Call for Papers: 2006 African Heritage Studies Association, 10/06

Understanding Health and Well-Being in Africa and its Diasporas African Heritage Studies Association Annual Conference University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida October 19-21, 2006

The Department of Africana Studies at the University of South Florida invites proposals for panels, roundtables, and posters sessions for the annual conference of the African Heritage Studies Association to be held in Tampa, Florida, October 19-21. The theme of this year's conference is "Understanding Health and Well-Being in Africa and its Diaporas."

As the social ills associated with modernity penetrate our lives, the phenomenon of health security/insecurity has emerged as a global issue that disproportionately afflicts the people of Africa and its diasporas. Today, the problem of health disparity is attracting heightened scientific attention, and there is no shortage of research on acute and chronic health problems. This heightened attention is more often than not set within a biomedical frame of what constitutes health and well-being, but at the same time, there is growing awareness that illness is not simply a biomedical phenomenon.

The crisis of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory ailments, etc. are well known. But less on the forefront of our consciousness as directly health-related are the intractable economic, political, environmental, racial, ethnic, social, military, and other historically created social ills and vulnerabilities. Illness is a function of the social, cultural and environmental worlds we create by our collective histories. According to this view, physical and mental illness are symptoms of complex and often long-term adverse social policies and cultural directions. This view invites questions as to the adequacy of definitions, investigative strategies, explanations, diagnoses, and treatments based on a system of knowledge anchored in epistemic power relations forged over centuries.

The conference encourages bold questions about health security/insecurity and its inseparable link to the political economy of Africa and its diasporas. Conference participants are encouraged to view health security/insecurity in the broadest terms, allowing for rethinking of the basic concepts by which we understand the well-being of a people. This is an interdisciplinary conference, and participation is invited from academics as well as other professionals, from faculty and from graduate students. Presenters may address any of the following or related topics as panels, individual papers, round tables, or poster presentations. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Health security as a cultural and historical condition
  • Health disparities: race, color, class, culture, gender, age and health
  • Knowledge, power, and conceptions of health
  • Indigenous knowledge and conceptions of health and well-being
  • Economic security and health
  • Globalization, migration, and health
  • Social organization: family, sexuality, youth and health
  • Mental health and its varied conceptions
  • Health, legal and political rights, and self-determination
  • Human rights, human security, and health
  • Healing: art, science, spirit
  • Natural and un-natural disasters and health
  • Culture, environment, and sustainable health
Panel Proposals
Submissions are encouraged for panels of 3-4 presenters and a discussant. Panel proposals should contain the following:
  1. A titled abstract describing the panel topic in no more than 125-150 words
  2. A list of all participants with contact information (address, telephone number, e-mail address) and institutional affiliation
  3. A titled abstract of each individual presentation
  4. Designation of panel Chair and Discussant
  5. A list of audio and/or video equipment that will be needed

Individual Paper Submissions: Individual paper proposals should contain a titled abstract of 75-100 words, 3-4 key words, and the name, title, position/rank, address, phone number, e-mail address and institutional affiliation of presenter.

Round Table Proposals: Submissions should contain the same items as the panel proposal, with the following exceptions: omit the abstract of individual presenters; use the term "round table" instead of "panel"; and include an abbreviated curriculum vita for each participant.

Poster Sessions
Submissions should contain the same items as individual paper proposals, with the following exceptions: omit key words; and state equipment needs.

We prefer electronic submissions as attachments in MS Word/WordPerfect formats (, but hard copies may also be mailed to: Program Chair, AHSA Annual Conference, Department of Africana Studies, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33620; phone (813) 974-2427

Web submission will be available by mid April at

Deadline for Submissions: June 15, 2006

Information on registration, hotels and transportation will be published later at

For further information, contact us at

Page Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D.

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