Borders, Identities and Belonging in a
Cosmopolitan Society: Perspectives from African Migrants in the Diaspora

Image: BBC World Service

We are excited to welcome you all to the inaugural conference of the African Studies Group (ASG). For those of you who have travelled from overseas and
interstate for this conference, welcome to the University of Melbourne, Australia! And to those of you at the University of Melbourne or within Victoria, you are equally welcome.

ASG is an association of researchers with interests in African studies hosted by the University of Melbourne. We provide an enabling platform for informative and supportive collegial discussions. We meet once a month, and we’re open to scholars of African descent, scholars interested in African studies and the general public. As part of our commitment, ASG engages with a range of
activities which include monthly seminars, workshops, and community engagement.

We have committed as a group to host an annual conference starting the year 2020 that draws on academic and practitioner experiences to explore deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in Australia, and beyond. This conference is organised in fulfilment of this pledge.

Borders, Identities and Belonging have been at the centre of debates on the profound transformations wrought by globalisation. But perhaps the movement of people across geographical borders, and the transformative impact of the digital revolution that has ushered in the information age, are the most illustrative examples. Extant literature and discourse has primarily analysed issues of borders in isolation, thus overlooking the intersection of these two issues. Where this intersection has been examined, it has been in the analogue sense, especially physical geographical borders. There is therefore a lacuna, in literature and discourse, on the intersection of borders and identity, in both the analogue and digital realms.

Moreover, debates on these issues have been largely confined either in academic platforms or public policy and community forums, but rarely engaging all sides. Given the increasing salience of migration and identity issues in politics world over, there is a renewed need for innovative platforms on which to foster these debates. That is, there is a need to engage scholars, practitioners and community members in these deliberations, especially in Australia where there are high waves of migrant issues in recent times.

The Borders, Identities and Belonging conference will be organised around the following thematic questions:

  1. The Concept of Home : What and where is home?
    Where, when and how do we feel a sense of
  2. Relevance of Borders : How do borders permeate our
    social lives?
  3. Digital Transformation : How have digital
    communication platforms transformed the concepts
    and experiences of borders, identity and belonging?
  4. Multiculturalism and Integration : What are the
    experiences and prospects of multiculturalism
    in increasing our sense of belonging and social

The Borders, Identities and Belonging conference will comprise three key elements: Masterclass and Public Lecture; Academic panels; and Practitioners panels. These three elements are distinct but interrelated, and will comprise the first, second and third days of the conference, respectively.

The program for this conference is exciting. We have two distinguished international keynote speakers, several academic and practitioner panels, a public lecture and a masterclass.

Please join us in thanking our partners, the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne for availing the conference venues; Melbourne Social Equity Institute, Scanlon Foundation, African Engagement Platform, Jesuit Social Services, Graduate Student Association, the conference volunteers, our academic adviser (A/Prof. Bina Fernandez) and many others who have supported in making this conference a reality. Also, a big thank you
as participants in the conference.

Welcome and enjoy!

ASG Conference Committee
Kennedy Liti Mbeva
Franka Vaughan
Matthew Mabefam
Dr. Emmanuel Lohkoko Awoh




ASG is an association of researchers with interests in African studies hosted by the University of Melbourne.

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African Studies Group

African Studies Group

ASG is an association of researchers with interests in African studies hosted by the University of Melbourne.

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