Call for Papers: The World and Africa

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“The World and Africa” in the 21st Century: China, The West, and Economic Interventions in the African Continent

A Conference in the Critical Tradition of W.E.B. Du Bois

“Africa, arise, and stand straight, speak, and think! Turn from the West and your slavery and humiliation for the last 500 years and face the rising sun . . . don’t let the West invest when you can avoid it. Don’t buy capital from Britain, France, and the United States if you can get it on reasonable terms from the Soviet Union and China. This is not politics. It is common sense....”

1959 address by W.E.B. Du Bois at Beijing University on his 91st birthday


Today, the West expresses concern about China’s massive entry into Africa’s economy, but many African leaders enthusiastically welcome Chinese economic aid, joint ventures, and investment. The West continues to flex its imperialist muscles and exploit Africa’s wealth in Africa. But what about China? Is China focused on mutually beneficial aid and investment? Or is this vigorous neo-capitalist economy seeking to maximize profits from economic enterprise in Africa?  Does Du Bois’s admonition, uttered during the apex of socialist economic goals in China, remain valid?

This conference, tentatively set for November 4-5, 2016 on the campus of Howard University, is soliciting papers that build our understanding of Chinese and Western intervention in Africa and the competition between the great powers. A broad range of topics and methodologies within this framework is encouraged, including

  • African responses to opportunities for economic engagement with the West and/or China
  • Case studies at the country, region, or project level
  • How Chinese and Western economic interventions in Africa compare to their economic intervention in other regions, e.g. Latin America and Asia
  • Historical analyses of developments in imperialist practices between the 19th and 21st centuries, especially with regard to Africa
  • Economic development theory (including such theorists as Lewis, Rostow, Marx and others) as exemplified in the African experience
  • International political, diplomatic, and military processes related to economic interventions in Africa
  • Cultural implications for Africa as a result of economic interventions by the West and/or China
  • Projections of likely trajectories of inter-imperialist or great power rivalries in Africa and globally, based on current trends and historical experience

Outstanding papers from this conference will be submitted for publication in a special issue of the Review of Black Political Economy.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words by May 30, 2016 to both: