Call for papers: Xenophobia in Africa


Call for papers: Xenophobia in Africa 

What conceptual, theoretical, and epistemological problems does xenophobia raise, and what purpose does it serve in thinking about African societies in the 21st century? How can we progressively understand and dialogue about the concept without reifying or essentialising it? Are there ways in which the discourse on xenophobia can be useful in reengaging state failure in Africa while simultaneously affirming the role of power, class, race and agency of peoples as calculative and coordinated in igniting and perpetrating xenophobic acts and practices? How do we interrogate the representations of what is popularly considered xenophobia and the role of the media, arts, and other creative frames in shaping xenophobic perceptions and attitudes as an everyday reality? In what ways are the crises and violent manifestations of behaviours constructed as xenophobic historically constituted with peculiar continuities and meanings? Of what use are historical affinities, affinitive histories, and historico-comparative gazes for diagnosing, understanding, elaborating, and subverting xenophobic tendencies, attitudes, and practices? How can history (be made to) matter or be instrumentalised to advance a new, better, and more progressive vision of pan- Africanism, collaboration, and humanism? How may we meaningfully and critically spotlight xenophobia as a threat to Pan- Africanism and continental integrations?


Critically engaging with xenophobia raises uncomfortable questions regarding the uncritical construction of citizens as innocent, ‘ordinary’ people. How can we creatively engage and critique the claims of ordinariness and innocence, knowing the almost deterministic constraints of economic, social, and political circumstances for individual and group attitudes and actions? When we look at how xenophobia has been shaping inter-state relations in contemporary Africa, the urgency of these two questions and the other questions raised earlier become particularly apparent.



Beyond the diverse concerns raised, the special edition seeks engagement with issues bordering on, but by no means limited to, the sub-themes listed below:

  • African affinities and xenophobia in historical and comparative perspectives 

  • Sociological, psychological and economic frameworks of xenophobia in Africa 

  • Literature, the media, and representations of xenophobia 

  • The mundane experiences, xenophobia, and intersectionalities 

  • Mobility, gender, vulnerability, and risk in xenophobic othering 

  • Politics, state failure and nation-building in Africa 

  • Xenophobia and regional and continental integrations 

  • Strategies to counter xenophobia and its manifestations 

  • Xenophobia in the time of COVID 



  • Abstract length: Not exceeding 500 words 

  • All abstract submissions must include a short biography of 50-100 words 

  • Submit abstracts and biographies to:
  • Use the following subject line in your submission email: Xenophobia special edition 

  • Article submissions for those authors selected must have a word length of 5000-8000 words including notes and 
references, with an abstract of up to 150 words and five key words. Authors should supply a biography of 50-100 
words. Detailed guidelines for authors will be provided to the authors of selected abstracts. 

  • Reference style: Adapted Harvard style 



  • Deadline for the submission of abstracts: 30 March 2021 

  • Deadline for submission of articles: 1 August 2021 
Please note these timelines are fairly tight to allow for sufficient time to peer review the selected article submissions and to make any required amendments in time for the intended publication date of March/April 2022.



This special edition is a joint project of the University of the Free State and the University of Ibadan with guest editors: 


Dr Stephanie Cawood

Director: Centre for Gender and Africa Studies

The Faculty of the Humanities

University of the Free State


South Africa


Prof Peter O. Olapegba, PhD, FNPA, MICMC

Professor of Psychology

Department of Psychology

Faculty of the Social Sciences

University of Ibadan





For any queries, please contact:

Dr Stephanie Cawood

Centre for Gender and Africa Studies
Tel: +27(0)51 401 2614