About the Conference

LAGOS: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Space, Society, and the Imagination of an African Crossroads

Barnard College
New York
May 6 – 7, 2016

Talk of cities is everywhere in African Studies and talk of African Cities is everywhere beyond the field. Thinking through African Cities has produced critical reappraisals of how concepts such as urbanism, globalization, citizenship, migration, infrastructure, flexibility, history and futurity can be more productively thought to capture current, imminent, and historical realities. The city increasingly appears to compete with the nation-state as the key spatial category of analysis for Africanist social theorists.

From Casablanca to Capetown, from Kinshasa to Mogadishu, and from Lagos to Luanda, Africa is dotted with cities that constitute political, economic, social, and intellectual alternatives to the nation, while being situated within it. Perennial challenges to nation-states in Africa and beyond, combined with the spectacular growth of cities on the continent and the global south more broadly, have prompted some to suggest that we may be witnessing the rise/return of the city-state as the key structuring formation of the new global order, and thus the key structure of concern for theorists of the social world.

With these issues in mind, we are planning an interdisciplinary conference on the city of Lagos to be held at Barnard College in New York City. This conference, LAGOS: From the Pepperfarm to the Megacity (and Beyond), will consider the question of the rise/return of the city-state through the pasts, presents, and speculative futures of Lagos.

Our institutional partners for this conference include:


IAS columbia


Barnard, Urban Studies

Rutgers, CAS

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Barnard | Africana Studies

Columbia University Institute for African Studies
Barnard College Office of the Provost
Barnard College, Department of History
Barnard Urban Studies Department
Rutgers Center for African Studies
Applause Africa
Barnard College, Department of Africana Studies