The 15th ISOLA Conference will take place from 9th to 12th July 2025 at University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria


Call for papers

Revival and sustainability of oral texts,

artefacts and heritage sites


Technological innovation is an asset for research, understanding, and advancement of African oral traditions and other forms of epistemic engagements. The rich tapestry of African oral literary field includes oral traditions and indigenous knowledge system, festivals, rituals, beliefs, norms, songs, music, dance, skills and crafts, religion, spirituality, philosophies and science. The importance of indigenous knowledge cannot be gainsaid in a contemporary world that is inclined to look back for answers to current crises in various facets of everyday life, from medicine to politics and the climate.


To save our indigenous knowledge system, individuals and corporate stakeholders have been making conscious efforts to arrest the attrition rate of oral sources of Africa, mainly through recording and archiving.  The troubling words of the great Malian griot, Amadou Hampậté Bậ’s at UNESCO in 1960 that, “In Africa, when an old man dies, it’s a library burning,” have continued to impel the written documentation and digital recording of oral texts. However, centuries of material cannot be harvested in a few decades. Existing and emerging challenges include death of the indigenous custodians; neglect of the subject in the context of the onslaught of STEM; the politics of research funding and redefinitions of the field need to be addressed for the access to immense treasures of African indigenous knowledges that have been archived in artefacts, plants, animals, natural landscapes and architectural entities supported and preserved in creative oral encyclopedias.


Against this backdrop, the theme of the 2025 conference of International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA) is the “Revival and sustainability of oral texts, artefacts and heritage sites.”  This theme is timely for not only examining the threat of extinction faced by oral arts that support knowledge of the world, but also for exploiting the opportunities afforded by evolutions in technology towards the preservation and continuities of these epistemes.


The conference is expected to bring together scholars of oral literature and performance; cultural studies and media studies; sociology and anthropology, as well as materials culture, museums and heritage studies, to deliberate on the theme and related issues. Abstracts of individual papers and panels are invited on, but not limited to, the following sub-themes:


  1. The collection and digitization of yet to be documented oral forms across genres.
  2. Performance of festivals and rituals for national and international reconciliation and healing.
  3. Mythmaking and folk cultural centres in urban spaces.
  4. Narratives of heritage and/or ritual sites, buildings, monuments and artifacts for national goals.
  5. Oralities of healing and ethnoconservation of biotic and abiotic factors.
  6. Mystic cults and magico-religious chants, songs, rituals for divination, healing and therapy
  7. Reconfigurations of the oral literary field and data collection tools and methods in fieldwork.
  8.  Technology and advancement in pedagogies in oral literature within cultural hegemonic contexts.
  9.   The role of the new media (both audiovisual and interactive) in the dissemination, transmission and preservation of oral literature or folklore.
  10.  The (re)classification of oral forms concerning the interpolations identified in some oral forms like myths and legends.
  11. 21st century corroborative/confirmative role of science disciplines such as archaeology, geology, astrophysics, biology, embryonic biology as per the authentication of myths and legends particularly in pre-existing oral texts.
  12. Role of technologies of infrared, carbon dating space-satellite imaging, chronology machine in the identification, location and authentication of artifacts and heritage sites.



ISOLA is committed to the promotion of academic excellence. Abstracts of papers and panels should have a well-defined research topic and objective, show familiarity with current research areas, address the theme of the conference and focus on Africa or the African Diaspora. The working languages are English and French. 
Abstracts (300-500 words) including the author's name, institution, email address and a brief biography, should be uploaded in both languages on the conference website:

Deadline for abstract submission: October 21st 2024.  

Notifications of acceptance will be sent from December 18th 2024.

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