2014 Oran, Algeria (May 31-Jun 2, 2014)
(Postponed from 2013) The conference was held in Oran, Algeria on the topic of “Saharan Crossroads: Views from the Desert-Edge,” in collaboration with the CRASC. The conference was part of a series of activities organized by the West African Research Association (WARA) and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS) aimed at strengthening the cultural, artistic and historical links among the peoples living within and across the Sahara Desert. This conference’s theme was “Mapping information flows within and across the Sahara.” Throughout the ages, Africans circulating in Saharan regions engaged in cultural, intellectual, religious and political exchanges. Through oral and scriptural media, and by way of foot, caravan, truck and other traffic, people conveyed information and ideas that transformed and connected societies across distances. The committee is interested in studies focused on Saharan and trans-Saharan exchanges of information and ideas, past and present. Ghardaïa, in the heart of the Mzab region, is a propitious locale to hold this conference. This ethnically and religiously diverse oasis town was once a major center of exchange, and a northern terminus of caravans originating from markets such as Timbuktu, Agadez and Kano.