top of page

Call for Abstracts.

Critically Reapproaching Populisms in Africa: Critiques of Authoritarianism and Imaginaries of Democracy

Luke Melchiorre, Robert Nyenhuis and Dan Paget


Date of call: May 28th 2024  |  Deadline for submission of abstracts: 22nd July 2024


To submit an abstract, please fill out this online form.


This is a call for abstracts for a project about populisms in Africa. The movements called populist in Africa today are important. Many of them have changed political discourse. Some of them have become potent electoral forces. They are also varied. They hail from countries as far and wide as South Africa, Kenya, Mali, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. They lie at different junctures of opposition, government, activists, and popular opinion. In this collaborative research project, we wish to reapproach the study of these movements. We wish to analyse them as not only populist, but as proponents of distinctive critiques of autocracy and imaginaries of democracy


In so doing, we aim to pursue three complementary goals:


  1. To speak to the juncture of Africanist political studies and populism studies by considering what may be distinctive about these populisms in Africa.

  2. To identify what, if anything, these movements have to offer democratic, and especially post-liberal democratic thought.

  3. To grapple with the coloniality of the application of populism as a concept in Africa.


We, therefore, welcome abstracts at any of the intersections of this subject, especially those which address the following questions:


  1. Are these movements best understood as populist? If so, based on what criteria?

  2. What imaginaries of democracy and/or autocracy do they articulate?

  3. To what extent do they offer fundamental challenges to the political status quo? And how, if at all, are they driving processes of political change?


We plan for this project to encompass a closed workshop in early 2025, and to culminate in submission of a special issue to a leading academic journal. Selected applicants will be asked to submit a draft paper and present it at the workshop.


Abstracts should consist of the following: abstract title, author name(s), author institutional affiliation, leading author email address, an abstract of no more than 200 words, five key words.


Applicants will be notified of whether they are invited to the workshop by the end of August 2024.

bottom of page