CALL for papers/panels NVAS jubilee conference

Call for Panel and Paper Proposals
NVAS 25th Anniversary Conference

Conciliation and Conflict:
The Role of Language in Bridging Social Differences in Africa

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December 2022

Conference Description
The NVAS dedicates its jubilee conference to Africa’s most widely acknowledged contribution to the heritage of mankind: spoken mediation. This is a multimodal phenomenon that encompasses spoken words, songs,
bodily gestures and communicative silence. Each of these means of communication can serve to break up or cement social cohesion. As we know from premodern and modern history, often the fighting with words can be as harmful as fighting with swords. Polemics of religion, identity (of ethnic affiliation, sexual orientation, a.o.) or politics often precede or are cotemporaneous with physical violence. Similarly, in reconciliation and cooperation, speech (in all its expressive forms) is an essential resource. The conference will bring together specialists from different fields of studies (linguistics, anthropology, communication studies, literature, rhetoric, history, politics, social media studies, economics) to discuss the dual functions of language in social relations.

Panels and individual papers for general sessions are invited on the following themes (but not restricted to these):

  • Public speech and argumentation
  • Linguistic practices of reconciliation and peace-making
  • Expressions of social inclusion and exclusion: taboo (transgression), curses, blessings
  • The language of activism
  • Persuasion, polemics, debates
  • Expressions in monuments and public memorials
  • Artistic and poetic performances (poetry, songs/rap)
  • Humor as a weapon to convince or win arguments
  • Metaphoric language in public contexts

All papers will be published if they meet standard criteria of academic work and if they are submitted in time.

Important dates

  • 1 May 2022, deadline for panel proposals and paper proposals
  • 1 June 2022, notification of acceptance panel/paper
  • 1 December 2022, submission of [preliminary drafts of] papers


  • African Studies Center Leiden, Leiden University.
  • Collaborative Research Group at the African Studies Centre: Collaboration and Contestation in Words: dialogues and disputes in African social realities


The conference will be held in the vibrant town of Leiden, home to Leiden University (venue). Leiden has won the competitive European City of Science status for 2022. Besides, 2022 is the start of UNESCO’s Decade of Indigenous Languages and Leiden is one of the major hubs in the Netherlands where language/culture studies flourish.

Registration fee (if conference will be 100% on campus):
NVAS members: €50,-;
Non-members: €100 euro;
Students: €60 euro

Organizers: Azeb Amha and Jan Jansen

Correspondence address for queries and for sending panel/paper proposals: