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Call for papers: Built environment, infrastructure and state power in north-east Africa

SOAS University of London - Understanding African Statehood through Architecture (ASA) North-east Africa Webinar:

Built environment, infrastructure and state power in north-east Africa

Call for papers:

North-east Africa encompasses states characterised by fascinating variation in socio-cultural dynamics, material culture, regime type, size and power. But they are also tied together by multiple threads of history and culture, and increasingly linked by infrastructural networks, trade relationships, and shared resources. The region has seen remarkable economic and political transformation in recent years. Global material flows, rapid urbanisation, and technology are profoundly reshaping popular politics and states in the region. Particularly for political regimes, architecture, infrastructure and urban planning have become instruments to express national and regional ambitions.

The one-day intensive SOAS-ASA Webinar will bring together early career researchers (PhD students and postdoctoral researchers) and established scholars who engage with north-east Africa and are seeking to make sense of state-society relations, national identities and popular politics, or the trajectories of regional politics, through their intersections with built environments. We are especially interested in research that explores how built forms express political agendas and ideologies and concretise social relations. In keeping with the theme of the conference, we invite papers that engage with north-east Africa in a broad sense, including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, and regional infrastructural networks.

Topics for the webinar include, but are not limited to, the following: Political buildings (parliaments, government buildings); historical buildings; monuments, squares and memorials; housing and urban development (residential buildings, municipal and commercial buildings), dams and energy infrastructure; transport infrastructure (railways, highways, bridges, airports, sea ports and harbours).

The webinar will take place on December 4, 2020. Abstracts (up to 300 words) should be emailed to by August 10, 2020.

If you require any further information on the Webinar or have any queries, please contact us at:

This Webinar is organised by the African State Architecture Project based at SOAS. The project receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 772070).


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