CfP: “Environmental Knowledge and Nature(s) in Africa: Collecting, Producing and Analysing Research Materials”

The journal:  Sources. An interdisciplinary journal on materials and their uses in African studies

Sources is a collective peer-reviewed online journal in African studies created by French research institutes located in Nairobi, Ibadan, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa and Khartoum in partnership with the France-based research unit ‘Africas in the World’. The main goal of the journal is to add value to original materials and sources collected on the ground as part of archival search, ethnographic fieldwork, quantitative study, archaeological excavations, and any other field research related to social sciences and the humanities. The journal publishes articles that focus on selected primary data and first-hand documents – this term being understood in the broadest sense of the term as all kinds of texts, images, sounds, and artefacts deemed of interest to the researcher. The articles present the nature and function of these sources, contextualize their production, circulation and uses, and develop theoretical, methodological, ethical or epistemology insights of interest to the author. 

Sources is grounded upon two principles: firstly, most academic journals do not provide enough space for the in-depth presentation and analysis of specific research material; secondly, there is a need to make accessible the materials from which researchers draw to produce ideas and theory. The collection and conservation of these sources will constitute an archive of field research in Africa. The materials used in the articles will be stored in a digital platform for archiving scientific data. The journal is committed to meeting the principles of FAIR dataand following the principles of transparency and good practice for academic publishing.

Special issue: Environmental Knowledge and Nature(s) in Africa: Collecting, Producing and Analysing Research Materials

This issue of the journal Sources would like to place at the centre of reflection all types of objects that have become research materials and have participated and, for some, still participate in the production, transmission and discussion of naturalistic and environmental knowledge in Africa and about Africa. Their analysis makes it possible to elucidate the various, often neglected, forms of co-production of knowledge, starting from the work of identifying, selecting and translating accomplished for European explorers by the local populations who were qualified in some works as “dark companions” (Simpson, 1975, Chrétien, 2005). Cooperation between research assistants and anthropologists and sociologists in colonial Africa in the 1940s-1950s (Schumaker 2001; Lawrance et al., 2006) and current intercontinental collaborations with African scientists can be considered within these forms of knowledge coproduction. Read more about this issue by downloading the following file:



The coordinators of this special issue are Luisa Arango (University of Strasbourg, UMR 7363 SAGE, CEDEJ-Khartoum, MAEDI/USR 3123 CNRS), Émilie Lavie (University of Paris-Diderot, UMR 8586 PRODIG) and Émilie Guitard (CNRS, UMR 8586 PRODIG).

  • 30 November 2019: sending abstracts consisting of a summary of about twenty lines with the provisional title, name(s), contact details and affiliations of the author(s). An e-mail address must also figure. The summary shall include: Information on the nature of the materials treated, their concise description, and elements of contextualisation in relation to the discipline and research question of the article.
  • 16 December 2019: response sent to the author(s) (accepted or rejected)
  • 15 April 2020 2020: sending of the article
  • 15 July 2020: evaluation report sent to the author(s)
  • 1st October 2020: submission of the final versions of the articles
  • 1st February 2021: release of the special issue

Article proposals can be submitted in French, Portuguese or English.

Please note that the word count for paper abstracts is about 7 300 words (including the bibliography, abstract, and keywords) but shorter or longer texts will also be considered. The texts must be submitted in .doc format.

Abstracts are expected no later than November 30, 2019 to:, and

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