NVAS 25th Anniversary Conference: Conciliation and Conflict - The Role of Language in Bridging Social Differences in Africa

The NVAS (Netherlands Association for African Studies) dedicates its jubilee conference to Africa’s most widely acknowledged contribution to the heritage of mankind: spoken mediation. This is a multimodal phenomenon that encompasses spoken words, songs, bodily gestures and communicative silence. Each of these means of communication can serve to break up or cement social cohesion. As we know from premodern and modern history, often the fighting with words can be as harmful as fighting with swords. Polemics of religion, identity (of ethnic affiliation, sexual orientation, a.o.) or politics often precede or are cotemporaneous with physical violence. Similarly, in reconciliation and cooperation, speech (in all its expressive forms) is an essential resource. The conference will bring together specialists from different fields of studies (linguistics, anthropology, communication studies, literature, rhetoric, history, politics, social media studies, economics) to discuss the dual functions of language in social relations.

NVAS’s 25th anniversary will be celebrated with a keynote lecture, panels, a (mini) book market and festive activities. 

Read the full programme (pdf).

Read the web dossier Language, conciliation and conflict in Africa, compiled by the ASCL Library. 


Register by sending an email to nvasconf@asc.leidenuniv.nl. Registration is free for NVAS members and students; for other non-members it is € 20,- (more info).



Friday 9 December: Pieter de la Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden.
Saturday 10 December: Kamerlingh Onnes Building, Steenschuur 25, 2316 VN Leiden

Date, time and location

09 December 2022 to 10 December 2022