The Karin Barber Pop-Up Lab: “Generation and Regeneration” Journal of African Cultural Studies

Journal of African Cultural Studies

The Karin Barber Pop-Up Lab: “Generation and Regeneration” from 9-10 September 2018 at the University of Birmingham.                 

Over the course of her career, Karin Barber inaugurated the field of African popular culture studies, and has developed new approaches to Yorùbá oral genres such as oríkì, and to the anthropological study of African texts and textuality, including a generative approach that traces the emergence of new genres and forms. At the Karen Barber Lab invited scholars will present work in progress to a network of their peers. The Lab builds on the Journal of African Cultural Studies's reading group and British Academy funded writing and mentoring workshops, which have functioned as mobile academies, collaborating with Africa-based scholars and changing publishing patterns that privilege the north. The Lab builds on existing intergenerational and inter-regional collaborations between scholars developing Barber's work, and will continue the work of nurturing the next generation of leading African cultural studies scholars.

The mobile and generative nature of the Karin Barber Lab acknowledges the innovations of the many important Africa-based schools of thought about popular African cultural studies, and strengthens research and mentoring links between departments and institutions in a number of locations, including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and China. The inter-regional networks which have already been built by the next generation of scholars, inform the vision of all the Lab workers.

In the Lab, invited scholars who are leaders (and, to use a favourite Barber term, “emergent” leaders) in their fields will present work in progress to their peers, and to Prof Barber (who will be our special guest). The theme of the Lab is “Generation and Re-Generation”, and convenes a mobile and evolving academic community along the lines of Barber's seminal work on traveling theatre troupes. The aim of this Lab is to engender a proliferating network of diverse and mobile Karin Barber Labs, connected and mutually constitutive, in diverse locations in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, China and elsewhere.

Participation in The Karin Barber Lab is by invitation only. For all inquiries please contact Carli Coetzee, Editor of the Journal of African Cultural Studies –