Call for Papers: The 8th Annual International Igbo Conference, SOAS, London (Deadline for abstracts: 31 December)

The 8th Annual International Igbo Conference
SOAS, University of London
April 12-13, 2019

Theme: The Igbo Arts and Its Intersections: Politics, Spirituality and Justice

The Annual Igbo Conference has carved out a unique space, serving as a bridge between the community and academia. It is currently held annually at SOAS, University of London in association with the Centre of African Studies. The eighth instalment of the Igbo Conference invites papers that explore the role of the arts in various spheres of life amongst the Igbo both at home and in the diaspora. This conference intends to create a space for discussion which considers the changing relationship with the arts in Igbo society.


Image courtesy of The Igbo Conference Webpage

In his collection of essays Morning Yet on Creation Day, Chinua Achebe famously described ‘art for Art’s sake’ as “just another piece of deodorised dog shit.” Achebe’s statement is underpinned by the value placed on the arts within the Igbo cultural context. The appreciation of artistic expression extended beyond pure aesthetics, valuing the social, political and spiritual function of the work. This conference seeks to explore ‘traditional’ ideas of the arts and its role in everyday life in Igbo communities both in past and present times, and at ‘home’ and ‘abroad’. You are encouraged to reflect on the following questions: What is the role of the artist in contemporary Igbo society, particularly in an increasingly globalised and digital era? Who does the contemporary Igbo artist perceive their community to be? To what extent are contemporary expressions of Igbo spirituality informed by or underpinned by the arts? How does contemporary Igbo politics intersect with the arts in a meaningful way? To what extent are the arts still integrated into the political, spiritual and legal spheres? How can the changes within the arts over the last 150 years be characterised?

The conference organisers invite papers that examine a variety of aspects of Igbo fusions which include, but are not limited to:

• Artistic expressions in Igbo ceremonies and rituals: the case of birth, marriage and death
• Historical and political dimensions of narrative: language, literature and folklore
• Science and technology and their intersection with of the arts
• Igbo spirituality, beliefs and practices
• Igbo secret societies and the material culture
• Traditional rulers and their court: Politics, Justice and Creativity
• Masks, masquerades and their socio-political relevance
• Political and spiritual expressions in Igbo music and visual arts
• Expressions of Igbo selfhood through the arts
• The role of the arts in the Igbo family, clan and community
• Igbo architecture: house and home
• The relevance of the ‘dibia’ in the Igbo community
• Indigenous feminisms and views on gender: Women as political and creative agents
• Law, justice and jurisprudence in Igbo traditions
• The Ozo and Odu titles and their regalia
• Nnamdi Azikiwe: Politician and Poet

The conference will be held in the Brunei Gallery Building, SOAS, University of London, April 12-13, 2019. Please send abstracts in an attached word file, and please do not use all capital letters when writing. Participants are welcome to present in English or Igbo, but if presenting in Igbo we ask that that an English Language translation is provided. Participants who require a British visa are encouraged to submit their abstracts as soon as possible.

Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words including the paper title, your name, current position, institutional affiliation (where applicable), email address and phone number no later than 31st December 2018. To submit visit and follow the directions.

You are also welcome to submit panel submissions. Proposed panel submissions should be made by the chair, and must provide details of the panel’s theme in addition to the names of up to four panellists, abstracts of up to 250 words for each paper, and details of each panellists’ name, current position, institutional affiliation (where applicable), email address and phone number. To submit visit and follow the directions. This should be completed no later than 31st December 2018.

Participants are responsible for sourcing their own funding for travel, accommodation and conference fees. For information on the Igbo Conference, please visit

Organisers: The Igbo Conference in association with Centre of African Studies, SOAS, University of London and City, University of London.

Categories: Calls for & opportunities, Research, Studies, Teaching

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