Call for Abstracts - MISR 2019 Graduate Student Conference

14 Jan, 2019,

Makerere Institute of Social Research calls for abstract submissions for the 2019 Graduate Student Conference scheduled for June 28 - 29 2019.

Theme:  Living Thought at the Meeting of Fieldwork and Theory.

For thinkers of and on the African continent, the task has been to push the boundaries of Western epistemological systems in order to write about the social realities we encounter in our everyday lives. In certain circles of African social sciences and humanities, theorizing about the difficulties, if not impossibility, of this task, has sometimes sidelined serious experimenting with ways of accomplishing it. We would like to suggest that the first step to a decolonial approach to knowledge production is to take fieldwork as the site from which different ways of theorizing can emerge. If taken seriously, our fieldwork should already have shaken up our assumptions, forced us to rethink our questions, and produced that sense of wonder and enthusiasm from which fresh theorizing can take place. We would like this conference to provide a forum for experimenting with the idea of fieldwork as theoretical production in itself. In other words, what does our fieldwork suggest are the adequate terms to bring the realities we have experienced into focus? Some of the questions to guide such an experiment might be: can the languages in which we conduct our fieldwork provide these terms from which to build alternative conceptual apparatuses? If so, how do we translate them in order to bring them to this scholarly conversation? What kinds of alternative temporal and spatial frames did our encounters with oral or written archives, or human beings shore up? Perhaps these have been left untheorized because they were experienced as problems – ideas that didn’t quite fit the conceptual frames we started with. What happens if we take the language or time or place problems encountered in our fieldwork as the sites to theorize rather than those to discard or finesse? 

Most importantly, we would like this conference to be a creative scholarly space in which participants feel free to propose and explore ideas suggested by and through their fieldwork, even, and especially, if they are not articulated in the western epistemological language we are used to theorizing in.

We welcome papers/chapters in, or better still, crisscrossing the disciplinary fields of literary and cultural studies, political economy, political studies and history. Travel and full board accommodation will be guaranteed by MISR for presenters based on the African continent. The English language is the principle medium of communication for this conference. 


a) Conference Date: June 28 - 29, 2019

b) Deadline for submission of paper/chapter abstracts: April 30, 2019 (Word limit: 250)

c) Notification of abstract acceptance: May 06, 2019

d) Deadline for full paper/chapter submission: May 31, 2019

e) Please send submissions and/or questions to Alamin Hamid, David Tshimba and

Lisa Damon via e-mail to: