ASAA 2022 Panel: Africa and Cannabis – Historical Narratives and Contemporary Debates

Cannabis has and continues to play an important role in a number of African societies, not only as an intoxicant but medicine, as a cultural marker, political topic and economic tool. This panel seeks to explore the multiplicity of understandings of cannabis and the role it has played in shaping the development of African societies.

From the condemnatory to the celebratory, there are many narratives about cannabis in African societies. Whether conflicting or supportive, many of the narratives have long and complex histories, in part reflecting the broader forces which have tempered African identities. Used as a tool for the legitimation of oppression, as a rallying symbol for cultural resurgence, a political podium, economic vehicle, or simply as an intoxicant, cannabis has been and continues to be an emotive subject, and a highly topical one. This panel will provide a space for the presentation of research and for discussion of cannabis-related topics in Africa. So as to provide an account of the contemporary that is reflective of the past, the panel’s key focus will be on the influence of history on present-day debates. Themes covered will include the use of cannabis as a justification for legislative oppression or as a symbolic marker of political rebellion, cannabis livelihoods, development and the role cannabis may begin to play in the socio-economic development of communities and regions now and in the future. As such, in exploring the history and meaning of cannabis in Africa, so too do we explore broader themes in contemporary African societies.

Dr Simon Howell (Cape Town Centre of Criminology, University of Cape Town, South Africa),
Dr Gernot Klantschnig (University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom),

Please submit your abstract proposal through the ASAA portal at Submissions from all relevant academic disciplines are welcome. Deadline for submissions is 30 September 2021.

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