Category: Announcements

Call for Applications: BIEA Thematic Research Grants

Every year the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) invites applications for our small Thematic Research Grants. These funds are usually dispersed through two calls for applications per year. This is the first call for applications in the 2021/22 year. Please pay attention to this  webpage  in November 2021 for the second 2021/22 grant call deadline information.

The BIEA invites applications for funding for original research projects in any discipline in the humanities and social sciences in eastern Africa. Projects that fall outside of these disciplinary areas are not considered (for example, we do not fund projects in STEM subjects). However, projects in Africa beyond eastern Africa may be considered. We define eastern Africa as stretching from Sudan down to Mozambique, and Zambia across to Madagascar. We particularly welcome applications from researchers or research teams who have limited access to other sources of funds, and which engage with one or more of the following thematic areas. Priority is given to researchers based in the UK or eastern Africa.

  1. Epidemics, pandemics and epizootics
  2. Citizens and science
  3. Knowing environments
  4. Technologies of politics
  5. Urban lives
  6. Retelling the past

The BIEA seeks to support early career researchers and scholars in eastern Africa, and is keen to fund small projects that lay the ground for larger projects.  Researchers may include postgraduate students in eastern African or the UK; people who have not followed conventional research careers but whose local knowledge or contacts make them well-fitted to conduct high quality research; and/or collaborative projects which might involve more established scholars but where the resources are ring-fenced for early career or Africa-based project partners.

Grants are normally between £500 and £1,000, but up to £1,500 may be awarded. The grant should contribute towards actual research costs and not include institutional overheads, equipment, and applicant’s stipend or publication costs.

The   application form   with details of supporting documents required can be downloaded here. The form and all supporting documents (including two references) must be submitted by email to  [email protected]  by  Friday 14 May 2021. Please note that late applications will not be considered. 

Successful applicants will be notified in June 2021.  If you have not heard from us by the end of June, please consider your application unsuccessful this time. Queries should be addressed to  [email protected]

Learn Kiswahili with BIEA

The British Institute in Eastern Africa will be hosting our first intensive 2-week online Kiswahili language course during September 2021. The course is aimed at researchers who are conducting or planning to conduct research in Eastern Africa with priority to be given to postgraduate students and early-career researchers. Through group and individual lessons and using a variety of teaching materials including videos and written resources such as local newspapers, students will learn essential communication skills needed to live and work in much of Eastern Africa.

To apply for a place please send the following documents to  [email protected]  by 30 June 2021:

  1.  Cover letter including details of any experience of Kiswahili you currently have, your plans to use your new language skills should you be awarded a place on the course, and how Kiswahili language skills would contribute to your career development (2 pages) 
  2. Curriculum Vitae (2 pages) 
  3. Letter of support (from your supervisor if a postgraduate student) 

Please note that, only the successful candidates will be communicated to by the 20 July. If you do not hear from us by this date, it’s because your application was not successful this time. 

Call for Papers

Child’s Work: Changing conceptions of children’s agricultural work in Africa from the abolition of slavery to the modern day

Contributions are sought for an online workshop on child labour and agriculture in Africa from the abolition of slavery to the present. Throughout this period, children’s labour has been integral to agricultural systems, from small scale subsistence agriculture to large scale and commercial farming. Forms of ‘child labour’, meaning exploitative and harmful employment practices for children, have occurred across these systems and have endured over time, even as child labour in other sectors has been criminalised and targeted for eradication. This workshop will explore why child labour in agriculture in Africa has often been considered as either acceptable or beyond the bounds of regulation. It will consider whether we can speak of a ‘moral economy’ of African children’s employment in agriculture, exploring what work is considered child’s work and how cultural and legal conceptions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ work for African children have changed over time.

