In this Issue: Arts in West Africa
2015-2016 Newsletter This edition of the WARA newsletter presents recent directions in the growing scholarship in the arts as expressed through the disciplinary diversity of the authors of the lead articles contained in the issue. Each conceptualizes the aesthetic particularity of the art world in West and northwest Africa and provides rich analyses of its local forms and ever changing dynamism as a discipline that is in constant dialogue with urban, rural environment and global reach. In this issue, the theme of constant change and dynamism, on both on local and global levels, is expressed from Cape Verde to Ghana, through Senegal to Morocco. Joanna Grabski, who theorizes Dakar as an “art world city” illustrates this theme by examining its creative local economy, its urban environment and most importantly interplay with globalized art world. Sara Stranovsky looks at Raiz di Polon, a Cape Verdean dance theater company, and its ability to use contemporary dance to unite many of the island’s fractured identities, local languages, and class lines. Lea Woods’ article on Ghanaian Fantasy Coffins in New Hampshire demonstrates the global reach of this craft. Cynthia Becker uses visual clues tied to Bambara identity, gnaoua and its musical performance and brings historical depth to her analysis of the politics belying identity construction, especially among the Tamazight-speaking population of settled nomads in Southeastern Morocco. By using Bambara visual clues to assert representation of Africanness among Ismkhan, this piece brings attention to how untold legacies of the trans-Saharan slave trade are expressed. This issue also includes a profile of Yelimane Fall, the Senegalese artist and social activist, who is internationally renowned for his exquisite work on Senegalese Calligraphy.
From the Roots of the Tree to the National Ballet: Updates and Challenges by Dr. Šara Stranovsky In 2012, I conducted research in Praia Cabo Verde with the help of a pre-doctoral fellowship from WARA. Cabo Verde’s location at the cultural and geographic crossroads between Europe, West Africa, and the Americas, provided an ideal place to examine creolization through dance theater. By thinking of dance as a language and using linguistic ideas of cultural borrowing and creation, I called this process, “corporeal creolization.” Since completing my research and dissertation in 2012 and working in the field of community engagement, I have had time to reflect upon my research and plan for the next stages in my research. RAIZ DI POLON My dissertation was about the nation’s primary contemporary dance theater company, Raiz di Polon, led by Cabo Verdean choreographer Mano Preto. Juggling financial constraints, inter -island cultural conflicts, and a constant stream of various dance technique influences, the company has risen to become a recognizable avant-guard group that blends island-specific dances from the eclectic archipelago with other forms of contemporary dance. What makes Raiz di Polon’s work such a strong case study for research related to creolization, dance, African history, and globalization, is how the group’s interpretation of contemporary dance seemed to resolve and
Continued on page 30
— The Newsletter Committee West African Research Association
Inside this Issue:
Feature Articles From the Roots of the Tree to the National Ballet: Updates and Challenges 1 WARA Lifetime Member, Bolaji Campbell 6 Researching and Writing Art World City 10 Calligraphie Senegalaise : Art et Communication 11 Mining Beauty 13 Visualizing Bambara Identity North of the Sahara 15 Fantasy Coffins: A Growing Tradition in Ghana comes to New Hampshire 18
President Wendy Wilson-Fall LaFayette College
News From WARA and WARC From Outgoing Board President Youngstedt From Incoming Board President Wilson-Fall From WARA Director Welcoming WARA’s Associate Director, From WARC Director Recent Highlights from WARC Ideas Matter: A New Doctoral Fellowship Program ACPR ‘s Managing Editor, Ilmari Kaihko. Mamadou Ba Retires from WARC service 2016 WARA Grantee Announcements 2016 Saharan Crossroads Fellows WARA 2016 ASA Panel Jamaican Maroon Cultural Group 2US Tour
Associate Director Cynthia O. Ezeani
From Our Fellows Fall Elections in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire Perceptions of Voter Education Programs before the 2015 Presidential Election, Cote d’Ivoire Development of Porous Ceramic Honeycomb from Kaolinite Clay for Automobile Exhaust Systems Land Privatization and Social Relations in Burkina Faso L’ONU et la Reconstruction des Etats de l’Afrique de L’ouest Affectes par des Conflits Armes internes Party Formation, Loyalty, and Democracy in Senegal Modeling Household Demand for Major Agricultural Food Commodities in Haut-Bassins, Burkina Faso Competing and Collaborating Over Environmental Space Hierarchies of suffering and resilience: Travesti in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire Recherche de genes de molecules bioactives a partir de souches bacteriennes
Vice President Ismail Rashid Vassar College U.S. Director Jennifer Yanco Boston University
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WARC Director Ousmane Sene Universite Cheikh Anta Diop Contact Information WARA African Studies Center Boston University 232 Bay State Road Boston, MA 02215 Tel: 617-353-8902 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WARC B.P. 5456 (Fann-Residence) Rue E x Leon G. Damas Dakar, Senegal Tel: (221)865-22-77 Email: email@example.com
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This newsletter is published twice a year by the West African Research Association with the support of the African Studies Center and the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University. It is distributed to all members and associates of WARA. Material for publication in upcoming newsletters should be submitted to the editor at the WARA email address above. Please send an electronic version of your submission. WARA has the right to reject items that do not comply with the goals and purposes of the organization and reserves the right to edit and/or modify any submissions for content, format or length. Opinions expressed in published articles, however, belong solely to the author(s).
