Call for Papers: Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa


Clara Carvalho (CEI-Iscte)

Ricardo Falcão (CEI-Iscte)

Isaiete Jabula



Sexual and reproductive rights were explicitly inscribed in human rights instruments during the 1990s. While initially, especially during the 1970s, they were promoted in the framework of health under the banner of reproductive rights, these have been widened considerably and to become symbols of the struggle for individual liberty and rights. Nevertheless, the juridical and political nature of these instruments of international law, translated locally, creates forms of biopolitics that aren’t always aligned with local practices and beliefs, thus finding considerable social and cultural resistance. In West Africa (but also beyond), the social legitimacy of these rights is growingly questioned as new waves of religious and social conservatism try to conquer the public sphere.

This call for papers encompasses the wide field where local and international actors both deploy conflicting and converging discourses about dividing issues such as gender equality, sexual rights, gender-based violence, abortion, planned reproduction, and gender roles.  It also wants to highlight the conundrums of how legislation is enforced, and its implementation financed. A critical approach to these intersections is necessary, especially concerning local activists and changing sociocultural practices and their social histories. Beyond the idioms of mobilisation, the social importance of local definitions of the public and private realms, notions of silence and discretion, and all their gendered forms underline the complexity of the social communication codes around sexuality and reproduction. An overly restrictive vision of politicisation as mobilisation might evaluate certain silences as symptomatic of non-politicization. Still, it has been shown that more complex views of political mobilisation can be considered through the role played by imaginaries and concrete subversive practices that elude social constraints.

In this call for papers, we invite scholars to contribute their valuable research on sexual and reproductive rights in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, focusing particularly on local social dynamics. Your contributions will play a crucial role in widening the scope of the discussions and shaping the discourse on these important issues in West Africa.


Guidelines for Authors:

Contributions should be submitted to the journal’s page on RCAAP ( until 20 June 2023.

Submitted papers must be original and follow specific guidelines, that can be consulted here: .