Special Issue Call for Papers: Issues of Decolonization and Africanization in Southern African Contexts

Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of the Arts and Humanities in Southern Africa

Special Issue Call for Papers: Issues of Decolonization and Africanization in Southern African Contexts

Alternation is an interdisciplinary academic peer-reviewed open access journal for policy makers, practitioners, and the research community, on the Arts and Humanities and related fields in Southern Africa.

Each journal issue is thematic, and the product of an Alternation Research Group under the leadership of one or more of the members of the Alternation Editorial Committee.

Alternation invites articles, and responses to articles of up to 10 000 words dealing with topics relevant to the contemporary scholarly significance of the academic comparative study of the Arts and Humanities. (Longer articles may also be considered for publication.)

Book reviews between 1000-1200 words are also welcome. 

  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof Johannes A. Smit
  • Associate Editor: Prof Nobuhle P. Hlongwa


AlterNation Special Issue

Issues of Decolonization and Africanization in Southern African Contexts

Guest editors for this special issue:

What are the limits placed on the ‘decolonization’ project by the forces of neoliberalism? How are the latter affecting the future of the university? Is ‘decolonization’ the same as ‘Africanization’? (Mbembe 2016)


These critical questions cut to the core of the decolonization project and are no less true today than when they were uttered in 2016 by the erudite scholar known for not mincing his words, Achille Mbembe.

The epistemic crisis wrought by colonization and the multiple insidious forms of neo- colonization continue to perpetuate cognitive injustices or the refusal to recognise the diverse ways through which different people make sense of the world and their lives.


Given this reality,

  • what does decolonization mean and what shape does decolonization and Africanization take in our institutions of research, teaching and learning, and community engagement?
  • do we have the courage to confront and dismantle the dominant narrative that may well seek to silence the minority voices in the ‘decolonization agenda’, and so perpetuate the very hegemony that needs to be disassembled? And,
  • what are the shape and size of the decolonised configurations of knowledge that need to replace the colonising projects?
  • how is COVID-19 impacting projects and programmes of decolonization and Africanization?

This special issue is located within a south-south collaborative initiative between the University of KwaZulu-Natal and University of Botswana, and looks at issues that shape and inform both research and curriculum in Southern African contexts, including the epistemic violence and hegemony that encircles research, and teaching and learning, and community engagement in Higher Education.

This special issue aims at bringing together critically-informed and constructivist papers that attempt to ‘tease out’ the multiple strands in the decolonisation and Africanization discourse, and seek to allow the ‘blind spots’ to be revealed.

In ‘troubling’ and problematizing the notion of Africanization we  also ‘trouble’ the notion of who and what being African is, how to be African, and the complex nature of social identities.

The editors invite both theoretical as well as empirical papers that seek to critically engage and grapple with the variously positioned poly-vocal meanings of Colonialism/s and Post- colonialism, Decolonization and Africanization, specifically within the geo-political Southern African space.


Papers may include but are not restricted to


*  Migrated African Archives: What Does this Mean for ‘African’ Research?

African Feminism/s: Teaching & Researching within African Feminist Paradigms

Issues of Post-colonialism/s, Nationalism/s and Identity

Decolonizing of Curriculum, including the Impacts of COVID-19

Africanization of the Curriculum, including the Impacts of COVID-19

Complexities in the research-lead teaching and learning of Decolonization/ Africanization

The scholarly approaches may come from inter-, multi,- as well as transdisciplinary perspectives, and may also include approaches from the Arts and Humanities disciplines such as: anthropological, economic, educational, philosophical, historical, sociological, psychological, and political approaches.

Time frame (01 April – 31 December 2020)

  • 01 May 2020 Deadline for submission of abstracts
  • 08 May 2020 Communication about acceptance of abstracts
  • 30 August 2020 Final date for submission of paper
  • September 2020 Peer review process
  • 31 October 2020 Submission of final edited paper
  • November 2020 Publication

Please send your topic, abstract and full paper (6000 - 8000 words) as per the relevant dates to one of the editors by 30 April 2020.

Note: as per DHET policy, no more than 25% of papers per issue can be from any one single University/ Institution.

Full author guidelines are available at: https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/soa/Authorguidlines

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