30th Anniversary and International Conference on the theme:


Conference Description

The Pan African Anthropological Association is organizing a three days international conference, from the 19th -21st August 2020 on the theme “Anthropology in the contemporary Africa”. The purpose is to bring scholars to discuss global development goals and reflect on how Anthropology can help Africa attain some of the UN goals in 2030. Though it is the 30th Anniversary celebration of PAAA. It is expected that Anthropology can define its role and enable African governments achieve some of the sustainable development goals.

1. Main goal

To provide an opportunity for participants to review the contributions of Anthropology to previous global development goals and suggest ways and means of how new SDGs can be further achieved by African countries by 2030.

1. 1.1 Specific goals

The conference will focus on the attainment of the SDG planned for 2030. For that reason, it will specifically have:

  • » To review the contributions of Anthropology to attaining previous development goals (Alma Ata and Millennium Development Goals)
  • » To identify available opportunities that can enable African scholars help their respective countries achieve some of the SDG.
  • » To demonstrate how these opportunities can be factored into some of these SDG to facilitate their achievement by African countries by 2030.
  • » To discuss the methodological and theoretical issues that have been at the basis of anthropological thoughts and reflections in the applied areas.

2. Conference theme

In order to meet the goals of the conference, the following theme and sub-themes shall be examined. The main theme of the conference shall focus on Anthropology in contemporary Africa in all its complexity. It is expected that the participants shall address the following sub-themes:

2.1 Sub-themes

2.1.1. Culture and global development goals

In 1982, the World Conference on Culture (Mondialcult) identified culture as the missing link in the development process of Africa and therefore recommended the strategic integration of Culture into all development projects. It is the intention of the conference organizers to evaluate the achievement made since Mexico 1982.

2.1.2. Anthropology in the workplace:

This sub-theme shall attempt to examine the role played by anthropologists in the African cooperate world).

2.1.3 Teaching of Anthropology in the university and schools:

In 1973, the first conference of African scientists banned the teaching of Anthropology in all African Universities. Consequently, anthropology went underground in departments of sociology and took up Marxism as a cover. The Mexico World Conference on Culture gave new life to anthropology and today there is no African university without a department of Anthropology or offers basic courses in the discipline. This sub-theme seeks to look into the quality of teaching programs in African universities and developing special curricula for secondary schools)

2.1.4. Theoretical foundations of multiculturalism:

The cultural and ethnic diversity of African nations have posed a serious problem to managers of civil society. Our towns and cities instead have not become the melting pot of this diversity but rather a greater resilience of our individualities. It is expected that anthropologists addressing this theme will focus on the positive and negative aspects of cultural and ethnic diversity.

2.1.5. Culture, conflict and migration:

Throughout the 17th-18th and the 19th centuries, Africa was invaded by Europeans seeking for new land and scarce commodities. The colonization process of other lands was also driven by the social and political conditions in their home countries. The granting of independence in the 1960s to African colonies was on the hope that the new nations would have stable and flourishing economies to satisfy the basic development needs of Africa. But what we have witnessed after more than 50 years of the independence is the inverse invasion and migration of Africans to the continents of Europe and America. Contrary to what Africans did to European by allowing them to freely invade and colonize their territory, they are now setting up strategic restrictive mechanisms to prevent Africans migrating to Europe. It is expected that participants will address issues related to migration and conflict both internal and external.

2.1.6. Emerging epidemics: Anthropological response:

In 2014, the outbreak of Ebola epidemic in certain African countries took WHO unaware. The previous decade saw the emergence of HIV which according to the conspiracy theories was designed as strategy to slow down African population growth. The participants are expected to highlight the contribution of anthropology to the understanding the emerging epidemics.

2.1.7. Physical anthropology: contribution from the African database:

This theme seeks to update our knowledge in physical anthropology especially in paleontology. The discovery of Lucy in 1974 in the Afar desert in Ethiopia confirmed the theory that the African continent was the cradle of the humanity. Further paleontological researches seem to confirm this theory. In this respect the work of Cheihk Anta Diop and other African and Africanists researchers deserve to be revisited.

2.1.8. Fragile and failed states in Africa:

In 1960, the Casablanca Group of Nations dreamed of a United Africa with one government, one command and a single economic system. By 1962, the Monrovia Group rejected the idea and proposed a flexible structure which seemed to have led to fragile and failed states in subsequent years. In 1963, the Organization of African Unity was founded destroying the dream of the Casablanca Group and OAU became rather a club of head of states running vulnerable nations that became further fragilize by ethnic divisions and external interference. African and Africanist scholars believe strongly that powerful nations did not want a strong and united Africa that would control its resources and build a strong economy. Over the years, any African leader who has attempted to revive the Casablanca dream has been systematically eliminated beginning with Lumunba, Nkrumah, Sekou Touré, Sankara, Khadaffi and today Ggbabo. Based on this diachronic background, the conference participants interested in this topic are expected to focus on the current African fragile and failed states as well as different aspects of fundamentalism in relation to Africa development.

Conference structure

The conference shall run for three days, from August 19 - August 21 organized in six plenary sessions. The opening plenary session shall entail the opening ceremony, the delivery of a keynote address focusing on cutting-edge issues related to Anthropology and Development Goals. Two plenary sessions shall be held each of the three days. Parallel sessions, shall focus on specific sub-themes held in-between plenary sessions.

During the parallel sessions, participants will follow, discuss and debate presentations. On each of the three days, poster presentations will be organized outside the main conference hall. The last plenary session will close the conference. During the closing ceremony, the general rapporteur will present the conclusions and resolutions will be presented to the participants for debate and adoption. The conference proceedings will be published in the form of a book or in the association’s journal: The African Anthropologist. The program is summarized as follows:


Call for Papers

  • » Submission of Abstract: December 30, 2019
  • » Review and Notification by the Scientific Committee January 30,2020
  • » Submission of Draft Papers: April 30,2020
  • » Review and Notification by the Scientific Committee May 30,2020
  • » Submission of Final Papers: July 30,2020


African Anthropologists $25
Africanist Anthropologists $50
Africanist Students $20
African Students $10
Non-members of PAAA $25


  • » Prof. Antoine Socpa, President, Local Organizing Committee (LOC)
  • » Prof. Paschal Kum Awah Vice President (LOC)
  • » PAAA Secretariat
  • » P.O Box 1862 Yaoundé,
  • » Cameroon
  • » Email: | |