This is a call for papers for a conference on the theme, African Entrepreneurs, Past and Present, to be held at Tel Aviv University from 20-21 May, 2012.  Abstracts need to be in to the organizers by February 15th 2012. Please respond directly to the conference conveners . For further information, please contact: Lynn Schler:  
Galia Sabar:   Ayala Nissan: 


Conference: African Entrepreneurs, Past and Present

Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

May 20-21, 2012

The aim of this inter-disciplinary conference is to deepen our knowledge and understanding of African entrepreneurship from both historical and contemporary perspectives. The efforts and activities of African entrepreneurs have had a deeply transformative impact on African economies, societies and cultures, and this conference seeks to bring together scholars
whose work can enrich our understanding of African business practices, ideologies and strategies across the continent.  We seek papers examining African business development, capital accumulation, management styles, and business cultures from economic, cultural, political and social perspectives.  We hope to engage in deep and comparative analyses of how Africans in both Africa and in the African diaspora have mobilized creativity, resources and innovation to initiate and foster business enterprises.  We seek to understand how the globalization of markets, beginning in the early modern period, has impacted local strategies for accumulation and business development, as well as options for trade, investment and expansion. The conference will highlight the interplay between local initiatives and regional, national and transnational economic
and political forces, and the ways in which African entrepreneurs have confronted and negotiated the volatility of economic landscapes over time. While we seek to understand the dialogue and interplay between African and international business cultures and models, we also hope to highlight the deeply local groundings and conceptualizations of entrepreneurship, investment and exchange.

The following is a list of possible themes, but it is by no means exhaustive:

  • Biographies of African entrepreneurs, traders, and merchants
  • African Entrepreneurs, expanding markets, and globalization
  • African entrepreneurs and African labor, past and present
  • Gendered perspectives on business practices in Africa across time
  • Decolonization and the indigenization of business and industry in Africa
  • The culture of business in Africa across time
  • The business of corruption in Africa
  • The impact of SAPs on African business ventures
  • The initiatives and enterprises of African migrants in the contemporary and historical global economy
  • Business across the Black Diaspora
  •  The impact of religious beliefs and practices on African business cultures and practices
  • African entrepreneurs and foreign capital
  • African entrepreneurs in the informal economy
  • Informality and illegality in African business
  • Cultural engagements with enterprise and capital
  • Marketing and advertising strategies in Africa across time

Please submit abstracts (maximum 300 words) by February 15th to:

Please include your name, institutional affiliation and contact information along with your abstract.  We will notify accepted abstracts by March 15, 2012.

Organizers and Sponsors:

This conference is being co-sponsored by the Inter-University Program in African Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Tel Aviv University and the Open University of Israel, The Africa Centre at Ben Gurion University, and the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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