CfP: Human Rights and Emergency Law in Independence Era Africa

Call for Papers from Meredith Terretta, University of Ottawa:

This proposed panel for the African Studies Association Conference, taking place from 20 to 23 November 2014 in Indianapolis, USA, takes up one of the conference themes: Histories and ethnographies of human rights, humanitarian intervention, and social movements. It explores the ways in which African activists from throughout the continent used human rights talk as political and legal expression before and after official independence. Conversely, it examines the ways in which colonial and/or postcolonial regimes used exceptional legislation (such as state of emergency, preventive detention, or anti-subversion laws) to circumvent human rights principles as they became applicable to African territories under European rule in the postwar era. Colleagues and advanced graduate students who have worked in the Migrated Archive (UK), in recently declassified files in other colonial holdings, in human rights NGOs records or in UN archives are especially invited to participate.

The goal is to examine within a same panel (or in two back-to-back panels, depending on the number of interested participants) the transnational networks forged among activists, within and beyond the continent, while also considering transregional collaboration among colonial and postcolonial regimes in the use of emergency legislation, particularly during the period from late 1940s to early 1970s (although those working on later decolonization processes are also welcome).

Please contact me not later than 13 March 2014 at with your name, affiliation and brief summary of proposed paper topic.

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