2016 WARA Undergraduate Winning Papers Summer Internship in Dakar—FDEA Saharan Crossroads Fellow Reports (2013) Afis A. Oladosu Safa ben Saad Isabella Alexander
New Publications Upcoming Events
WARA Board & Officers WARA Institutional Members
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West African Research Association
From Outgoing & Incoming WARA Board Presidents WARA is currently undergoing significant governance transitions that position us to keep moving forward in positive directions for years to come. However, we have managed to maintain a great deal of historical continuity at the same time. Stephanie Guirand has stepped down as Assistant Director to enter graduate school at Boston College this fall. Stephanie's creative ideas and fantastic work ethic as Assistant Director were very valuable assets to WARA and we will miss her. We wish her the best, and hope that you will thank her for her service to WARA. I am very pleased to welcome Cynthia Ezeani as our new Associate Director. Cynthia served admirably as the Board Treasurer for the past year. She holds degrees in Law from the Nigerian Law School and in Banking and Financial Law from the Boston University School of Law, and brings significant non-profit management and fundraising experience to the position. I am very pleased to announce that WARA/WARC will collaborate with the American Anthropological Association, the African Studies Association, and CODESRIA to host a conference on “Innovation, Transformation, and Sustainable Futures in Africa” in Dakar from June 1-3, 2016. I thank all our members and supporters who contributed to WARA during this year’s Giving Common Challenge. Please plan now to include WARA in your annual giving. Funds raised through the Giving Common help make it possible for WARA to continue its support to scholars, its outreach activities, documentation work, and other critical activities. This kind of support of WARA becomes increasingly more important as our traditional sources of funding diminish. The WARA Executive Committee held a very productive midyear meeting in May at Boston University, where Jennifer Yanco, Executive Director of WARA, graciously hosted us. We are currently planning a full-day Board of Directors Meeting for November 18, the day before the ASA annual meeting begins. I encourage all current and prospective members to attend our annual General Membership Meeting and Reception on Friday, November 20 from 9:00 to 11:00 pm at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. (Please see the final ASA Program for the meeting room.) The meeting provides a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our achievements, reconnect with one another, and share ideas about future WARA initiatives. Finally, I encourage you to attend this year’s WARA-sponsored Roundtable, V-B-1: Charlie Hebdo in Niger: Between AQIM and Boko Haram, on Friday, November 20 from 8:30 to 10:15 am. (Please see the final ASA Program for the meeting room.) Scott M. Youngstedt WARA President, Outgoing
West African Research Association
I am glad to extend my greetings to everyone as I take on the position of WARA President following the excellent leadership of Scott Youngstedt. This is a very exciting time in African Studies, it is a field that is expanding and producing more high quality research on Africa than ever before. WARA is therefore a critical resource for all of us. Our organization provides an institutional link and anchor for all who seek to share and produce knowledge and critical analysis about the West African region. Our association has grown quickly and decisively, and the great challenge facing us is to be able to reflect meaningfully on what we want our association to look like over the years to come; and how it will serve future and upcoming scholars of West Africa. We have managed to modestly expand our support to West African scholars, and have not sacrificed our interest in scholars of the various African diasporas that are symbols of both the progress and the problems of Africa in the 21st century. We continue to support conferences, seminars, new research and public symposia at a time when financial resources in our field are challenged and even shrinking. Our organization continues its role in fostering American interest and f intellectual engagement with issues concerning West Africa, and we have also stepped up during difficult times such as the recent Ebola crises. We should all be proud of the work that we have accomplished and that we have set for ourselves in the future. Some major WARA activities include the Saharan Crossroads Initiative, with its fellowship program and ongoing conferences.—the next being planned for 2017 in Mauritania.. In September WARA is co-hosting, with the University of Ibadan, a symposium featuring former WARC Travel grantees This event is being organized with former WARC Travel grantee and head of UI International Programs, Professor Oluwatoyin Odeku. We hope this will be the first of a series of activities involving WARA awardees resident in West Africa. Excitement is mounting for the ASA/AAA conference to be held in Dakar in June of this year, for which WARA/WARC, along with CODESRIA, is an active collaborating institution. The WARA Board Executive committee will meet in April to follow up on the progress of these activities and to consider some of the future challenges that we must face as well as new opportunities that we strive to be prepared for! I wish all a rewarding and productive spring semester, and look forward to seeing you at various venues, most particularly at the ASA this fall. We happily anticipate the usual strong representation of WARA members at the African Studies Wendy Wilson-Fall WARA President
News From WARA and WARC Headquarters From the WARA Headquarters A Productive Year! This year has been a busy and productive one for WARA/WARC. I continue to be impressed by the brilliance and generosity of our membership, and your willingness to share your work and to serve the association in ways that multiply the impact of our scholarship. I would like to say thank you to each of you for the special gifts you bring to WARA; our vibrancy as an association is a tribute to your engagement. There have been changes at the WARA office this year; in the fall, Stephanie Guirand stepped down from her position as Assistant Director. I am enormously grateful for her several years of service; she made so many contributions to WARA, it would be hard to enumerate all of them. I am sure that you all join me in wishing her well as she moves towards graduate school. As Stephanie took her leave, we were delighted to welcome Cynthia Ezeani, who came on in October as WARA’s new Associate Director. She has already put in place a number of new procedures, as well as mastering the plethora of tasks that go into our job of keeping WARA alive and well. This year, WARA fellowship programs , to support the work of 18 scholars (see page 7 for lists of this year’s fellows). And, thanks to generous funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, we have, in collaboration with AIMS, awarded eight Saharan Crossroads Fellowships this year. (see page 17.) I am pleased to announce that WARA is collaborating with The MasterCard Foundation to support young West African scholars through the Ideas Matter Doctoral Fellowship Program. This new program will support the research of West African doctoral students who are studying at institutions in the region. The focus will be on women, technology and entrepreneurship. As always, WARA had a major presence at the 2015 ASA meetings and we will be hosting a roundtable, Drug Trafficking and its Impact on the State and Society in West Africa” at the upcoming 2016 meetings in D.C. We will also be streaming live from WARC a panel on African integration.
Join Us in Welcoming Cynthia O. Ezeani, WARA’s New Associate Director Cynthia O. Ezeani, WARA’s new Associate Director for Programs and Development, is no stranger to WARA. Back in 2013, Cynthia put her legal expertise to work in reviewing the WARA ByLaws. And most recently, in 2014-2015, she served as WARA Board Treasurer. We are thrilled now to welcome her in her new capacity as Associate Director and look forward to her leadership as WARA moves forward with its mission of promoting research and the production of knowledge on West Africa and the diaspora. Cynthia is an alumna of the BU School of Law, where she earned her Masters in International Banking and Finance Law (LLM) in 2013. More recently, in 2015, she was awarded a Masters in Public Policy (MPP) from Simmons College, Boston. Trained as a lawyer at the Nigerian Law School in Abuja, she practiced law in Nigeria for seven years. She also served as a nonprofit manager in business compliance and grantee management at Fate Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria’s foremost nonprofit in enterprise development. While at BU, she was an Associate at the Boston University Center for Finance, Law and Policy. There she collaborated with scholars in Africa on gathering research and publications on economic development matters. Cynthia brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the ASC community. She has carried out extensive research work in developmental finance and economic development in developing economies—especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, has worked in the nonprofit sector both in Nigeria and here in the US, and has a keen interest in expanding WARA’s capacity to promote research and knowledge production in and on West Africa and the diaspora. Cynthia lives in Medford with her husband and children and is a founding member of the Medford School Volunteers (MSV).
For Black History Month, WARA organized a dialogue, “Blackness and the Changing Face of the African Diaspora in the US” between anthropologist Wendy Wilson Fall and Trina Jackson, a Boston area activist. The dialogue, funded through a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, can be viewed on WARA’s youtube channel. Wishing everyone a good end of semester and a summer that is both restful and productive! Jennifer Yanco WARA US Director
West African Research Association
News From WARA and WARC Headquarters From the WARC Director This year's celebrations of Black History Month at WARC featured several well-attended public lectures and films , as well as an international symposium on Race, Racism and the Construction of Black Modernities (see below). A relative new comer to WARC is the book club "We Read for You", which regularly draws a crowd of avid readers to the Center. Among the books recently discussed was Mame Coumba Ndiaye’s biography of her mother, Noma Award winner and author of the celebrated novel So Long a Letter, Mariama Ba. The publication is titled Mariama Ba ou les Allees d'un Destin(NEAS, Dakar, 2007) The WARC lecture series remains very active, with recent events drawing up to 200 people. A round table on the current state of affairs in Senegalese higher education—and more broadly, higher education in Africa—was attended by academics, parent-teacher organisations, the local media and the public. The issue of strikes is a high priority now in many African countries which are regularly beset by student and faculty walk-outs. This roundtable included professors Boubacar Barry, Iba der Thiam and key actors from government circles such as former Minister of Education Kalidou Diallo and former minister of work and social dialogue, Mrs Innocence Ntap, currently entrusted with the High Council in charge of promoting labor dialogue and concertation. Presently, WARC is working with a number of local organisations and civil society institutions on the consolidation of a unified and strategic framework on Islam and inter-religious dialogue in Senegal and the sub-region. This initiative brings together young Muslim intellectuals and religious leaders. Its objective is to contribute to a better understanding of armed fundamentalism and find ways and means of peacefully countering such adverse developments, particularly in the West African sub-region. WARC is working closely with CODESRIA in preparation for the ASA/AAA conference slated to take place in Dakar June 1-4. At the same time, we are busy preparing to welcome several summer study tours including those of South Dakota State University, the State University of New York at Geneseo, Boston University’s Fulbright Seminar Abroad, and others. WARC is also host to a number of committees including those preparing the upcoming Panafricanist Congress as well as the team in charge of preparing the 50th anniversary of the first World Festival of Negro Arts scheduled to take place in Dakar in November 2016. Ousmane Sene WARC Director
Race, Racism and the Construction of Black Modernities
Islam and Peace in Senegal: Perspectives offered by Sufi Traditions
This symposium, which took place February 7-12, was a partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and the IFAN at Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) and serves as yet another illustration of WARA/WARC's role as a bridge for the promotion of academic and cultural cooperation between West African and US learning and cultural institutions.
