research on which the paper is based, and a brief summary of the main argument(s) (a maximum of 200 words). The quality of the paper abstract is the main criterion for acceptance. The COVID-19 Task Force will create panels from individual submissions with common themes and identify a panel chair.

Submission Guidelines

COVID Series sessions will be peer-reviewed. The general CFP participation rules do not apply to COVID Series sessions. Presenters who are already on the program may submit original proposals. Abstracts that were already submitted prior to the submission deadline cannot be resubmitted for COVID Series consideration.

The COVID Series submission portal via OpenWater will open Monday, August 17, 2020.
The COVID Series submission portal will close at 5 pm EST, on Monday, September 14, 2020.

**PLEASE NOTE: If you did not submit a proposal earlier this year, you will likely need to set up a new login in on the submission page below. Instructions are on the submission site homepage in orange.

Questions can be directed to the ASA at