Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, in collaboration with the South African National Commission for UNESCO and the African Centre for Migration & Society at Wits University, are pleased to invite paper proposals for the upcoming International Conference on Migration. The conference provides an opportunity for scholars, researchers, and social scientists engaged in studying African migration to help shape a continental research agenda.

Send your abstract (no more than 200 words) and short biography (no more than 150 words) to The French version of the call for papers can be found here.

Deadline for submission: 30 April 2018

International migration is an increasingly prominent theme in public, policy, and scholarly debates. Movements of Africans within and beyond the continent have long been at the margins of these global discussions. In recent years, this has been changing. African mobility is now at the heart of deliberations across Africa and elsewhere. Given the growing global and political interest in African migration and mobility, this conference will provide critical reflection on the state of knowledge, of knowledge production, and the inter-relationship between knowledge production and producers, activism, and policy formation. The three-day event ultimately intends to feed and strengthen the migration academic debate among actors based on the continent, concerned with it, or interested in comparatively engaging its politics, economics, and societies.

With the goal of exploring the linkage between theoretical perspectives on international migration and the implementation of public policies, this event will offer a reflective and critical space to identify and bridge existing gaps between the supply and demand sides of migration data and knowledge-production.

A scientific committee of globally recognised scholars is eliciting inputs from established and emerging researchers within and beyond the academy. While new empirical research is encouraged, selected papers will engage with broader conceptual, methodological, and ethical themes and debates. Particular preference will be for those working topics, regions, or from perspectives that remain marginalized or under-researched.


Papers are welcome on the following themes: 

1. Migration Data: Ethical, Methodological and Political Challenges
Both government and academia are increasingly concerned with data-collection on migration, which raises the questions of how, what and why to collect. Papers should consider long-standing debates on the ethics and politics of migration processes which, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, often intersects with exploitation and inequality.

2. Academia, Activism and Policy-Making: Ethics, Epistemology, and Political Economy
African social science funding is increasingly dependent on engaging with policy makers and civil society and demonstrating impact in a world beyond the academy. Papers in this theme explore those connections, commenting on their merits and potential side effects.

 3. Policy Formation: Dynamics and Drivers of Change
Papers will consider the definition of migration policy and its conceptual linkages to other policy fields. They will explore what interests foster shifts in policy and practice; what issues are included; how they are framed and linked; and what concerns are sidelined or silenced.

 4. Categories and definitions in migration debates
Many categories which remain primary organising concepts for African migration research are shaped by the policy field. Participants are invited to critically engage with any of the following concepts: development, vulnerability, integration, community/social cohesion, rights, development, orderly migration, trafficking, or slavery.

5. Scales of migration and migration governance: laws, local government, and the de facto regulation of mobility
Calls to privatise refugee integration and outsourcing relegates states’ prominence. As cities and other actors become more engaged, how should we understand migration governance? What are the relationships among scales and between varied forms of regulations?

6. Mobility and social-transformation
Papers will consider what the overtly materialist and developmentalist focus in migration literature overlooks by using African perspectives to engage global scholarship around questions of family structure, individual and communal identities, citizenship, and belonging.

7. Representing migration: diversifying voices and audiences
This roundtable will consider the limits of ‘classic’ scholarly approaches (mostly represented and evaluated in the form of publications) and explore alternative methodologies. Presenters will reflect critically on their own experiences and ability to represent migration and migrants to multiple audiences.

8. New Frontiers in African Migration Research and Policies: what's next?
Papers will identify under-researched issues related to migration on the continent. Beyond knowledge gaps in terms of specific empirical themes or regions, papers should reflect on novel ways to conceptualize and organise the production of knowledge around migration.

9. African migration pedagogy: policy and scholarly needs and approaches
This roundtable seeks to identify the objectives of migration-related education, the technical and conceptual skills students and teachers require, as well as reflecting on the existing structural obstacles.

Important Dates

Deadline for abstract submission: 30 April

Notification of acceptance: 20 May 2018

Deadline for final paper submission: 30 July 2018


For more information visit the International Migration Conference 2018 website here.