The ASAUK biennial conference will be held from 7-9 September 2016 at the University of Cambridge (Robinson College). Please find below a call for papers for the panel Oil and the African City, organized by Geertrui Vannoppen (KULeuven).

The African oil and gas industry is growing steadily with a growth in drilling and exploration activity and new discoveries of oil and gas fields. The presence of these natural resources is put forward as one of the key drivers of growth across much of Africa. Together with the Africa-rising discourse this results in the appearance of African cities on ranking lists as places to invest, promoting Africa and African cities as an investment destination. The presence or sometimes even the mere expectation of oil, unleashes a manifold of processes in these countries. The proposed panel therefore asks how this often invisible presence of oil and oil money shapes urbanization processes in African cities. This petro-urbanism influences the visions and future imageries of urban planners and urbanites alike. Today cities across the African continent are reimagining and reshaping themselves as world-class urban environments, aiming to reach the same heights as other well-known Oil Cities such as Dubai and Singapore.

The panel welcomes papers that focus on one or more of the following questions:

  • How is this petro-urbanism changing the management and infrastructure of these oil cities?
  • How does it impact the visions and identity of existing urban players and who are the new urban actors becoming involved in urban management and planning?
  • How is everyday life in the city, its structure and organization, influenced by the presence of oil and the volatile flows of capital it brings in its wake? And which influence, if any, do city-dwellers themselves exert on these processes?
  • How is the precarity of oil money impacting these imagined futures?

The panel invites contributions focussing on these various practices and processes set in motion by the presence of oil in Northern and Sub-Saharan African cities, from the fields of anthropology, social geography, architecture, urban studies and other related fields.

Submission Details: Please submit a 250-word abstract via the following link:

Submissions are due no later than 2nd April 2016.