College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Fall 2017 MAAAS Conference


MAAAS 2017 Conference Theme: “Interpretations of Colonial and Neo-Colonial Africa: Defining / Understanding /  Re-defining Legitimacy” 

The idea of legitimacy suggests a relationship between actors where conflicts can be mitigated through formalized legal institutions, and where everyone respects the rules of the game.  Colonialism had a disruptive effect on these relationships, however, and the impact has resonated well into the post-colonial era.  To better understand Africa’s contemporary challenges and the concept of legitimacy in modern times, we must re-examine the lasting impact that colonialism had on ideas of legitimacy.  Legitimacy is derived from the social, political, cultural, linguistic, and economic institutions that come to define a society and its people, and it is directly related to the development and stability of countries.  To this end, we are seeking papers from all disciplines that address the idea of legitimacy, broadly defined, in historical and contemporary Africa.

To view this year's preliminary program, please click here. 

To register for the 2017 MAAAS conference, please click here. 

Planning your trip to Lawrence, Kansas: 

The conference is open to graduate students, faculty, administrators, staff, activists, and practitioners from any discipline. Further details about registration and the conference program will be available soon. A modest registration fee will be charged at a reduced rate for students. For travel purposes, attendees should plan on arriving in Lawrence by noon on Friday, October 20th and staying through the full day on October 21st. 

Getting to Lawrence: Lawrence is approximately 45 minutes west of Kansas City. To consider all the available ways of getting to and from Lawrence, click here

Where to stay: Lawrence offers its visitors a range of different accommodation options, ranging in price and comfort level. For an expansive list of accommodation options, click here. MAAAS participants interested in staying on the KU campus during the conference should consider The Oread or The Halcyon House. Both these choices are within walking distance from the conference venue. 

Conference Venue and Parking: The conference will take place on the KU campus at the Hall Center for Humanities and The Commons. Both these venues are within walking distance from the parking garage located at the Kansas Union. Guest should expect to pay $1.75 for the first hour or any portion of an hour and $1.50 per hour for all subsequent hours. On Saturday guests can also make use of the parking lots adjacent to and across from the Hall Center. Click here for a campus map and directions to the Hall Center. 

Please revisit this page soon for information on conferences fees and MAAAS membership dues. 

Graduate Paper Award:  

Graduate students should consider submitting their work for the Ken Lohrentz Graduate Paper Award. Please refer to the Ken Lohrentz Graduate Awards page on the MAAAS website for guidelines on paper length and content. Alternatively, students interested in submitting their papers for this award can send them directly to Be sure to submit papers before 5:00 pm on October 2nd, 2017. 

About MAAAS:

The Mid-America Alliance for African Studies (MAAAS) is an organization for the promotion of African Studies in mid-America, including in particular the region between the Mississippi River and the frontal range of the Rocky Mountains. Founded at the University of Kansas in 1995, MAAAS seeks to encourage scholarship and teaching in African Studies regionally and sub-regionally through conferences, seminars, workshops, consortia, faculty and student exchanges, cooperative relations between libraries, and promotion of African language teaching, among other endeavors. MAAAS is open to all with an interest in scholarship and teaching within an African Studies focus, and it seeks especially to provide a forum for far-flung Africanists in the middle of the U.S., where great distances exist between relatively small pockets of African Studies enthusiasts.

Expert instruction in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof at the beginning and intermediate levels will be offered over eight weeks in June-July 2018.

Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit to learn more. 

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