The 2023 Africana Studies-University of Maryland, Baltimore County (AFST-UMBC) Biennial International Conference

View Speakers’ Flyer Here (PDF)

African Women, Civil Wars, and Peacebuilding

May 17-18, 2023
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, Maryland, 21250

Since the 1960s, 22 of the 54 African countries have witnessed civil wars that resulted in mass violence, displacement and refugee crises, economic and infrastructural destruction, and political and regional instability. Caused by complex historical drivers and experiences rooted in the colonial legacy of fragile constitutional and institutional structures, ill-prepared political leadership, sectarianism, ethnonationalism, religious intolerance, poverty and inequality, and stiff competition for scarce resources, among other factors, the wars have had devastating impacts on Africans especially women. African women have been embroiled in armed conflicts as civilians—fleeing the hostilities, searching for refuge, and struggling to protect and feed their families. They have also been active participants in the battlefields as combatants, militia members, companions of male fighters, carriers of food, supplies, weapons and information, medical practitioners attending to the sick and the wounded, and spies undertaking dangerous espionage missions. They have worked as dedicated diplomats educating and currying continental and international support and mobilizing human and material resources for their causes.

Civil wars disproportionately affected women in terms of their access to resources, their participation in the decision-making processes of postwar rehabilitation, and the degree of their reintegration in postwar society. The militarization and sexualized violence engendered by the civil wars in Africa have also affected women and their daughters disproportionately. While armed conflicts turned women’s bodies into sites of violence as well as of resistance, they also highlighted women’s resilience and agency in protecting and feeding families, helping communities survive, and exploiting socioeconomic and political opportunities engendered by the hostilities. We invite paper and panel proposals that apply critical interdisciplinary and gendered perspectives to analyze the complex and diverse experiences of African women in prewar, wartime, and postwar societies. Proposals that also explore the complex forms and effects of violence against women and girls in wartimes and immediate postwar zones, and help crack the silence and secrecy that have obscured women’s war experiences are welcome. We also invite those that focus on African women’s agency in terms of their survival strategies and exploitation of the new opportunities—economic, political, educational, creative and artistic expressions—that are engendered by civil wars.

This conference also commemorates the 23rd anniversary of the 2000 adoption of United Nations Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security, which recognized women’s contributions in peacemaking and peacebuilding. African women have demonstrated their agency in prewar peacemaking, wartime peacekeeping and postwar peacebuilding, engaging in conflict prevention, and in reconciliation, reconstruction and transformation processes. Yet women’s voices and perspectives are often ignored and their contributions undervalued by peacebuilding practitioners and stakeholders. A key question the conference intends to interrogate is: to what extent have African women participated in peace talks and negotiations, and in formulating postwar plans for reconstruction and sustainable peace? The transformative nature of peacebuilding requires the contributions of both men and women, and their full representation in peacemaking and peacebuilding processes. We welcome proposals that apply interdisciplinary gendered perspectives to analyze peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts in different conflict-zones in the continent as well as those that focus on women’s contributions to peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts at different arenas, including local grassroots, national, regional, continental, and global contexts.


  1. Theories and methodological frameworks in researching and writing about African women and civil wars
  2. Wartime conditions and gendered survival strategies
  3. Women and genocides
  4. Women, the military, and female combatants
  5. Armed conflicts, gender and economic resources
  6. Displacement, migration and female refugees
  7. Women, wars and religion
  8. Gender and humanitarian interventions
  9. Wartime sites and forms of violence against women, and by women
  10. Women, prewar, wartime and postwar politics and governance
  11. Gender and wartime marriages
  12. Gendered wartime human rights abuses and violations
  13. Women, wars and technology
  14. Psychology and trauma of wartime rapes, forced motherhood, and stigmatization
  15. Armed conflicts, women’s rights and international legal instruments
  16. Artistic, creative, literary, and media representations of women’s war experiences
  17. Gender, memory, war memoirs and counter-narratives
  18. Women in prewar peacemaking and postwar peacebuilding
  19. Other related sub-themes

Submission Guidelines

Proposals should contain the following information and in this order: (a) title of paper or presentation, (b) full name of author(s), (c) institutional affiliation, (d) email and mailing addresses, (e) phone numbers, (f) abstract of maximum of 250-300 words, and (g) 5 keywords of your proposed presentation. We also need a bio of up to 200 words. Proposals and bios should be sent in MS Word format to no later than March 31, 2023. Final decision on proposal acceptance will be communicated to the authors promptly. If your proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your paper should be submitted by Friday, April 28, 2023. Papers presented at the conference will be peer-reviewed, and those assessed to be of high quality will be included in an edited book

Please follow the instructions and the links below to complete your registration

Conference Registration and Payment

The conference is free to the public. However, in order to receive the conference meals and materials (Program, bag, name tag, writing pads, pens), you have to pay the conference registration fee. Click here to make your payment.

The Payment Link closes at 11:59 pm (US Eastern Time) on April 30, 2023. Please make sure you make your payment on or before this date.

General Public: $150

Students: $100 (Required Verifiable Institutional Affiliation and Photo ID)

Registration is based on individual participation and payment is nonrefundable. It is important to pay the correct amount for the category you fall into in order not to be asked to pay the balance at the check-in desk. Only those who officially register for the conference by April 30, 2023 will appear on the program. We need the headcount by May 1, 2023 in order to plan for the conference materials and meals.

If you are a member of the UMBC community and plan to attend, RVSPs are required. Click here:, and indicate when you will attend no later than April 30, 2023. Members of the UMBC community will not appear in the conference program or receive conference materials.


The hotel properties below offer special rates to visitors associated with UMBC. Please ask about the UMBC rate before making your reservation.

    1. Hyatt Place Baltimore/BWI Airport
    2. BWI Airport Marriott
    3. La Quinta Inn & Suites BWI
    4. Holiday Inn BWI Airport

More information regarding UMBC campus access and parking can be found here.

Contact Us

All conference inquiries should be sent to