This round table at WARC opened on March 17th. A joint initiative of the Institute of African Studies and the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life (both at Columbia University), the Majaliss Association in Senegal, and WARC, it brought together 33 participants, including five faculty from Columbia University, academic colleagues from Senegal, researchers affiliated with WARC, representatives of the major Muslim brotherhoods, and other religious specialists.
Over three days and in three different venues (WARC, UCAD and IFAN), in-depth presentations were made and insightful discussions conducted over various topics centering on race, race relations and the advancement of black communities. Eminent scholars from the US and West Africa provided food for thought to the dozens of attendees. Featured speaker was Professor Michael Blakey (Anthropology), of William and Mary College, Director of the Institute for Historical Biology and Founder of the African Burial Ground in New York City. Other international scholars participating included Alain Froment, Jemima Pierre, Ibrahima Thiaw, Deborah Mack, Dean Rehberger, Michael Green, and Francois Richard. This symposium was part of a broad collaboration between NMAAHC, IFAN and WARC that involves a number of projects. West African Research Association
The group discussed current conflictual developments across the world—and particularly in West Africa. The group explored strategies for countering such trends, strategies based on religious teachings on peaceful cohabitation which are the foundation of religious coexistence in many West African countries and in Senegal in particular. This was followed by a meeting of local stakeholders that focused on working together to create a unified operational and strategic framework to consolidate inter-religious dialogue and religion-based conflict resolution in Senegal. Prior to the session at WARC, roundtable participants visited the Muslim holy cities of Touba and Tivaouane and attended a high-level panel on Islam & Peace chaired by the Senegalese Prime Minister .
Spotlight on WARA Lifetime Members
Honoring Bolaji Campbell For this issue on the Arts, we honor WARA Lifetime Member, Professor Bolaji Campbell. Bolaji Campbell is Professor and Department Head in History of Art and Visual Culture Department at the Rhode Island School of Design. Campbell holds a PhD in art history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and MFA and BA degrees in fine arts from the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife) in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He has taught at Obafemi Awolowo University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the College of Charleston in South Carolina. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Sylvia and Pamela Coleman Fellowship, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Richard A. Horovitz Professional Development Fund Fellowship, Institute of International Education; and a Postdoctoral Fellowship, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. Campbell is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in America, Nigerian Artists: A Who’s Who and Bibliography (Smithsonian Institution), L’Art Africain Contemporain, Guidebook to Contemporary African Art (Paris). He has published numerous essays book chapters. His most recent work is a book entitled Painting for the Gods: Art and Aesthetics of Yoruba Religious Murals (Africa World Press, 2008).
The first seminar paper I wrote in 1986 as a Graduate student was on Oluorogbo Shrine Painting at the then-University of Ife, Nigeria. Created by non-literate women married into the Oluorogbo lineage, the paintings were not just sacred obligations required of the women, but were indeed a ritualized part of their devotional activities for healing, empowerment and transformation. Although I had witnessed some aspect of this fascinating traditional art of the mural on the walls of my maternal ancestral home in Ilesa, I never until that moment considered this genre of traditional painting within the realm of “high” art tradition. Indeed, my Western exposure and academic training within the postcolonial environment of Yoruba society had sufficiently alienated me from the beauty of this fascinating traditional art. My attitude was conditioned by a certain degree of “inferiority complex” rooted in a postcolonial psyche of alienation and arrogance. Prior to that singular encounter, I never considered indigenous painting as of any significance compared to paintings made with Western pigments on the easel. In my estimation then, I considered paintings made with indigenous pigments not worthy of scholarly inquiry. But that singular Graduate seminar paper was not just pivotal in changing not only the course of my career but it essentially opened a new frontier of academic inquiry and scholarly engagement that was transformational in shaping the direction of my professional career. For about three decades, I have attempted to explore the history, meaning, nuances and symbolism of Orisa painting in learned academic journals, and also as book chapters. The culmination of this interest and 6
research resulted into a single authored book (Painting for the Gods: Art and Aesthetics of Yoruba Religious Murals, 2008), which was in part a revision of my Ph.D. dissertation submitted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001. Beyond the abiding interest in the multivalent dimensions of Orisa Paintings, much of my scholarly activities have also focused on African Diaspora art and visual culture. I have contributed essays engaging such thematic issues as identity, representation, and female empowerment in the broad spectrum of the art of the Black Diaspora. In 2003, I published “Altars of Memory and Identity: the art of Sonya Clark” in Marvel of the African World: African Cultural Patrimony, New World Connection, and Identity, in which I examined how Sonya Clark, a relatively young and prolific African American artist applies her unique headdresses to confront several challenging issues in the reconstruction of identity in the new world. Similarly, I published “Of Storytelling and the Slippery medium of clay: Babette Wainwright’s Image of the Woman at the Diasporic Crossroads” (2007) in the maiden edition of the International Journal, African and Black Diaspora. In that essay, I further interrogated the peculiar condition of the marginalized woman of color as a thematic preoccupation in the ceramic sculptures of Babette Wainwright, the HaitianAmerican artist, writer and psychotherapist. Further, I examined how the 12th century brass image of Olokun, Yoruba goddess of the ocean was reconfigured in Brazil as Zumbi, the powerful image and symbol of psychological and political resistance against Portuguese and Dutch oppression during the era of the plantation economy in my essay “Reinventing Identities in the New World: OriOlokun as Zumbi dos Palmares” which appeared in The AfroBrazilian Mind: Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Literary and Cultural Criticism, (2007). I argued that today, Ori Olokun is not just Zumbi reincarnated, but his image has become the legitimate symbol epitomizing the history and struggle of the dynamic relationship of power, and in the construction of modern black Brazilian identity today. While in Eegun Ogun: War Masquerades in Ibadan in the Era of Modernization, (a recently published essay in African Arts journal), I explored ways in which masquerading is used as a weapon of social control through military aggression and conventional warfare. In spite of its hallowed connection to ancestral veneration, Egungun was an important cultural phenomenon purposefully deployed by the Oyo-Yoruba for the prosecution of the wars of the 19th century. Secondly, I analyzed the costumes of the masked performers and argued that those costumes constitute explicit sources of spiritual powers specifically devised as military armors for the physical and psychological protection of their users. The essay thus represents a significant contribution to the growing body of literature on a tiny but neglected aspect of Yoruba visual culture, hitherto unexamined in the annals of Yoruba social and cultural history. As a practicing artist, my creative work continues to be inspired by my research and scholarly interests.
