NSLC 2019 CfP: Number in Nubian Languages

A number of relevant publications on Nubian number marking has been published over the last few decades. However, this field is still in its infancy. The current wide-spread interest in Nubian languages, both from scholars and native speakers, offers an opportunity to investigate these issues more closely.

We invite scholars, both native and non-native, to submit proposals for the Nubian panel to be held at the 14th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium in Vienna (May 30–June 1, 2019), dealing with the category of grammatical number and its morphological, syntactic, and semantic aspects.

Number is often thought of as a grammatical means to distinguish simply between singular and plural. However, many other distinctions on a nominal level can be made, both as regards other forms of number marking such as dual or paucal, and the way number is manifested on the noun phrase and its component parts. Number also appears to be closely related to semantics. Mass nouns such as ‘salt’, ‘water’, ‘clay’ can differ in respect to number marking from count nouns like ‘house’ and ‘child’. Also semantically defined groups of nouns such as body part and kinship terms may select specific number markers. Some languages also have a specific associative number marker to express a group associated with an individual, e.g., ‘Ali and his people’.

In many languages number marking is not confined to nouns. It is also common on adjectives, pronouns (e.g. person, demonstrative, and interrogative pronouns), and verbs. Number on verbs may have two different realizations, agreement marking reflecting the number and person of the subject and verbal number. Verbal number (also known as pluractional) is realized by singular and plural stems or specific morphemes. It can reflect the number of intransitive subjects or transitive objects but also the number of events, e.g., do something once or several times or even at several places.

Questions to be addressed are, for instance: Is number marking obligatory on nouns? Is it regular and productive? Which number values are distinguished? How many different number markers are there on nouns? Do they differ from number markers on other word categories (e.g. adjectives, pronouns, numerals, demonstratives)? Is the selection of specific number markers semantically motivated? Is there number agreement between a noun and its modifiers? Does tonal contrast play a role in number marking? Are there singular and plural verb stems? How are they formed? What triggers the selection of these stems? What is the relation between verbal number and nominal number?

The first page must contain the title of the paper, author’s name, affiliation, postal address and email. The second page must be left anonymous, with only the title of the paper, 3 keywords, and the text of the abstract of no more than 500 words. Data must include interlinear glosses following the Leipzig Glossing Rules. The abstract should be single-spaced and in a Unicode font no smaller than 11 point, and in .pdf or .doc/.docx format.

The Nubian panel organizers will read the abstracts and will inform the authors whether their abstracts are accepted. The abstracts are due by September 30, 2018.

The proceedings of this panel will be edited and published by Dotawo: A Journal of Nubian Studies.

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei –
Angelika Jakobi –


IMC 2019 CfP: Material Africa: Global Techniques, Influences, and Exchanges

Africa has a rich history of materiality. Not only are numerous African societies long renowned for their material skills, particularly in metal work, African materials have continually been used in workshops further afield, notably gold and ivory. Medieval Africa offers a rich and varied collection of techniques, designs, and uses for objects across its regions for both art and ceremony.

This call for papers seeks contributions for sessions centred on the main strand of the 2019 International Medieval Congress: ‘Materialities’. The aim of the sessions is to bring a diverse selection of research on medieval Africa to the Congress, with topics ranging geographically across Africa from north to south, west to east, and including the story of African objects and craftsmanship outside of Africa. Participants are invited to submit papers addressing all aspects of medieval African materiality, including but not limited to:

  • The journey and circulation of objects
  • Object-making techniques and tools, including small-scale technologies
  • Object-making communities
  • Object-making training, apprenticeship, and education
  • The sourcing of materials
  • Object forms
  • Object influences
  • Object roles
  • Object messages
  • Object design and aesthetics
  • Appropriation of objects by others
  • Object afterlives
  • Contemporary understanding of object significance
  • Intellectual history of objects
  • Indigenous theorization of objects and object making

We welcome proposals for papers of 20 minutes’ length across four sessions from historical, literary, archaeological, philological, art historical and interdisciplinary angles, from scholars of all career stages and research backgrounds.
A bursary to support applicants’ participation may be available.

Abstracts of up to 250 words should be sent to the email account by Sunday, 23rd of September 2018. Please include your preferred paper titleA-V requirements and your contact details (full name, title, affiliation, address, email address).

Organizers / Contacts

Verena Krebs, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany •

Adam Simmons, Lancaster University, UK •

Abdallah Fili, Chouaib Coukkali University at El-Jadida, Morocco  •

Wendy L. Belcher, Princeton University, USA •

Solomon Gebreyes Beyene, Hamburg University, Germany •

Dotawo CfP on Ethno-Archaeology

Call for papers on Ethnoarchaeology in Nubia and the peripheral regions

The XIIth International Conference on Archeology and History Stood in Antibes (France) in October 1991 was devoted to the following topic : Ethnoarchaeology: justifications, problems, limits. If ethnoarchaeology has supporters and opponents, it is clear that, as was written by Louis Chaix and Hassan Sidi Maamar in the proceedings of this conference (p. 281), “the use of analogy is an integral part of scientific production. (…) The function of analogy is to inspire a new idea and widen the sphere of possibilities. In no event it is to grant certain positions an undeniable status of truth.”

As Eric Huysecom explained in these proceedings (p. 91), “for better efficiency, ethnoarchaeology requires that the archaeologists state their needs in order to guide the research of the ethnoarcheologists. Both disciplines, ethnoarchaeology and archeology, should therefore be pursued simultaneously. Only then patterns highlighted with current populations will become relevant and will apply to the past. ”

Very relevant ethnoarchaeological studies were conducted in the past in Sudan, like for example the analysis of butchery techniques, comparing ethnographic data on the current cutting and archaeozoological study of a funerary context gathered in the Kerma area between 1970 and 1990, a study by Louis Chaix and Hassan Sidi Maamar.

