Mission Statement

The Africa Chapter of the Memory Studies Association is a regional branch of the international Memory Studies Association (MSA), which originated from a proposal to bring the annual MSA conference to South Africa in 2020. While the MSA committee strongly supported the idea, it was felt that the association’s membership on the African continent first needs to grow and local scholarly interest in the field must be stimulated. This led to plans for hosting a regional Memory Studies conference in Pretoria in the second half of 2019 and establishing an Africa Chapter of the MSA as a local organizing body.

Established by Atabongwoung Gallous (University of Pretoria) and Sabine Marschall (University of KwaZulu-Natal), the Africa Chapter shares all general aims of the MSA (see and is bound by all general decisions made by the MSA, but it has its own governance structure and advisory board, which will ensure that regionally specific conditions and priorities are more adequately taken into consideration. Most notably, the Africa Chapter aims to promote the field of memory studies locally and encourage critical scholarship by organizing conferences and other scholarly events in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent. In support of the MSA’s mission to diversify the Anglo/Euro focus that characterized the early development of memory studies, the Africa Chapter places strong emphasis on Africa – the geographical entity of the continent, its multi-racial and multi-ethnic inhabitants, its diaspora and the multifarious linkages between Africa and the global arena. While the short-term focus is on local development of the field, the Africa Chapter ultimately aims to build theory in memory studies inspired by Afro-centric research; test extant conceptualizations in African contexts and bring African epistemologies and Indigenous Knowledge Systems to bear on the field of memory studies. Establishing a relevant journal and other suitable publication outlets would be another long-term goal.

Governance structure

The governance structure of the Africa Chapter is modelled on that of the MSA, but due to the small scale of the scholarly field locally, the executive committee of the Africa Chapter will initially consist of two co-presidents (the  above-mentioned founders) and an Advisory board. Mirroring the MSA, the office bearers will be in place for two years, after which elections will be held among members at a general meeting. Presidents can be re-elected twice for a maximum consecutive term of six years. As the organization grows and as the need arises, additional office bearers can be appointed to form an Executive Committee in consultation with the Advisory board.

Membership and fees

All members of the Africa Charter will become members of the MSA, i.e. register on the MSA website, establish a profile and pay membership fees according to their respective level. The MSA offers sponsored (i.e. free) membership upon request and personal motivation. Members will enjoy a discounted registration fee for attendance of Africa Chapter conferences as well as the general MSA annual conference.

Inaugural conference

17-19 October 2019, Pretoria – see Call For Papers

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