West African Research Association
2016 WARA Grantees CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF OUR FELLOWS! Post-doctoral Fellows Pre-doctoral Fellows Maria Leichtman (Michigan State University) “The NGO James Blackwell (Michigan State University) for research in -ization of Islamic Futures: Religion, Transnationalism, Nigeria “Igbo Migration, Entrepreneurship and the and Economic Development in Senegal” Creation of the ‘Igbo Scare’ in British Southern Cameroons, 1920-1970” Allison Grossman (University of California Berkeley) for Oluwakemi Balogun (University of Oregon) “Beauty research in Guinea “Citizen Perceptions and State Diplomacy: Culture, Markets, and Politics in the Legitimacy after the Ebola Crisis in Guinea” Nigerian Beauty Pageant Industry” Oluwakayinsola Obayan (Cornell University) for research in Nigeria “In Search of the Nigerian Dream: Diaspora Intern Transnational Migrants and the Politics of Home” Allison Backman (Boston University, School of Social Anne Spear (University of Maryland) for research in Burkina Work) for internship at GOAL Global in Sierra Leone Faso “Assessing the Impact of Teacher Training as an for the purpose of working with Ebola survivors in Intervention to Gender Inequalities” reintegrating into their communities. Emily Stratton (Indiana University) for research in Ghana “The Rise of the “One Man” Churches in Urban Ghana: Residency Fellow Of Money, Masculinity, and Upward Social Mobility” Mohamed Diagayete (Institut des Hautes Etudes et de Recherches Islamiques Ahmed Baba) to work on WARC Library Fellow Islamic manuscripts from Western Sahara at the Katrina Spencer (University of Illinois—Urbana University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign Champaign) Travel Grantees Fall competition Komivi Dossa (Benin) Ph.D candidate, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop. Mr. Dossa is working on sesame, which plays an important part in the rural people’s lives in West Africa. His research will take him to the University of Yaounde, where he will work with colleagues on the physiological and enzymatic mechanisms of drought resistance in sesame. Keita Ibrahim (Burkina Faso) Ph.D candidate in Biotechnology Microbian and Cellular Biology at the University of Ouagadougou. Mr. Ibrahim e is working on indigenous yeasts and metaboliites generated by the so-called “Rabile” which is the dregs of the local beer named “Dolo”. He will travel to the University of Bamako in Mali for his research. Yao Bernard Koffi (Cote d’Ivoire) Ph.D candidate in agroecology at Universite Nangui-Abrogoua-Abidjan. Mr. Koffi’s specific area of research in the microbian community of the soils fertilized by animal dejections and their potential for a sustainable production of rice and vegetables. He will travel to Dakar, Senegal, to work with colleagues at UCAD. Idowu Omowumi Omudunni (Nigeria) Ph.D candidate at Eketi State University in Nigeria. Ms. Idowu is working on Women, Environment Degradation and Food Security, and is examining the case of Oloibiri Community of Bayelsa State, Nigeria, where she will be conducting her research. She is looking at the connection between oil production, the degradation of the environment and food insecurity. Spring competition Chinedu Joseph (Nigeria) Master’s student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Mr. Chinedu’s project is entitled “Antimalarial Properties of Selected Commercially Available Herbal Preparations in Nigeria”. He will travel to Ghana to work with eminent professors in his field. Nikiema Muhamadi (Bukina Faso) Mr. Nikiema is a doctoral student at UFR/SVT Universite de Ouagadougou. His research project is on the methanization of municipal waste. He will travel to Benin to work with specialists on this technology. Ottoitobiga Cecile Harmonie (Burkina Faso). Ms. Ottoitobiga is a doctoral student at the University of Ouagadougou. Her research is on irrigated rice production and the reduction and control of toxic ferrous and sulphuric elements; fertilization, and varietal rice culture. She will travel to Benin to conduct her research with colleagues there. Soro Thionhoukele Drissa (Cote d’Ivoire). Mr. Soro is a Master’s student at the University Nangui Abrogoua. His project is concerned with reforestation efforts and will examine spatio-temporal aspects of brush fires and their relation to vegetation and bio-diversity in the savanah zones of Cote d’Ivoire and Togo. He will travel to Togo for his research. We would like to thank our fellowship committees for their conscientious work in reviewing applications and selecting awardees. We would also like to acknowledge the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau of the US State Department for the generous funding that supports WARA’s fellowship programs, and the US Department of Education for its support of the Diaspora Graduate Internship.
West African Research Association
Updates CALL FOR APPLICATIONS Ideas Matter Doctoral Fellowships for West Africa: Investing in the future of scholarship Deadline for applications: July 30, 2016 The West African Research Association (WARA), in collaboration with The MasterCard Foundation, is pleased to announce support for young West African scholars through its new Ideas Matter Doctoral Fellowship program. This program reflects our joint commitment to increasing opportunities for emerging West African scholars, people who are transforming ideas into active solutions to the challenges facing the region and the world at large. In 2016, the Ideas Matter Doctoral Fellowship program will award three doctoral research grants of $4,000 each. In addition to a 1500 word proposal, budget, CV, two letters of recommendation, applicants must submit a statement explaining how their research will contribute to meeting critical needs on the continent. All applications must be submitted online. The Ideas Matter Doctoral Fellowship is open to doctoral students under age 35 who are based in West African institutions of higher education, for research on the continent. Priority will be given to research projects focusing on women, technology and entrepreneurship. West Africa, like other parts of the world, is rich in intellectual resources. Universities are home to scholarly communities of scientists, historians, artists, and social scientists. Young scholars in the region are carrying out innovative, cutting edge research in agriculture, technology, the humanities, and a wide range of other fields. They are poised to deliver innovative solutions to challenges posed by the changing climate, demographic shifts, and cultural transformations that mark our times. The Ideas Matter Doctoral Fellowship program will support the research initiatives of young scholars. All applications must be submitted through the online application.
Keeping WARC Safe over the Years: Security Staff Mamadou Bah Retires
ACPR Has a New Managing Editor!
Mr. Ba joined WARC in the mid 90's. Along with Abdoulaye Niang and a couple of other staff members, Ba was among the very first staffers of the West African Research Center after its offices were moved from downtown to its current location in Fann-Residence.
Please join us in welcoming the new Managing Editor of African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review, Ilmari Kaihko. Mr. Kaihko began his PhD studies in January 2012 at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, with funding from the Swedish Defense University and the Nordic Africa Institute.
Many WARC directors will remember Ba, especially Professor Wendy Wilson-Fall who always took great care and interest in the comfort and working conditions of Ba and the other security staff.
His dissertation investigates military organizations that fought in the Liberian civil wars (1989-1996 and 19992003), and is informed by a total of ten months of ethnographic fieldwork in Liberia during 2012-2013. This fieldwork counts to his two years of field experience from the fields of development aid, military and research, in East, Central and West Africa.
Mr. Ba is originally from the Republic of Guinea , and will take his retirement with family in the Fatick region.
Ilmariâ€™s main research interests revolve around the questions of how force is constituted, controlled and employed.
For decades, security staff member, Mr. Mamadou Ba has been a familiar presence at WARC, always there to ensure and guarantee the safety and security of visitors as well as the Center's assets. WARA and WARC staff, visitors and friends are deeply grateful for Mr. Baâ€™s long and faithful service to the center.
