Dying for respect: Corporeal Precarities and the Ganglife in Africa Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

April 14-15, 2022

We invite scholars interested in gangs, violence, and body politics in Africa to propose papers that explore the inscription of death in the imagination of youth gangs. In particular, we’re interested not just in what mortality means for these groups (or individuals), but in the micro infrastructures that help them to imagine bodily precarity in specific ways. What systems of imagining, for instance, allow the performance of masculine violence to underpin the gangster’s signalling of corporeal immortality (that is the art of not fearing death)? How does this interact with known anxieties about the youthful body? We’d also be interested in papers that think through how the gangster’s relationship with the violent discipline of the state shapes imaginations about death and dying.
To fully engage with the morbid imaginings around death in the gangscape, it is also helpful to explore the post-death politics of youth life. In this, we seek papers that tease out how the issues we have pointed at above seep into practices of mourning and visual memorialization. In short, how do gangsters remember their dead? Is the corpse of the gangster abjected, or is it deployed as a site of resistance and power? Or does the very process of abjection of the corpse represent resistance?

These questions all converge on critical interdisciplinary intersections, and we’re particularly interested in submissions that demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach. To be selected, the proposal must be both empirically and theoretically grounded.

Workshop Format
This workshop is designed to help prepare theoretically and empirically rich papers for publication in a Special Issue which we intend to submit to Critical African Studies. As a result, we’d require that all selected participants send a draft article in advance of the workshop. This draft need not be more than 3000 words, excluding citations. These will be circulated, and two discussants will be selected to provide comprehensive feedback on each paper.
At the workshop, participants will be given just 5 minutes to reflect on the theoretical underpinnings and implications of their paper, after which the discussants will provide comprehensive feedback. There will then be a general discussion of the paper, focusing on its case study and how it links to the broader literature on the subject. It’s important that participants are aware that there will be no traditional conference-style presentations. This format will ensure that we can engage deeply with the papers and thus better prepare them for the planned journal special issue.
While we’ll encourage all selected participants to physically attend, there will be provision for a blended format where travel to Nigeria isn’t possible.

How to Apply:
Submissions of no more than 500 words should be sent here by February 15th, 2022.

Important Dates
Abstract Deadline: February 15, 2022
Notification of Selection: February 20, 2022
First Draft: March 20, 2022
Workshop: April 14–15, 2022
Revised Draft: August 1, 2022, Tentative Publication Date: June 2023 Funding

This workshop is funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust as part of the project Morbid Significations: violent gangs, masculinities, and death practices in Southern Nigeria (SRG2021\210771). We’ll cover the cost of travel, accommodation, and meals for selected participants.

Email inquiries: [email protected] Submission Long Link:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdK0KLg7cyf6t30ul2uDvwcr8YsWWx- L00aOC0MUfeeEu4kRA/viewform?usp=pp_url

Conveners: Dr. Akin Iwilade (Principal Investigator, University of Edinburgh); Dr. Shina Alimi (Co-Investigator, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife)