Translating Africa/Africa in Translation


new banner 12 copy

Global Africa and the Humanities

A Rutgers University Intercollegiate Symposium

Date: TBA (To be rescheduled for a later date)

Symposium landing page imageUpdate: Per university policy concerning Covid-19, these events will no longer take place on March 30th-April 4th, 2020. The committee will reschedule the symposium and all of the associated events. 

Global Africa and the Humanities Series presents the second of a three-part symposium, focusing on the theme, "Translating Africa/Africa in Translation." The term translation is employed here in both its literal and metaphorical senses, and as a micro as well as a macro phenomenon. It encompasses a wide range of experiences, from the migration of texts across languages/cultures/societies/regions and their influences on the construction of (new) imaginings of/about Africa, to the formation of and/or actions on ideas/theories/policies/initiatives across disciplines that open up new possibilities for understanding what Africa was, is, and can be. What has been the impact of the machinery of translation globally on our changing readings of Africa in the longue durée? What has been the role of translation in (re)shaping the African literary canon? How have translations and translation practices been galvanized as instruments of political resistance to a range of hegemonic forces that have been at play over the decades? Into what kinds of representations do the contesting metaphors of/about Africa translate in the global marketplace of platitudes and banalities, and what are their implications on the "Africas" and "Africanities" we imagine? How are the interventions of activists and scholars in areas ranging from the economy to theology, from education to ecology, translating into new framings, figurations, and fissures of hope, transforming Africa into a knowledge economy? What are some of the ways in which translation becomes an embodied performance through dance, music, theatre, and visual culture? These are some of the broad questions that “Translating Africa/Africa in Translation” examines, exploring theories and practices of translation in their full multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary character while challenging Eurocentric parameters and terms of reference.

Beginning Thursday, March 12, Rutgers events and in-person meetings involving groups larger than 15 participants are canceled through April 15. Guidance related to this policy will be reviewed again by April 1. For more information, see






Film Screening: The Fruitless Tree (2016)

A 52-Min. Documentary Film

Directed by Aicha Macky, Winner of AMAA 2016 Award for Best Documentary at the 12th African Movie Academy Awards, Nigeria Introduction: Moustapha Ndour


 Film Screening: Koukan Kourciya / The Cry of the Turtle Dove (2010)

A 62-Min. Documentary Film

Directed by Sani Elhadj Magori, Winner of Awards at FESPACO 2011 and LAFF 2012

Introduction: Ousseina Alidou


SYMPOSIUM Symposium –– Day 1

Location: Teleconference Room, 4th Floor, Alexander Library, Rutgers College Avenue Campus

8:00 am – 8:45 am: Registration & Breakfast

8:45 am – 9:15 am: Welcome & Opening Remarks

Ousseina Alidou and Alamin Mazrui (Convenors)

Anjali Nerlekar (Chair, AMESALL)

Michelle Stephens (SAS-Humanities Dean) [TBC]

James Masschaele (Executive Vice Dean, SAS) [TBC] 

Eric Garfunkel (Vice President, Rutgers Global) [TBC] 

Rick Lee (Global Programs, Rutgers Global) [TBC] 

Genese M. Sodikoff (Director, Center for African Studies) [TBC]


9:15 am – 11:15 am: Panel 1

Africanity, Originality, and Materiality

Moderator: Ouaafa Deleger

Henry Stoll: Mais li pas en criole": Singing French, Sounding Sovereign

Sinzo Aanza: Plaidoirie pour vendre le Congo – Pourquoi je vis le monde comme je l’écris, ou le choix d’une fiction absolue

Translator: François Cornilliat

Salam Al Kuntar: The Displacement of Artifacts from the Middle East and North Africa: Past and Present


11:15 am – 11:30 am: Coffee Break


11:30 am – 12:45 pm: Keynote Address

Introduction: Samah Selim

Souleymane Bachir Diagne: Translatio Studiorum and Africa


12:45 pm – 1:30 pm: Lunch and Poetry

Introduction: Olabode Ibironke

Poetry Reading by Tariro Ndoro, Zimbabwean Poet


1:30 pm – 3:15 pm: Panel 2

Translation and African Indigenous Knowledge

Moderator: Tadjou-N’Dine Mamadou Yacoubou

Keith Phetlhe: Decolonization Nightmare? Revisiting Anthropological and Missionary Colonial Translations of African Literature in Southern Africa

Wunpini F. Mohammed: Mediated Translations: Theorizing African Languages and Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Fallou Ngom: African Ajami Manuscripts: New Sources of Global and Humanistic Perspectives