West African Research Association
Fall 2015 Elections—Guinee et Cote d’Ivoire September Elections in Guinée La campagne electorale a ete lance le 11 Septembre 2015 en Guinee, Mais la ville resta plutot calme ce n'est qu'une semaine apres en sentais le parti au pouvoir faire la campagne a Conakry et a l'interieur du pays, les panneaux publicitaires, les affiches, toute la ville etais devenu jaune aux couleurs du parti au pouvoir, ce n'est que vers la fin que les autres partis politiques se sont jetes a l'eau ,mais on pouvait remarquer le manque d'engouement comme celui de 2010 , ils ont limites les depenses pas assez d'affiches, de panneaux, de t-shirt distribue cette annee. Il faut souligner la surprise, l'arrivee d'une femme qui n'etait pas connu sur l’arene politique Marie Madeleine Valery Dioubate qui sera avec les sept leaders politique pour la course au fauteuil presidentiel. En tant que Jeune leader du YALI 2015 ,je suis passee dans des emissions radios ,j'ai participe a une video qui passait tout les jours avant les elections pour sensibiliser la population ,mon intervention s'adressait principalement aux jeunes afin qu'ils observent la non violence pendant et apres les elections .C'est dans cette meme optique, que les Femmes du Cadre de Concertation des filles/ femmes des partis politiques de Guinee et d'Actions des Femmes, soucieuses de la quietude sociale et de la preservation de la paix en Guinee, ont fait une declaration en Lançant un appel a l'ensemble de la classe politique et a tous les acteurs impliques dans le processus electoral, de privilegier la paix, gage certain de la quietude sociale. Ma participation aux DAART m'a permis de renforcer mes capacites, la confiance que les gens ont de moi, mais aussi d'etre selectionne au Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leader Initiative (YALI 2015),depuis ces participations je me sens tenu de contribuer pour le developpement de mon pays. Fatima Camara Former DAART Fellow firstname.lastname@example.org _____________________________________________________________________________
L’Activisme d’un Jeune Fellow pour une Election Apaisee en Cote d’Ivoire Le dimanche 25 Octobre dernier, la Cote d’ivoire etait appelee aux urnes pour choisir son nouveau president. Ce scrutin a particulierement suscite beaucoup d’interet et de mobilisation du fait de l’extreme sensibilite qu’impose plus d’une decennie de crise post electorale a la Cote d’ivoire. Alors que la reconciliation nationale amorcee par le president sortant et candidat a sa propre succession reste un vaste chantier inacheve et que des sentiments de colere, de mefiance et de haine continuent d’animer les cœurs, la grande inquietude des communautes nationale et internationale etait bien que quelques manœuvres passionnees et trop empreintes d’opiniatrete des candidats a la magistrature supreme finissent par raviver les plaies a peine refermees et par susciter de nouveau un esprit vindicatif chez les ivoiriens et ivoiriennes, ce qui aurait pour consequence de basculer le pays dans une nouvelle crise politico-militaire. Pendant la periode preelectorale, force a ete de constater le developpement de plusieurs initiatives visant a sensibiliser les populations ivoiriennes au choix de la tolerance, de responsabilite et de patriotisme afin d’eviter au pays un nouvel aneantissement de sa cohesion sociale. C’est dans cette dynamique de promouvoir un climat apaise pour une election inclusive et democratique reussie que les efforts de M. Evariste AOHOUI, fellow du Dakar American Applied Research Training (DAART) se sont inscrits. En qualite du President du Reseau des Entrepreneurs Sociaux de Cote d’Ivoire (RESCI), M. AOHOUI a parcouru plusieurs regions du pays pour engager un dialogue franc avec des jeunes et inviter ceux-ci a faire preuve d’une maturite de conduite dediee uniquement a la restauration de la paix et de la democratie en Cote d’Ivoire. A Abidjan, la capitale de la Cote d’ivoire, M. AOHOUI a pris une part active au sein du Youth Council de l’Ambassade des Etats-Unis pour l’organisation de conferences consacrees a une election transparente et apaisee en Cote d’Ivoire. Les jeunes, les organisations de la societe civile, les partis politiques et bien d’autres acteurs de la vie sociale ont pu etre mobilises autour d’une table pour exprimer la volonte collective d’aller a une election qui ne souffre qu’aucune irregularite. L’activisme effrene de M. Aohoui pour la construction d’une nation democratique ivoirienne plus forte lui a ete inspire tant par le projet DAART, point d’encrage des valeurs de citoyennete et breviaire de civisme pour les jeunes leaders ouest africains que par des modeles de leadership senegalais et burkinabe qu’il a eu la chance de cotoyer ces dernieres annees. La reussite de l’election en Cote d’Ivoire demontre bien que le pays est definitivement engage dans les voies d’une democratie vraie, fondement de stabilite socio-economique et de developpement durable. Et M. Aohoui s’en rejoui fort bien. Evariste Aohoui, Former DAART Fellow President PARO-CI, President RESCI email@example.com West African Research Association
Arts in West Africa The theme of this issue of the WARA newsletter is Arts in West Africa. It is a huge topic and one that could fill many newsletters. We are pleased to have a number of articles from our members and friends that provide a sampling of the rich arts landscape of the region, including visual and performing arts. Joanna Grabski (Denison University) reports on the Dakar art scene, Yelimane Fall writes about his work as a calligrapher and community activist and the ways in which the arts , and calligraphy in particular, contributes to spiritual health and well-being. In her article, former Saharan Crossroads fellow Amanda Gilvin (Mount Holyoke College) presents a history of the Musee Nationale in Niger—a museum that serves as vibrant public space as well as a repository for tradition and a space for the promotion of traditional crafts. And we are delighted to feature an article on Fantasy Coffins in Ghana, by Lea Woods of the University of New Hampshire.
