College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Fall 2017 MAAAS Conference


The Mid-America Alliance for African Studies (MAAAS) will hold its 2017 conference at the University of Kansas on October 20-21 in Lawrence, Kansas.

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. 
The deadline for submissions is August 28, 2017.  Please send a one-page Word document that includes your name, title, affiliation, contact information, paper title, and abstract of up to 250 words to  Any queries about the conference may also be sent to
Further details about registration and the conference program will be available later in the summer.  A modest registration fee will be charged with 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.
The conference is open to graduate students, faculty, administrators, staff, activists, and practitioners from any discipline. Graduate students should consider submitting their work for the Ken Lohrentz Graduate Paper Award. Please refer to the Ken Lorentz Graduate Awards page on the MAAAS website for information.

Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit abstracts of their original work for consideration. Papers that fall under the conference theme of legitimacy in Africa are especially encouraged, although other topics related to African Studies will be considered by the program committee.

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.

Mid-America Alliance for African Studies (MAAAS) Fall 2017 Conference

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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