This call for papers aims to update the latest research in ethnoarchaeology in Nubia and in the peripheral regions. We expect articles from designers (ethnoarcheologist, anthropologists, geographers …) and users (archaeologists). For example, how the study of different technical activities (ceramics, metal, basketry, architecture …) from current societies contribute to a comparative ethno-archaeological thoughts? Expectations of the archaeologists and specialists of Nubia to ethnoarchaeology are welcome.


IMC 2018 CfP: What ‘forgotten’ period? Reclaiming the Middle Ages for Africa

Call for Papers

International Medieval Congress
University of Leeds, UK, 2-5 July 2018

Africa has always been a nexus of trade routes, its history entangled with the continents that surround it: Europe, Asia, and America. These connections and interactions, whether productive or brutal, have been reasonably well documented for the classical period as well as from the onset of modern colonialism, but a chronological blank spot lingers on our historical memory. Why is it so difficult to remember the Middle Ages – their beginning, middle, and end – in and for Africa?

The International Medieval Congress in 2018 between 2-5th July 2018 will focus on the theme of ‘Memories’ – and will be an ideal occasion for scholars working on sources and historiography relating to sub-Saharan Africa in the pre-modern period to exchange ideas. We specifically invite scholars working on a wide range of sources relating to Africa to help us re-shape the impression of a purportedly ‘forgotten’ period within the larger historiographical field that focuses on Africa and its interactions with other continents.

We welcome proposals for papers of 20 minutes’ length across four sessions from historical, literary, archaeological, philological, art historical and interdisciplinary angles.

We endeavor to group papers into the following geographical sessions:

  • The Nubia and the Red Sea Region
  • Ethiopia and the Horn
  • From Mogadishu to Sofala: the Swahili Coast, the Indian Ocean and Zimbabwe
  • Empires of the Sahara and Sahel
  • Beyond the Desert Sea: From Ile-Ife to the Kingdom of Kongo

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • The beginning of the Middle Ages: the interface and influence of Greek, Christian, and Arabic cultures with local communities, Trans-Saharan, Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean Trade;
  • The middle of the Middle Ages: topics in Aksumite, Zagwe and early Solomonic history, Nubian Christian kingdoms, Islamic Sultanates of the Horn of Africa, the Swahili city states and Great Zimbabwe, the empires of Ghana, Mali, and Kanem, etc.
  • The end of the Middle Ages: the onset of colonialism, shifting paradigms in trade and power relations
  • Foreign sources on the continent, from China to Latin Europe, and from itineraries to maps

Abstracts of up to 200 words should be sent to the dedicated email account by Monday, 25th of September 2017 (extended deadline!). Please include personal and contact details (including academic affiliation), paper title, abstract, and A-V requirements.

Organizers / Contacts

  • Dr. Verena Krebs, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel / Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany •
  • Dr. Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, independent scholar •
  • Prof. Dr. Christof Rolker, Bamberg University, Germany •
  • Meseret Oldjira, Princeton University •

Dotawo CfP on Nubian Literature

Call For Papers on Nubian Literature

Though a great number of books and articles have been written on Nubian history, archeology and language in English, only  a few researchers have addressed the large body of Nubian literary production. The aim of this issue is to redress this lack by foregrounding the importance of Nubian literature in both its written and oral form. The issue will include texts written by Egyptian and Sudanese writers in both the Arabic and Nubian language translated into English as well as critical articles about the aforementioned texts. The aim of this issue is to explore different trends in Nubian literature as well as diverse ways of tackling them. We seek translations of texts written by Nubians from different periods as well as critical papers on the subject. Modes of reading include but are not restricted to the following:

  •             Psychoanalytical
  •             Philosophical
  •             Feminist
  •             Postcolonial
  •             Marxist
  •             Historicist

Some of the key questions include, but are not confined to :

  • In what way do Nubian writers deploy their heritage ?
  • How do writers use re-readings of Nubian myths/folktales as a tool to challenge or   consolidate notions of identity and in what way is their cultural background a decisive element?
  • How do writers address notions of gender and gender relations both in Modern and Old   Nubia and how can a comparative perspective be of help in understanding this specific issue?
  • How do authors employ Utopian/Dystopian themes as sub-texts that define their attitude towards Old Nubia and as a means of coping with the present? How are oral productions both an expression of a way of life that is no more as well a reflection of elements of a specifically Nubian culture that has survived until the present time?

We invite interested authors to direct questions and submit abstracts to Nivin El Asdoudi ( Please submit abstracts by 1 May 2017 and anticipate submission of the final draft of your article by 1 December 2017.

Join UNS at the NSLC 2017 Nubian Panels

The Union for Nubian Studies will co-host the Nubian panels during the 13th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium in 2017, hosted by the University of Addis-Ababa, focused on Nubian Phonology and Tonology.

A number of relevant publications on Nubian phonology and tonology has been published over the last few decades. However, this field is still in its infancy. The current wide-spread interest in Nubian languages, both from scholars and native speakers, offers an opportunity to investigate these issues more closely.

We invite scholars, both native and non-native, to submit proposals for the Nubian panel to be held at the 13th Nilo-Saharan Linguistics Colloquium, May 2017 in Addis Ababa, dealing with phonology, tonology, and their interfaces with morphology and syntax. Topics may include (but not only):

  • Consonant and vowel systems and phoneme inventories;
  • Grammatical and lexical functions of tone;
  • Tonological and phonological assimilation;
  • Vowel harmony and ATR;
  • Stress, prosody, and vowel length.