Researching and Writing Art World City Joanna Grabski, September 14, 2015
Dakar-based artists participate heartily in the art scene of their city. The productive interlacing of these two geo-spatial
In 1998 I went to Dakar for the first time to undertake a year of doctoral research on artists and contemporary art. In the seventeen years since that first visit, Dakar has come to be widely recognized as one of the African continent’s premier sites for contemporary art and a critical node in an everglobalizing art world. Dakar is home to several dozen talented artists who exhibit and sell their work locally and beyond. Not only do these artists live in Dakar and make work about the city they call home, they also participate in sites that lace their careers far beyond their home city. They participate in international workshops, residencies, and gallery exhibitions. They sell their work to all sorts of globally connected individuals—employees of NGOs, embassies, and corporations; art amateurs and professionals; and tourists and travelers from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The city’s animation artistique is impressive. In addition to a calendar filled with art exhibitions and cultural events, Dakar hosts the Dak’Art Biennale, the continent’s longest running biannual exhibition dedicated to the arts of Africa and its Diaspora. The Biennale has been an important context of entree for many art world travelers to learn about the city’s dynamic art scene. Like other sites associated with art world globalization, the Dak’Art Biennale has had significant implications for artists in Dakar and Africa more generally. Whereas in the 1990s, the participation of Dakar-based artists
in global art world platforms in other cities in Africa, Europe, and North America might be described as emergent at best, many more artists from Dakar have been represented in blockbuster international exhibitions and high profile biennales outside of Dakar in the past years. At the same time, 10
spheres—Dakar’s art scene and platforms designated as part of the global art world—is the subject of my forthcoming book, Art World City: The Creative Economy of Artists and Urban Life in Dakar (Indiana University Press). The research for this book builds on interviews and participation in the city’s art scene during an arc of seventeen years (1998-2015). My work centers Dakar as the primary site where artists work, exhibit, and where they interact with collectors and art world brokers. By focusing on the relationship between artistic production and Dakar’s urban environment, my research posits artistic projects in Dakar as necessarily urban projects productive and expressive of the city’s resources, possibilities, and connections. In Dakar, many artists look to the city for subjects, materials, and inspiration. At the same time, artistic practices and art exhibitions in platforms such as the Dak’Art Biennale are mediated and constructed by their relationship to the processes and networks constituting their city, especially the globalization of the art world and the “worlding” of cities. Focusing on the art scene in the city and the city in the global art world, Art World City examines how and why the urban and global intersect in Dakar. My central assertion is that the city’s art scene emerges from and is shaped by the opportunities of urban life. This means that Dakar’s urban status also makes its global intersections possible, creating the conditions that bring artists and their propositions into conversations with other art scenes and urban centers. Several sites associated with artistic p.roduction, exhibition, and sale in Dakar are critical to mediating local urban and global art worlds. They include
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Arts in West Africa Calligraphie Senegalaise : Art et Communication Yelimane Fall Je m’appelle Yelimane FALL, mon nom d’artiste est Messager de la Foi, ma devise est : Foi, Droiture, savoir. Ma specialite dans les arts, c’est la calligraphie. Je travaille sur les 28 lettres de l’alphabet arabe, en essayant de mettre en valeur leur cote scientifique afin de procurer a l’humanite toute en entiere une nouvelle pedagogie de la communication et un outil d’integration qui lui permette d’avoir une bonne comprehension des manuscrits et des textes sacres. Ma quete dans ce sens est perpetuelle, c’est ce qui me pousse a la perfection sur les traces de la lettre arabe. Elle est originaire d’Arabie Saoudite, d’ou elle est partie ; il y’a bien longtemps. Elle a emprunte la rive droite de la Mediterranee grace a la conquete islamique. Des caravaniers maghrebins par le Sahara ; l’ont introduite au Senegal, il y’a de cela dix siecles et plus. La calligraphie est le parent pauvre des n’existe aucune ecole qui l’enseigne en integrante de l’Islam : Pas de lecture sans beaucoup de styles de calligraphie, les plus avec le temps, une mutation s’est effectuee cause de cette mutation dans la graphie est entre l’Arabie et l’Afrique, la lettre arabe a certains peuples ou societes. Au Senegal, arabe, l’ont detournee pour ecrire leurs pour les wolofs, le pulaar pour les peuls,
Arts Africains Contemporains parce qu’il Afrique de l’ouest, alors qu’elle est partie ecriture. A travers les siecles, il y’a eu anciens etant le Naski et le Coufique, mais surtout au niveau de la forme des lettres. La le fait que durant le long periple effectue subi beaucoup de changements par rapport a les anciens qui ont eu contact avec la lettre langues maternelles : le wolafal ou Ajami etcetera.
La calligraphie n’est pas seulement un art, c’est egalement une science pour ceux qui reflechissent et une therapie pour les ames en peine. Ma calligraphie a eu plusieurs denominations durant ses 30 annees d’existence. Elle est tantot appelee calligraphie africaine (African Calligraphy) ou Calligraphie Senegalaise (Senegalese Calligraphy). Moi, j’opte pour la seconde denomination parce que je suis senegalais avant d’etre africain bien que je m’en reclame. J’ai ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ exhibitions that populate the art world calendar throughout the year; the Dak’Art Biennale that takes place once every two Continued from facing page years; the narratives and networks articulated within artists’ studios; the art market that takes shape when artists and buyers transact; and the many artistic propositions that engage the city’s visual, material, and spatial fields. These are the sites through which Dakar’s “art world city” articulates. To bring together my analysis, I conceptualize a theoretical paradigm: Dakar is an “art world city,” a multi-scalar, urban site for artistic production, mediation, and transaction. I propose this paradigm to account for the imbrication of the creative economy and the urban environment as well as the interplay of local and global dynamics shaping Dakar’s art world. With this theorization, I submit that individuals and institutions in Dakar create and participate in an art scene with its own particular artistic trends, practices, and internal dynamics. These individuals and institutions also intersect with other urban sites and global art platforms in a variety of ways, especially through exhibitions and dialogues with art world information brokers. By examining the practices and transactions of the creative economy as produced and embedded in distinctive local realities as much as they intersect with global practices and dynamics, this book elaborates on local narrative frames while attending to Dakar’s relationship to other urban centers and art worlds.
Dakar rather than an art world site in Europe or North America. Situating Dakar as the center of analysis not only illuminates the inner workings of its art world city. This position also contends that conversation about contemporary art in African cities does not begin or end in the global art world platforms of Europe or North America. This book’s approach thus intervenes in discourse about the implied location of the global art world in the institutions of the west while challenging assumptions that Dakar, and African cities more broadly, are peripheral to conversations about the global art world. By privileging Dakar-based narrative frames, dynamics, and practices, this research positions the center of analysis about the processes of art world globalization to an African metropolis. Joanna Grabski Warner Professor and Chair of Art History and Visual Culture Denison University
Professor Grabski’s research in Dakar has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship (2009-2010), the In addition to providing an intensive analysis of the creative Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (1998 economy of art and artists in Dakar, Art World City addresses the -1999), the Smithsonian Institution Doctoral Fellowship (1999-2000), the GLCA New Directions Initiatives Grant made possible by the Mellon processes of art world globalization from a sited position in Foundation (2011, 2012, 2013), the R.C. Good Faculty Fellowship, and
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Arts in West Africa Continued from previous page revolutionne la calligraphie tant au niveau de la conception qu’au niveau de la presentation et des outils. J’ai donne a la lettre arabe, un corps d’ecriture assez robuste, une forme galbee et des couleurs. Ma calligraphie a un pouvoir stabilisateur sur les cas de depression nerveuse pour ceux qui la meditent. Les 28 lettres de l’Alphabet Arabe ont toutes une valeur numerique, un poids mystique et une nature specifique. Elles ont toutes une vertu mystique dont le caractere operationnel est incontestable pour ceux qui savent.
III. Le travail de la composition picturale et la personnalisation d’une calligraphie: realisation d’un modele propre a chaque participant (prenoms ou autres) et s’exercer a la reproduire.
Je crois que le moment est venu de rompre la monotonie et de combler le gap. Les hommes doivent apprecier la calligraphie de façon plus approfondie en l’etudiant. Durant les voyages pedagogiques que j’ai effectue en Amerique, j’ai anime beaucoup d’ateliers de calligraphies pour les jeunes et j’ai pu constater tout l’interet qu’ils avaient pour cet art. J’ai donc pense que le moment etait venu pour moi de creer au Senegal, un Institut de calligraphie pour laisser aux generations futures, une possibilite d’exprimer leurs sensations et leurs talents. Depuis le moi de Septembre 2014, j’ai entame l’initiation a la calligraphie des jeunes talibes qui se trouvent dans les daaras pour deux choses : l’une, les retenir au daara (Ecole coranique) pour reduire leur temps de mendicite dans la rue, l’autre, preparer une pepiniere qui sortira la graine de calligraphe. J’ai une centaine de daaras a couvrir pendant trois ans avec le soutien de Village Pilote Sénégal qui œuvre sur la problematique des enfants de la rue. L’objectif du projet denomme Xalima (plume), c’est de pouvoir faire une selection a la fin et constituer des classes permanentes de calligraphie de 45 heures pour les meilleurs eleves qui auront des predispositions a un tel enseignement : tout le monde n’est pas calligraphe, n’est pas calligraphe qui veut. En attendant que l’Institut Ouest Africain de Calligraphie(I.O.A.C) de Tassinére Gandiole sorte de terre, j’ai commence l’initiation a la calligraphie pour ceux qui en font la demande, j’ai propose pour cela un curricula de 45 heures reparties en trois niveaux distincts : I.
