The proceedings of the First International Conference on Africa and the First World War held in October 2016 will be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The idea to hold annual conferences is to allow scholars to revisit key events that have shaped African history and society.


TTILE: Revisiting Africa and the Second World War
DATE: January 25-27, 2018
VENUE: The University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana

More than one million Africans were directly involved in the battlefronts of the Second World War in North and Northeast Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Overall, Africa was subjected to the predatory nature of the war, including military recruitment, exploitation of the colonial economy to support the imperial war effort, and the unleashing of social traumas that escalated quotidian struggles inherent in the colonial situation.  There is no doubt that the Second World War was a paradoxical turning point in the unequal relationship between imperial Europe and the colonized Africans. On the one hand, the exigencies of the war forced the European imperial powers to intervene more intrusively in their African colonies, whose holistic nationalisms were already moving from reformism to revolution by the wartime. And for another, the cumulative effects of the war and the postwar global climate of self-determination compelled the European imperialists to relinquish their grip on the African colonies.

Until the publication of David Killingray and Richard Rathbone’s pioneering anthology, Africa and the Second World War (London: Macmillan, 1986), Africa’s participation in the Second World War was somewhat obscured in the margins. Besides, postwar historians preoccupied with Nazism, Fascism, and the Holocaust remained silent on the Nazi and fascist agenda of repartitioning Africa. Neither did they write about the wartime escalation of white-settler nationalisms tinged with pro-Axis leanings in South, Central, and East Africa. And these themes did not find a home in the volume by Killingray and Rathbone. Indeed, Michael Crowder had declared in his “World War II and Africa: Introduction,” The Journal of African History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (1985), pp. 287-288, that the Second World War was an incontestable turning point in African History that  had not gained the scholarly traction it deserved. In the aftermath of his apt observation, many monographs and articles have dealt with Africa and the Second World War. This said, there are still gaps in our knowledge about Africa and the Second World War. Besides history is cosmopolitan and allows for federating innovative theorizing, applications of emergent empiricisms, and submissions of critical essays of syntheses.

Thus, the proposed conference, taking panoramic cues from the extant literature, will deal with myriad aspects of Africa and the Second World War that remain to be fully studied. Such include periodization of the war and key events in Africa; prosopographies of ex-servicemen;  regionalization of the war in Africa; roles of African communities rather than the colonial state; fascist and Nazi constructions of Africa in the wartime; and agricultural production in the wartime to complement the production of minerals, exemplified, for example, by Raymond Dumett’s work. Others are African agency and initiatives in the wartime; Africa on the eve of the Second World War; wartime colonial policies; mobilization and recruitment of Africans; gender and the war; the use of technologies of print, picture, and sound; enlistment and ethnic identities; war propaganda; and non-military contributions to the imperial war efforts. The rest are participation of Africans in the theaters of the war; demobilization and discontent; the effects of the war on African societies, politics, and economies; and the ways that the war contributed to decolonization in Africa. Contributors should make use of novel archival materials, untapped oral history, and praxes of comparative frameworks.



Abstracts should be submitted by October 15, 2017. Acceptance of abstracts will be made known by November 15, 2017. Completed or full papers should be submitted by December 15, 2017. For a panel, each member should submit a 100-word abstract, while individual presenters should submit a 200-word abstract.



  • The role of Africans in the Allied war efforts
  • Impact of the War on Africans: regions, states, rural/urban, etc.
  • Shaping World War II: Memory and remembrance of World War I
  • Imperial recruitment of colonial officials/administrators
  • Healthcare in the wartime
  • Education in the wartime
  • Technology of print, picture, and sound in the course of the war
  • Payment of remunerations in the wartime
  • Colonial bureaucracy in the wartime
  • Infrastructure in the wartime
  • Construction of military camps in the wartime
  • The War and the re-configuration of African diplomacy
  • Anglo-American 1942 November landings and Algerian nationalism
  • The War, global awareness, and Africa
  • The War and the trajectory of African history
  • Propaganda in the wartime and African responses
  • Africans and Nazi war aims & pro-Axis sympathies
  • Forced labor and conscription in the wartime
  • Geopolitical consequences of the War for Africans
  • The War, Pan-Africanism, Africa, and the African Diasporas
  • Racial/ethnic and class conflicts in the wartime/postwar era
  • Changes in urban employment and rural labor
  • African soldiers overseas
  • Impact of the War in the African Diasporas
  • The imperial policies of recruitment drives during the wartime
  • African economies in the wartime
  • The regionalization of economic planning in the wartime
  • Settler colonies in the wartime
  • The destruction of Italian colonial rule in 1941
  • The Belgian Congo in the wartime
  • Wartime social and demographic traumas
  • African initiatives and agency in the wartime
  • War and African perceptions of Europe
  • The mobilization of raw materials
  • Postwar African leaders and the War
  • Literary works on the War in Africa
  • War and European constructions of Africans and vice versa
  • Postwar developments in Africa
  • Colonialism and nationalism in wartime/postwar era
  • Forms and trajectories of African resistance in the wartime
  • African women in wartime situation
  • The indigenous African press and the War
  • The African educated elites and the War
  • Chiefs and Indirect/Direct Rule in the wartime
  • Intra-African relationships in the wartime
  • Africans in major theaters of the War in Africa
  • The War and the shaping of decolonization in Africa
  • Oral histories of the War
  • Auto/biographies or prosopographies of War veterans
  • The War and technology in Africa
  • The War and social change in Africa
  • Military camps, barracks, etc. during the War



    • Faculty/scholars based in Ghana – 175 Ghana cedis
    • Faculty/scholars based in other African countries $ 125.00 (USD).
    • Faculty/scholars based in non-African countries $ 250.00 (USD)
    • Students based in Ghana – Free participation
    • Students based in other African countries $ 45.00 (USD)
    • Non-Africa-based students – $145.00 (USD)



Name: Faculty of Arts.
Bank: Ghana Commercial Bank, Cape Coast Branch, Ghana
Account Number: 3021130001040

Checks/Cheques should be made to: “Conference Fee – Dept. of History WW I1 Project.”
We will be happy to respond to any questions you may have. You may call us at: 050 378 1280 or 0241 583 952

CONTACTS: Please, send an abstract of your proposed topic, institutional affiliation(s), and contact information to the following:

Prof.  Kwabena Akurang-Parry
*Visiting Sabbatical Professor
Department of History
University of Cape Coast
Cape Coast, Ghana
050 378 1280

Prof. Edmund Abaka
Visiting Assoc Professor & Fulbright Scholar
Department of History
University of Cape Coast
Cape Coast, Ghana
024 158 3952

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