Call for Papers | “African Nations and World Competitions – State of Play”. 14th Sports Africa Conference | Nelson Mandela University Port Elizabeth, South Africa, July 1-3, 2020. Call ends March 29, 2020

The Department of Anthropology at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, will host the 14thedition of the Sports Africa Conference, July 1-3 2020. Since 2004, Sports Africa has promoted and championed African Sport Studies as a valuable interdisciplinary academic arena by bringing together scholars and practitioners from Africa, North America, Europe, and Asia working across disciplines and in multiple sports. This year’s conference theme is African Nations and World Competitions – State of Play.

Since their independence, African nations have become an integral part of the global sports community. After gaining their independence, African nations joined federations, and today African nations consistently participate in world championships and qualifying events.

Africans’ continuing participation in world championships, regardless of performance, is an indicator of their entanglement in a wide variety of “modern sports” practices. Beyond the participation and presence of African nations at world competitions, and two-decades into the 21st century, digital transformations, artificial intelligence, globalization, neo-liberalism, the rise of populism, performance enhancing drugs, gender policies, the spectre of ‘terrorism’ (and the ‘securitization’ response) and other currents that impact mega-events and major events.

How is African athletes’ participation in various international competitions evolving with the rapidly transforming global sport ecosystems? What is the significance of African nation states participating and occasionally winning world competitions? What implications do these victories have for national sports development or management? What are the positive or negative impacts of the resources allocated to these participations? How are African sports integrating new knowledge and technologies?

Conference organizers, invite paper proposals from practitioners and scholars in the following fields: anthropology, sociology, health, history, geography, politics, economics, African diaspora studies, public policy, education, communication, gender studies, development studies, and other interdisciplinary perspectives to speak to the theme “African Nations and World a Competitions – State of Play“.

The organizers call for meaningful reflections and critical proposals to generate debate on the state of play throughout Africa from world championship participation to local, community, and indigenous games and sports during the 14th Annual Sports Africa Conference at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa July 1-3, 2020.


      • Social, sporting, and political Impact of a world championship victory
      • Sport and history, continuity and change
      • The positive (or negative) impact of the 4th industrial revolution on African sports
      • Traditional and indigenous games vs. modern sport
      • Sports, streaming technologies and social media
      • Symbolic relations between athletes and society
      • Sport nationalist and sectarian sentiments
      • Immigration, nation, and identity discourse in sport
      • Sport, violence, terrorism and insecurity
      • School and university sport and their role in national policies
      • Informal sports clubs, competitions, and academies
      • Gender, race, disability and sexual orientation inclusion in sport
      • Local sports and the global north sports financial power
      • Sport and public health
      • Urban vs rural sport participation
      • Performance Enhancing Drugs and doping

Abstract submission

Please submit abstracts of 250 to 300 words followed by keywords and preferably without academic references through athe Sports Africa website at:

Presentation Options Oral Presentation

Accepted abstracts will be attached to panels with similar themes. Panels generally consist of 20 minute presentations of each paper by the author(s) in a panel of 3 to 4 presenters, followed by questions and discussion.


Roundtables consist of discussion of selected topics concerning research, pedagogy, knowledge production and scholarship on African Sport Studies and the role suchconferences can play in promoting these endeavors. Short essays that selected speakers present will set the agenda for debate and discussion.


Conference Organizing Committee invites submissions from individuals or groups to conduct an interactive and engaging session on any topic of relevance to the main themes of the conference. These sessions are aimed at more engaged and critical scholarly discussions and feedback on the pre-circulated papers. Accepted workshop papers will be included in the conference proceedings.

Proceedings and publication

All accepted abstracts will be published on the conference website. All full papers sent for conference proceedings will be considered for inclusion in an edited volume subject to double blind review .

Keynote Speakers to be announced shortly

Important dates

      • Abstract submission deadline: February 29, 2020
      • Registration opening date: March 15, 2020
      • Registration closing date: May 31, 2020

All accepted presenters must register by 31 May, 2020 otherwise their paper will not be included in the program. Submission of an abstract indicates intent to register and present on any of the three days of the conference.

For more information please visit the conference website at:

The abstract submission form is available on the website:

To get in touch with the conference organizing committee, please email:

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