Historique de l’ecriture arabe et l’evolution de la calligraphie qui integre la presentation du materiel et la premiere approche de l’alphabet arabe, II. Le travail sur la lettre et le geste calligraphique, et enfin 12
Par sa duree et par sa demarche personnelle, l’atelier d’initiation a la calligraphie senegalaise ne peut aborder un travail classique sur chaque style d’ecriture en calligraphie arabe. L’atelier privilegiera une methode d’approche ludique et personnelle en travaillant sur l’equilibre de la lettre et la diversite des traits dans la composition d’une calligraphie. Je crois avoir de façon ramassee, exposer l’importance de la calligraphie en general et de la calligraphie senegalaise dans la communication. Merci de votre aimable attention. Yelimane Fall, Le Messager de la Foi
________________________ Community, Literacy, and Activism in Islamic Africa: The Paintings of Yelimane Fall This exhibition is a joint project of the artist and the West African Research Association. The exhibition, curated by Taylor Smith and Cynthia Becker, highlights issues of literacy, education, and Islam, as well as the role of art in urban life and issues of religious tolerance. The pieces in the exhibition are meant to open up discussion of West Africa, providing opportunities to enrich our understandings of the complexity of this important part of the world.
West African Research Association
Arts in West Africa
Mining Beauty Amanda Gilvin
The Musee National Boubou Hama du Niger sits at the center of the capital city of Niamey. Founded in 1958 to represent a nation-state that did not yet exist as such, it still mirrors the opportunities, challenges, and paradoxes of Niger. My book manuscript, Mining Beauty: Art and Development in Niger, includes a portrait of this unusual museum, which has played a central role in Nigerien art history, as part of a larger story about art and artists. In this brief article, I will introduce the main themes of my book through a biography of the MNBH that includes the most recent developments at this large park just a few steps from the Niger River.
collected objects and invited artisans to work at the museum. In 2010, ceramicist Hachimou Rabiou remembered the adventure of arriving in Niamey from his small village in 1963: “I wanted to go to Niamey because there was so much happening here.” Immediately popular, the museum averaged 345 visitors a day in its first three years. Like the city around it, the museum grew apace in its first decade. In 1962, the ruling political party’s women’s wing funded the Costume Gallery. Huts and nomadic tents from various cultures were faithfully reconstructed. The zoo regularly added animals. Germany funded a small gallery displaying musical instruments from around Niger in 1969, and an audiovisual educational building was erected the same year. A playground was built opposite the hippopotamuses.
The MNBH is a rare public recreational space for family outings in Niamey. Today, the admission rates have U.S. dollar equivalents of 20 cents for Nigerien The simulated travel that the adults and 5 cents for Nigerien museum offered visitors was key for children, and during Muslim Toucet, and he boasted that “one of Musée National Boubou Hama du Niger holidays like Tabaski and Eid Al-Fitr, our aims has almost been achieved— parents and children crowd the that of presenting an over-all picture museum’s grounds. Children especially love watching the of the Republic of Niger on a few acres of ground.” He also hippopotamuses and monkeys, and adults can buy jewelry, observed that this simulacrum of the nation might be textiles, and leather goods from artisans. Freestanding understood as a “micro-city.” By 1968, an American journalist buildings scattered around the park hold the galleries. The would write of Niamey in the New York Times that, “At night, Costume Gallery, which features dress associated with different the liveliest place in this sleepy, charming capital city is Harry’s ethnicities, ranks among the most popular, but others on Club, a discotheque... By day, however, the National Museum is musical instruments and paleontology also attract visitors. where the action is.” Ten years after its founding, between Nigeriens fondly enjoy their museum, which has a history just 2,800 and 3000 visitors came on an average day. as unique as its unusual campus. In 1958, the scholar and politician Boubou Hama invited French archeologist Pablo Toucet to found a museum to replace the Niamey satellite office of the Institut Français de l’Afrique. Collaborating with Hama, Toucet was to transform an abandoned trash heap and single administrative building into a nationalist museum in a vast territory still under French control where he was a newcomer. In early 1960, Toucet curated the first permanent gallery inside the former IFAN building. The exhibits gave shape to an invented political entity that would remain largely under French control for another fifteen years, despite nominal independence. For the first few years of the museum’s existence, Toucet and other staff members worked to bring all of Niger to Niamey. Contributing to the rapid growth of the city, they West African Research Association
The military junta that took power in 1974 continued to fund the museum, which was by then led by its first Nigerien director, Albert Ferral. The junta’s first years in office were funded by rising uranium prices and easy access to World Bank and IMF loans. Then, from 1981 until 1984, uranium prices took a precipitous dive, and a drought in 1984 put an already vulnerable citizenry in even more danger. The Frenchstate majority-owned companies that mined uranium in Niger saw popular opinion about the industry tank at the same rate uranium prices did. In 1985, their affiliated Nigerien companies funded a permanent gallery at the museum. With most of its exhibits aging and the new Uranium Gallery serving as propaganda for an industry many Nigeriens regarded with suspicion, the museum struggled under an ever-decreasing budget. Paradoxically, one way that the museum changed from 1985 until 2007 was through a period of stasis, after over two decades of feverish building. During that time, only minimal changes were made to any of the permanent exhibitions. Many of the original 1959 installations in the first gallery are still in situ in 2015. Upkeep to the buildings has been uneven. Standards of care in zoos have changed substantially since the 1960s, but most of the cages are the originals. Despite its
Arts in West Africa dynamism as a large park where people live, work, and visit, there was a paradoxical sense of stasis and decay at the museum for many years. In 2010, one artisan who works at the museum claimed not to have entered any of the pavilions in twenty years, because he knew nothing inside them had changed. Under the leadership of director Maman Ibrahim from 2007 until 2011, the museum embarked on many new programs and renovations. The museum regularly hosted temporary exhibitions. Germany funded the reconstruction of a Music Gallery to replace the one it had financed around forty years earlier. The Costume Gallery underwent a reinstallation. This work to renovate and beautify the museum prefigured the ambitious program launched by the national government in 2011, Niamey Nyala, or Shiny Niamey. With a projected budget of eleven billion dollars over twenty years, Niamey Nyala is meant to transform Niamey into a more attractive, more amenable city. Under its aegis, authorities already have constructed new roads and a new traffic interchange, purchased garbage trucks, and broken ground on jointly funded projects that include three new government buildings and a new luxury hotel. Yet, at the same time, these resources are not even spread in the city or at the museum—and these urban efforts are shaped by national, regional, and global political dynamics. For example, until 2011 or so, artisans at the museum could rely on regular sales to foreign development workers and diplomats even as the tourist industry declined after conflicts in the 1990s and 2000s. After the 2011 Al Qaeda kidnapping of two French men, the Peace Corps and many other development organizations have departed, and the military advisors, spies, and other arriving in their stead do not show the same interest in artistic souvenirs. Instead, while artisans have seen their markets decline, there has been a quick increase in chic bars and restaurants in Niamey. Thanks to Niamey Nyala and the growing awareness of Niger’s strategic importance to global powers like China, France, and the United States, it is a moment of heightened awareness in Niamey of the city’s place in Niger—and its image for its inhabitants and the wider world. Curators see the museum as a key site for this representation of Niamey and Niger, and since Ali Bida succeeded Ibrahim as director, they have continued to implement new projects. In 2013, the French government commissioned Niamey resident Cameroonian artist Alioum Moussa