3:15 pm – 4:15 pm: Conversation

Documentary Filmmaking and Photography

Moderator: Moustapha Ndour

Aicha Macky, Sociologist and Filmmaker

Translator: Moustapha Ndour

Beryl Goldberg, Photojournalist


4:15 pm – 4:30 pm: Coffee Break


4:30 pm – 6:15 pm: Panel 3

Africa between Local and Global

Moderator: Carolina Sánchez

Amardeep Singh: From “Katwe” to Kahiu: Mira Nair's Uganda and Contemporary East African Cinema

Laurence Jay-Rayon Ibrahim Aibo: The Politics of Translating Sound Motifs in African Fiction

Paul F. Bandia: Translating Africa: Tracing the Pathways from Postcolonialism to Globalization


6:30 pm – 8:30 pm: Reception

Welcoming Remarks James Masschaele (Executive Vice Dean, SAS) [TBC]

Michelle Stephens (Dean of Humanities) [TBC]

Eric Garfunkel (Vice President, Rutgers Global) [TBC]

Rick Lee (Global Programs, Rutgers Global) [TBC]

Genese M. Sodikoff (Director, Center for African Studies) [TBC]



Introduction: Tadjou-N’Dine Mamadou Yacoubou

Kassoum Hamani (Jhonel), Slam Poet

Fatoumata Adelle Ibrahim Barry, Writer and Physician

Translators: Moustapha Ndour and Ouaafa Deleger


Symposium –– Day 2


 8:00 am – 8:45 am: Registration & Breakfast


8:45 am – 10:45 am: Panel 4

Feminist Translations

Moderator: RaShelle Peck

Fatoumata Adelle Barry: Les Déchues: Dire tout ce qui ne se dit pas

Translator: Moustapha Ndour

Msia Clark: Howard University, Hashtags and Feminism: African Women and Activism in Social Media Spaces

Tariro Ndoro: Disobedient Poetics: The Making of Agringada: Like a Gringa, Like a Foreigner


10:45 am – 11:00 am: Coffee Break


11:00 am – 12:45 pm: Panel 5

Translating Africa in and for the World

Moderator: Paulina Maria Barrios

Elena Razlogova: The Liberation Politics of Live Translation: African Cinema in Soviet Tashkent

Tarik Lagnaoui: Souleymane Bachir Diagne's Reflections on the Implications of Translation on Philosophy and Religion in Northwestern Africa

Kathryn Batchelor: Translating Africa for China


12:45 pm – 1:30 pm: Lunch


1:30 pm – 3:15 pm: Panel 6

Translating Social Justice: Land and Agriculture

Moderator: Dena Seidal

Dan Hoffman: Academic Visions

William Atwood: Cultivating Justice

Sani Elhadj Magori: For the Best and For the Onions


3:15 pm–5:00 pm: Panel 7

Narrating Alterity

Moderator: Preetha Mani

Kannan Muthukrishnan: Africa/Āppirikkā*: Being Black in Tamil

Véronique Tadjo: Viruses are our New Enemies: Interpreting the Ebola Epidemic and its Many Narratives

Simon Gikandi: This Thing that is Called Africa: Translation and the Work of the “Untutored” Intellectuals


7:00 pm – 10:00 pm: Closing Celebration and Performances

Location: Loree Hall Theatre, Mason Gross, Rutgers Douglass Campus

Welcome and Opening Remarks: Julia Ritter (Chair, Department of Dance)

Alessandra Williams (Professor, Department of Dance)

James Masschaele (Executive Vice Dean, SAS) [TBC]

Michelle Stephens (Dean of Humanities) [TBC]

Eric Garfunkel (Vice President, Rutgers Global) [TBC]

Rick Lee (Global Programs, Rutgers Global) [TBC]

Genese M. Sodikoff (Director, Center for African Studies) [TBC]


MC: Gabriel Bámgbóṣé



Plaidoirie pour vendre le Congo / A Plea to Sell the Congo

A bilingual performance

Original play by Sinzo Aanza

Directing and acting by Azani V. Ebengou with the support of Antu Yacob

English translation from French by Madhuri Mukherjee



Ananya Dance Theatre's Sutrajal: Revelations of Gossamer, Two Performance Excerpts by Alessandra Williams and Mason Gross Dance Students

TWESE Dance Troupe (Rutgers African Students Association)


Poetry and Music

Véronique Tadjo

Ala’ Jitan

Tadjou-N’Dine Mamadou Yacoubou

Henry Stoll

Keith Phetlhe