The workshop will include a variety of presentation formats and the organisers seek short position papers, research ideas, interventions and concept notes, reflecting diverse chronologies, geographies and disciplinary approaches. Topics might include, though are not limited to:

  • Historicising labour patterns in agriculture: types of labour, who does what work, who assigns work, and the age and gender dynamics of these processes
  • The political economy of child labour in agriculture, including how child labour shifted during the transition from slavery to ‘free’ labour, the development of colonial capitalism, and as a result of neo-liberal economic reforms
  • The ‘moral economy’ of child labour in agriculture: what this looks like to different actors, what is considered acceptable and what is considered exploitative work, and how this changes over time
  • How children’s roles in agriculture are conceptualised from the bottom up (e.g. by children, parents/guardians, communities) and from the top down (e.g. by African elites, colonial officials, missionaries, international organizations)
  • How child labour in agriculture is conceptualised in legal terms and how legal norms around children’s employment have endured and changed over time

Please submit proposals of around 250 words to [email protected] by 14 March 2021. The workshop will be hosted by the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) online on 16-18 June 2021. The workshop will focus on the presentation of work and ideas at various stages of development, and aims to foster collaborative conversations and support the (co-)development of future research and potential outputs. Crucially, it seeks to foster cross-disciplinary research and engagement and to bridge the ‘silos’ into which scholarship and policy development on child labour in Africa has often fallen.

The workshop is organised by Sacha Hepburn (Birkbeck, University of London) and Christine Whyte (University of Glasgow), and sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust.

BIEA Research Themes

  • Epidemics, pandemics and epizootics
  • Citizens and science,
  • Knowing environments
  • Technologies of politics
  • Urban lives
  • Retelling the past

Epidemics, pandemics and epizootics: COVID-19 and varied government responses, popular responses and narratives, and cultural, socio-economic, and political impacts, have provided a stark reminder of how diseases help to make history, but also how they help to bring various social relations and realities into the spotlight. This theme encourages research that looks at both of these aspects – namely, on the impacts of, and insights provided by, disease – in the context of COVID-19 or earlier epidemics, pandemics and epizootics in the region.

Citizens and science: at a time when big science approaches are increasingly being presented as solutions, we seek to encourage research that looks at heterodox and local forms of knowledge, and that seizes the opportunities provided by new technologies without surrendering an awareness of the importance of qualitative work, and of understanding values and perceptions as well as gathering numerical data.

Knowing environments:  this theme explores and celebrates multiple, often heterodox forms of environmental knowledge and knowledge production. Representations, communities of practice, perceptions, and forms of incorporated memory important ways of knowing environments. There also exist more systematized forms of environmental knowledge production centred on empirical signatures of environmental conditions. Additionally, environments themselves are ‘knowing’ in terms of their enabling and responsive capacities.

Technologies of politics: Africa’s digital revolution’ provokes fresh thinking on how power is mobilised, organised and exercised in eastern Africa. Social movements, street protests, democratic elections and state authority are being enabled and constrained in different ways as communication technologies, new and old, are innovated, imported, adapted and controlled. How are new communication technologies altering who has political power over whom in the region? What role are technologies playing in contemporary and evolving relations between social movements and states? What new global configurations of power in the region are emerging as a result of who controls the infrastructures of a digitally mediated world? The BIEA brings its commitment to empirically grounded and multi-disciplinary local scholarship to promote research that builds world-class knowledge on the digital age in and from the region.

Urban lives: Africa’s urban spaces are growing and changing. Often seen simply as problematic, this growth and change is also a driver of creativity and innovation. Cultural production of multiple kinds thrives in these spaces; such production, like much of everyday life, simultaneously works with and calls into question ideas of rural/urban difference and transformation. Lives span the imaginary between town and country; creative and accumulative strategies turn this imaginary to productive use, in ways that stretch from music-making to mobile banking. This theme encourages research that explores and questions imaginations of city life, and asks how people use these in multiple ways.

Retelling the past: The study of eastern African’s past faces a moment of challenge and opportunity. Challenge comes from a growing tendency in governments in the region to discount knowledge about the past and historicized ways of thinking. In institutions of higher education, the assumption that history is an unaffordable luxury, or is irrelevant to an African future – or both – has become established. Yet at the same time, historical narratives and knowledge play an ever more potent role in litigation and debates over land rights, citizenship and the politics of culture and heritage; the disconnect between official disregard and popular history-making is increasingly profound. At the same time, opportunity comes from a moment of wider debate over the very nature of scholarship: the decolonizing of knowledge has become a pressing concern. Challenge and opportunity are linked: the past – whether deep, or recent – must be revisited and retold from new perspectives. The BIEA will facilitate and promote that process, without seeking to dominate it, through pilot projects of partnership that encourage new representations of the region’s past.

