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East Africa at 50: A Celebration of Histories and Futures Conference

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East Africa at 50: A Celebration of Histories and Futures Conference

08/09/2013

University of Nairobi, 10 – 12 September 2013

East Africa at 50 is an initiative that brings together scholars, writers, journalists, filmmakers and other knowledge producers for a reflection and celebration of the Eastern African region from the vantage point of the 50th anniversary of flag independence. While acknowledging the contested nature of independence itself, the conference convenes a platform from which to reflect on Eastern Africa’s literary, cultural and socio-political life: how has the region variously imagined itself in the five decades of flag independence? What are some of the indexical moments, experiences and ideas across the region’s histories? How have these been shaped, affirmed, critiqued or resuscitated at different moments in the region’s multiple temporal histories? What are some of the key cultural and intellectual debates that have animated the region’s public life, as articulated through the writing, cultural productions and scholarship from the region? How do these debates comment on, contribute to or interact with ideas and trends from continental and global debates? What are the distinctive cartographies of the region’s literary and politico-cultural landscapes that begin to take shape when we reflect back across the past 50 years? What kinds of futures can be envisioned through the lenses of the region’s multi-faceted literary, cultural and political life? Where are the points of connectivity, overlaps and dislocations across the region’s often fragmented social imaginaries; and how do these inflect the kinds of epistemic relationships imaginable in the region? Similarly, in examining the development of distinct national literatures – especially as elite commitments to community were replaced by civil war, economic decline and autocracy – the question of how unique national experiences shaped literary and cultural movements and development becomes key to deepening the sense of diversity and multiple connected futures within the region.

Download Conference Programme here

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