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The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR)

Announces its

10th Biennial Conference



Rhetorics of/in Crisis: Centering Global African Epistemologies


July 3-5, 2024


University of Ghana, Legon-Accra



Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been renewed interest in the issue of crisis. COVID-19 extensively impacted the world, and many countries are still struggling to recover from its devastating effects. But long before COVID hit, the world was already inundated with all sorts of crises. In our present moment, we are not only concerned with the effects of COVID-19 and how to recover from them, but we are also dealing with other crises in areas such as food and environment, technology, education, and finances. Additionally, there are reports of wars and human rights infractions in various places worldwide. We make sense of these crises and envision new situations through effective rhetorical actions.

Significantly, our contemporary world has had to grapple with the crisis of communication itself, especially evident in the current political discourse and the impact of new media technologies on how we deliberate on social issues in local and global contexts. For example, there have been concerns about the increasing influence of impolite and discriminatory language in political communication in some African contexts and how media programming enables these discourses. Moreover, research has shown evidence of political distrust in many African contexts. Related to this is the crisis of communication because citizens report a seeming mismatch between political rhetoric and action.

Rhetorical scholarship, a field equipped with the tools to reflect on these issues, is facing its disciplinary crises. Despite ongoing conversations on the need for global perspectives, the discipline is still crucially shaped by European and North American perspectives and is marginally engaged with the African continent, for example. It has become important to reflect on the effort to extend the theoretical language of the field to include perspectives and visions from alternative traditions if we are to respond appropriately to the complex challenges of our global world.

This conference invites participants to reflect on these issues and consider the significance of an African-centered orientation to discussions on past and present crises and issues within the larger field of rhetoric. We are working with an expanded understanding of crisis; thus, we invite participants to interpret the theme in a diversity of ways, including, for example, perspectives on resilience, survival, healing, transformation and care.

Proposals may address (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • Multiperspectival Rhetorical constructions of crisis (e.g., the COVID-19 crisis and other pandemics, the crises of migration, climate, economics, governance and democracy, and decolonization)

  • Crisis of communication in contemporary times

  • Epistemic crisis in rhetorical studies

  • The role of rhetorical theory and analysis in crisis moments

  • Rhetoric, Political Theory, and Governance Crisis in Africa

  • African rhetorical epistemologies and other alternative traditions

  • Rhetorical histories of crisis in Africa and elsewhere

  • Intersectional perspectives on crisis, hope, and transformation

  • Rhetoric, Ubuntu, and Ethics of Care

  • Rhetoric, Crisis and Gendered Spaces in Africa

  • Responsiveness of the Commercial Sector to Risk and Crisis in and about Africa

  • External Actors and the invention of Crisis in Africa

  • Litigating Crisis in Africa

  • Mitigating and Managing Crisis: Perspectives in African Rhetoric

The 2024 gathering, which is the tenth biennial conference of the African Association for Rhetoric (AAR), will take place in Ghana. As the first country south of the Sahara to gain independence, Ghana provides a symbolic space for reflecting on topics related to our conference theme, including discussions on the crisis of nation-building in post-independence Africa and its impacts on various aspects of life. Ghana has also played a central role in the rhetorical construction of Pan-Africanism as a transnational Black project in response to the problem of race. Because of our interest in centering African epistemologies, the histories of the Encyclopedia Africana and an institute for the study of Africa beyond the purview of the West provide historical examples of African agency in knowledge production. The University of Ghana, where the conference is taking place, is close to cultural spaces such as the W. E. B. Dubois Center, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, Fort Christiansborg, the George Padmore Research Library on African Affairs and the Ussher Fort, all of which remind us of the complex pasts and presents of Africa and their rhetorical manifestations in crisis moments and beyond. We hope you would be inspired to join us for what promises to be an exciting conference.

Proposals for individual papers and panels should be submitted to

Proposals for individual papers must include:

  • a title,

  • a 250-300-word abstract maximum,

  • contact details and

  • a short bio of the author.

