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"The Coloniality of Infrastructure - Eurafrican Legacies": conference registration now open


Initially scheduled for June 2020, the conference will now take place online from 12 to 15 January 2021. Keynote speakers include Achille Mbembe, Sarah Nuttall and Siba N'Zatioula Grovogui.

This conference proposes to explore historical continuities in Africa’s relationship with Europe through the lens of infrastructure. What are the infrastructural histories that bind the unequal destinies of people together across continents, and how do these legacies shape contemporary lifeworlds and international relations? How does infrastructural violence shape international relations between Africa and Europe, and how is the legacy of Eurafrica manifested in the spaces of everyday life? To answer these questions, the conference invites scholars from urban studies, history, political science, postcolonial theory, architecture, border and migration studies, and allied fields. We invite contributions that develop new perspectives of our geopolitical and interconnected urban present through its infrastructural pasts. Such studies of material and aesthetics relationships between Africa and Europe can focus on questions of lifeworlds, urban transformation, migration, territory, citizenship, development, or related themes. We are particularly interested in studies that can reveal the differential entanglements between people and places, and locate alternative forms of infrastructure, imaginaries of belonging, ongoing struggles for decolonization, and practices of world-making that decenter colonial ways of seeing, feeling, and knowing.


12 January 2021

  • Panel 1: Eurafrica as Infrastructural Project (Chair: Peo Hansen)
  • Film Screening: The Chemistry of National Construction
  • Panel 2: Infrastructure in the Colonial Continuum (Chair: Samia Henni)
  • Keynote Lecture: Siba N’zatioula Grovogui

 13 January 2021

  • Panel 3: Infrastructure between Decolonization and Dependency (Chair: Anne-Isabelle Richard)
  • Film Screening: The Sovereignty of the Skies
  • Panel 4: Infrastructures of Race and Alterity (Chair: Charles Heller)
  • Keynote Lecture: Sarah Nuttall

 14 January 2021 

  • Panel 5: Black Migration and Infrastructural Violence (Chair: Bilgin Ayata)
  • Film Screening: The Lands of My Father
  • Panel 6: Transforming Infrastructure Otherwise (Chair: Edgar Pieterse)
  • Documentary: Generation Independence - a People’s History
  • Film Screening: The Long History of a Short-Lived Statue. The challenge of post-colonial commemoration

 15 January 2021 

  • Panel 7: Infrastructure as Medium of Contestation (Chair: Muriam Haleh Davis)
  • Panel 8: Remaking Infrastructural Inheritance (Chair. Lorena Rizzo)
  • Keynote Lecture Achille Mbembe

The conference is organised by Urban Studies at the University of Basel in collaboration with ZASB and the Institute for European Global Studies, as well as the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town.