Call for Papers: International Interdisciplinary Conference

The world needs proper strategies to ensure sustainable development so that future generations find the world a better place to live. Global environmental changes brought about by degradation and effects of climate change, destruction of forests, increasing desertification, war and conflicts, migration and terrorism have combined to lead to clamour for sustainable development. The destruction of carbon sinks and water towers have made sustainable development more urgent given the manner in which uncontrolled exploitation of resources has led to serious effects on the globe. Why has sustainable development become critical in the world today? What are the causes of climate change and how do they affect the quality of life on earth? How have various governments and the international community responded to effects of climate change? What are some of the efforts being deployed in saving the globe against effects of climate change? What are some of the efforts being made by various academic disciplines to address this? These are some of the issues that the conference will be seeking to address.

Conference Website:


Archaeology Search 2019-20

The Department of Anthropology at Stanford University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty appointment in archaeology. The appointment will be made at the Assistant Professor rank. The successful applicant must be engaged in research that complements and expands the existing profile of the Department, including theoretical and methodological strengths and an active program of fieldwork. Candidates should demonstrate interests that engage a broad range of colleagues and the ability to teach and mentor a diverse student body.

For full consideration, materials must be received by October 25, 2019. The term of appointment would begin September 1, 2020. Send vita, letter describing qualifications and interests, one example of written work, and the names of three referees to Professor Lynn Meskell, Chair, Archaeology Search Committee, Department of Anthropology, 450 Serra Mall, Building 50, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2034.

Application materials should be submitted to
Please use the following link to apply:

Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Stanford welcomes applications from all who would bring additional dimensions to the University’s research, teaching and clinical missions.

Call for Papers

UCL Institute of Archaeology

African Archaeology Research Day

We are pleased to invite you to the 2019 African Archaeology Research Day (AARD) meeting, hosted by the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (UCL).

AARD is an informal annual meeting of Africanist archaeologists to encourage undergraduate, post-graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and more established scholars to present recent and ongoing research and fieldwork.

The meeting this year will take place on Saturday 9th November 2019, including a buffet lunch and closing reception.

Presentations are encouraged for all aspects of African archaeology

In addition to normal conference sessions organically organised around submitted abstracts, this year’s AARD will include one special session entitled Critical Perspectives on Heritage in Africa. This session will feature a selection of papers aimed at addressing key current issues in critical African heritage studies – referring to work that problematises, theorises, and ultimately seeks to generate novel understandings about the notion and practice of what is typically termed African heritage, including the significance of researching these issues from the United Kingdom and Europe. Although critical heritage studies encompass the tangible and the immaterial (objects, discourses, emotions), we are especially interested in including papers that engage with material aspects of heritage, acknowledging that these can have intangible elements as well. One goal of the session is to identify topics and debates that will carry over to related sessions at the Society for Africanist Archaeology 2020 conference in Oxford. Those interested in participating in this session should contact Dr Rachel King ([email protected]) and Dr John Giblin ([email protected]) with queries.

Presentations on heritage and community archaeology outside the remit of this special session are also encouraged, and will be selected as part of the general pool of submissions.

Registration and Submission of Abstracts

Abstracts to the general conference should be submitted to [email protected]. Abstracts for the Critical Perspectives on Heritage in Africa session should be sent to John Giblin ([email protected]) and/or Dr Rachel King ([email protected]) directly.

The final deadline for abstract submissions is 27th September, 2019.

Registration can be found at Fees include conference pack, coffee and tea, buffet lunch, and closing reception.

Transportation and Accommodation

Participants are asked to make their personal travel and accommodation arrangements. The Institute of Archaeology is located at 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY.


Participants interested in discussing options for childcare during the conference should contact Dr Claudia Näser ([email protected]) for more information.

Please contact Dr Rachel King [email protected] and/or Prof Kevin MacDonald ([email protected]) for further information or if you have questions.