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Call for Papers



Histories of social movements in the Global South remain dominated by the visions and achievements of male activists. Feminist scholars have responded by demonstrating the central role that women have played in social movements, especially the civil rights, women’s liberation, and anti-apartheid movements. Building on current historiographical trends toward transnational histories of women, gender, and feminist activism, this conference seeks to bring together historians and feminist scholars concerned with feminism and social movements in the Global South, but particularly across sub-Saharan Africa. It also aims to trace the global exchanges taking place between individual activists, their networks, and their ideas in order to draw connections between scholarship about social movements in the Global South and Global North. By connecting past and present, this conference will develop new approaches to the conceptualisation of contemporary social movements and their many predecessors.


Proposals based upon historical and interdisciplinary scholarship about feminism, women, and social movements – broadly conceived – from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century will be welcomed. This conference seeks to explore activism concerned with all areas of the lives of women and girls. It seeks abstracts that speak to themes including, but not limited to, the following:


• Marriage, reproduction, and family;

• Education, home, and work;

• Sexual violence and bodily autonomy;

• Health and community;

• Colonialism, anti-colonialism, and decolonisation;

• Race and ethnicity, especially interracial and cross-class solidarity or contention;

• Suffrage, politics, and politicians;

• Imprisonment, violence, and the state;

• Queer lives in historical perspective;

• Literary, print, visual, and digital culture;

• Politics of commemoration;

• Knowledge production and memory; and

• Feminism, feminist theory, and theorisations of the Global South.


Keynote addresses will be given by internationally renowned scholars of feminism and social movements, Professor Pumla Dineo Gqola (University of Fort Hare) and Dr Sharon Crozier-De Rosa (University of Wollongong).

This conference aims to exist as a forum for scholars in all stages of the academic ‘lifecycle.’ Postgraduate and early career researchers, and particularly those located in the Global South, are therefore encouraged to apply.



Please send an abstract of 250-300 words and a biography of 100-150 words to by 15 December 2019. Successful participants will be notified by 10 January 2020.

Some travel funding may be available to assist postgraduates and early career researchers from Southern Africa.

More information:


During the conference, optional activities will include visits to important heritage sites within the Free State, including Winnie Mandela’s banishment house in Brandfort and the National Women’s Monument (Vrouemonument) at the Anglo-Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein.


It is also envisaged that this conference will be followed by a special issue of the Women’s History Review, to be co-edited by Kate Law and Ana Stevenson. Conference participants will be encouraged to come together to write either single authored or co-authored journal articles that speak to the research presented at the conference as well as to the new insights developed from their experiences at heritage sites in the Free State.

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