Proposals for panel presentations should include:

  • a 200-word or less description of the panel,

  • the abstracts of four participants,

  • contact details of all participants and

  • biographical information of each participant.

Proposals Due: March 15, 2024.

Paper submission (necessary for those who might want to publish in the African Journal of Rhetoric):

March 30, 2024.

Paper: Max 6000 words (recommended length)

Pre-Conference Workshop-Call for Workshop Participants

There would be three pre-conference workshop sessions at the 2024 conference. These workshops are open to advanced undergraduate students, graduate students and early career researchers with an interest in interdisciplinary rhetorical scholarship.

Interested participants must choose one of the following workshops:

  • African Rhetorical Theory

  • Rhetorical Analysis

  • Professionalization in Rhetoric

Applicants must submit a two-page cv and a one-page statement on why they are interested in the workshop. Their essay must clearly indicate the workshop they are applying for.

Applications should be submitted to

The is a two-day event beginning on July 1, 2024, and ending on July 2, 2024. Selected participants should plan to arrive in Accra 24 hours  earlier.

Registration Fees:

  • Faculty registration (US): 200 USD

  • Students registration (US): 100 USD

  • Faculty registration (Africa): 100 USD

  • Students registration (Africa): 35 USD

  • Daily rates for faculty (Africa): 50 USD

  • Daily rates for students (Africa): 25 USD

(Includes conference package, teas and lunch)

International Organising Committee

Dr. Nancy Henaku

Department of English,

University of Ghana


Dr. Wincharles Coker

Department of Communication Studies,

University of Cape Coast


Dr. Ruby Pappoe

Department of English and Comparative Literature,

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Dr. Etse Sikanku

Directorate of Research, Innovations & Development, 

Institute of Journalism, 

University of Media, Arts and Communication (UniMAC)


Professor Eric Opoku Mensah 

Institute of Journalism, 

University of Media, Arts and Communication (UniMAC). 



Dr. Segun Ige

Chair, AAR Steering Committee

Dr. Omedi Ochieng

University of Colorado, Boulder


Dr. Kermit Campbell

Colgate University, USA



Yiri Lodge

Location: University of Ghana
Contact: +233-24-637-1944, +233-20-330-9390, +233-54-410-9086


University of Ghana Guest Centers

Location: University of Ghana

Contact: +233 (0)289500184, +233 (0)288512513 or Sheila +233 (0)0242528583

GIMPA Executive Conference Centre
Location: Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (about 4 minutes away from the University of Ghana)

Contact: +233 24 476 2672

Erata Hotel

Location: East Legon (10 minutes by taxi to University of Ghana campus)
Contact: +233 57 271 7590, +233 54 433 6761, +233 26 300 3927
Email: /

NOTE: There are many other accommodation options close to the University of Ghana. Please check this space for announcements. 




The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR) invites submissions for outstanding student papers in African Rhetoric.The Best Student Paper is a new award category introduced by the AAR to spotlight and celebrate exemplary student work on any aspect of African Rhetoric. Its goal is to encourage critical engagement with the important contributions of student researchers and the possible impact of their work on the future of the subfield.


Eligibility Criteria

  • At the time of submission, the applicant must be a student in any institution of higher education worldwide.

  • The applicant can be of any nationality and ethnicity.

  • The submission must focus on any aspect of global African rhetoric with theoretical, analytical and/or practical implications.

●     Submitted paper should be authored solely by the student. Co-authored submissions by at most two students are allowed, but both authors must be students at the time of submission.

  • The submission should not have received an academic award elsewhere.

Submission Requirements:

●     Submissions must include a nomination letter from a faculty member and the research paper. The research paper should be  20-35 pages, excluding references and the appendix. All documents should be submitted as one file in PDF format.

  • Submissions could be sent by the nominating faculty member or the student(s). ∙

  • The deadline for submission is May 20, 2024.

  • Submissions should be sent to with the subject line.


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