to renovate the playground, and in 2014, two new galleries opened. An international design competition was held for the new gallery on earthen architecture, and the China National Petroleum Corporation funded and curated a new Oil Gallery, At a moment of high gasoline prices in 2011, Niger’s first oil well had opened to widespread discontent as citizens equated the new venture with the uranium industry that has fueled the lights in Paris for decades, but still left 91.7% of Nigeriens without electricity in 2010. Featuring a miniature replica of the industrial drilling and refinery complex with little explanation, the Oil Gallery inadvertently but accurately portrays the alienation of most Nigeriens from the profits of oil drilling, even as its extractive economic logic shapes their daily realities. The Musee National Boubou Hama is still “where the action is” in Niamey and Niger. The museum brings diverse Niameens, Nigeriens, Africans, and foreign visitors together in an educational and recreational space. In its new period of renovation and innovation, curators strive to make the museum an especially brilliant facet of a Shiny Niamey, but its galleries and workshops also reveal the sharp edges of the global political and economic dynamics facing Niger and its citizens. Amanda Kay Gilvin Mount Holyoke College Art History Department firstname.lastname@example.org
West African Research Association
Arts in West Africa
Visualizing Bambara Identity North of the Sahara By Cynthia Becker governmental discourse that emphasizes Arab-Islamic In rural southeastern Morocco, numerous hand painted signs nationalism. As a result, artists commonly paint images of mark the roads leading to various hotels. With names as Tuareg in the Sahara, constructing their identity through the “Kasbah Le Toureg” and “Les Hommes Blues,” one sign stands mythic image of the “un-Arabized” close-to-nature Tuareg out in the stark desert landscape, signaling the turnoff that (Becker 2009: 72). However, why have some Tamazightleads to a one-story adobe building called “Dar Gnaoua.” speakers in southeastern Frontal views of three musical Morocco decided to forgo instruments associated with Tuareg references and, Gnawa in contemporary Morocco instead, make a visual frame the sign’s text: the barrel connection to the Bambara? drum (ganga), metal cymbals (qaraqeb), and the guitar-like In order to answer this question, instrument called a guinbri. one must delve into the complex According to the sign Dar Gnaoua and uncomfortable history of the is home to “Groupe des trans-Saharan slave trade and the Bambaras” led by Hamad politics of racialization. In Mahjoubi, a Moroccan musician Critical Interventions, Jessica who performed at the 2011 Winegar and Katarzyna edition of the Saharan Crossroads Pieprzak noted that scholarship Conference in Niamey, Niger. The in North Africa had yet “to pay all-male Groupe des Bambara was special attention to the thorny, founded by Mahjoubi around ten but important, issues of racism years ago and includes his and stereotyping in the neighbors and friends, all of Groupe des Bambaras performs outside the Dar Gnaoua in Khamlia. construction of Africa in visual Photo by the author. whom share profits when tourists culture.” (2009: 11). A similar stop to see them perform. observation was made in a recent article by Baz Lecoq who argued What does it mean to identify as “Bambara” or “Tuareg,” in that while the division between North Africa and the lands south of Morocco, a country typically associated with the Middle East the Sahara has been largely recognized as a colonial trope, locally and/or the Mediterranean world? What are the visual cues developed notions of race also inform North African identities used by people in the north to signal a connection to Africa (2015: 36). As we will see, racial constructions as well as political south of the Sahara? What visual arts are tied to the Bambara? concerns influence how and why people in North Africa use visual The questions are particularly relevant to the study of African arts to make a connection across the Sahara. art history, my area of specialization, due to the fact that Visualizing Race in the Moroccan Desert scholarship typically divides the African continent across racial Southeastern Morocco can be characterized as a lines into an Arab Muslim “white” north and a sub-Saharan heterogeneous region, consisting of an Arab-speaking oasis indigenous “black” south. This artificial boundary, which surrounded by a Tamazight-speaking population of settled divides Africa in two, has led many art historians to align North nomads. As Tamazight-speakers, members of Groupe des Africa with the Middle East or the Mediterranean world rather Bambara live outside of the oasis in a small town named than the African continent. A Khamlia. Many are descended notable exception in the field of from those enslaved by the art history was the 2009 edition local Amazigh group, the Ait of the journal Critical Khabbash, and are referred to Interventions: Journal of African locally as Ismkhan, the plural Art History and Visual Culture, form of the word ismkh or entitled “Africanity and North ‘slave’ in Tamazight, which is African Visual Culture.” The understood locally to mean articles in this collection, mine someone with a dark among them, addressed complexion or “black.” transnational artistic and cultural Although Ismkhan speak the connections across the Saharan same language, Tamazight, as divide. My article considered the the Ait Khabbash, dress in the transnational artistic repertoire of same fashion, weave similar Amazigh activists/artists who, textiles, and hold similar much like the hotel owners in wedding ceremonies—all Morocco’s southeastern desert, symbols of group identity— stress their indigenous African they abstain from one heritage in order to counter West African Research Association
Arts in West Africa important symbol of unity: they do not intermarry. Ismkhan perform their difference by holding a sadaka each summer.This religious festival is attended by more than one thousand non-Ismkhan men, women and children, many of whom wish to be healed by the baraka, “divine blessing” attributed to Ismkhan. Despite the fact that the ancestors of the Ismkhan came from diverse geographic areas in Sahelian Africa, the sadaka reinforces the shared heritage they constructed for themselves in post-slavery Morocco. Ismkhan emphasize their connection to baraka, believed to result from their ancestral connection to Bilal, Islam’s first muezzin and early follower of the Prophet Muhammed. Through their style
Ait Khabbash, who dress in flowing blue gowns and turbans when working with tourists, market Tuareg culture as an ethno-commodity. Increasingly, even when they are not working, men continue to dress in this fashion. As noted by the Comaroff’s in their book Ethnicity, Inc., “the producers of culture are also its consumers, seeing and sensing and listening to themselves enact their identity,” becoming the “authentic,” the “original” (Comaroff and Comaroff 2009: 26). These styles of dress give visual form to a transnational Amazigh identity that crosses the Sahara, representing what might have been if national borders had not been created, their nomadic ancestors had not settle down, and Berber culture had not been “corrupted” by Arabization. Furthermore, they have absorbed colonial tropes that define Tuareg as white, which further emphasizes the racial divide that has separated them from the dark-complexioned Ismkhan. Groupe des Bambaras
Ismkhan healing ceremony, Khamlia. 2009. Photograph by author
of dress, which involves men wearing all-white clothing, they connect themselves to ideas of purity and blessedness. Ismkhan men use their clothing and their instruments for healing purposes during the sadaka, covering the heads of those who wish to be healed with their white turbans. Men perform on the barrel drum (ginga) while circling those who wish to receive their blessings and giving them water to drink from their iron cymbals (qaraqeb). First each man places his finger in the water and adds salt to it in order to remove harmful spirits from a person’s body. Ismkhan men also play these instruments during the ceremony to induce possession by spirits.In recent years, however, this practice has decreased in popularity as many come to view spirit possession as counter to Islam. Through their performances and style of dress, Ismkhan have created a community for themselves and turned the pejorative label of “slave” into one of self-pride and respect. At the same time, the historical association of the black body with enslavement has marked it as different from other Tamazight-speakers in the area, which explains why Ismkhan do not relate themselves historically to the Tuareg. In recent years Ait Khabbash, like many Berbers in Morocco, have begun to define themselves as Imazighen, which means “free people,” excluding the descendants of enslaved people from this selfdefinition. The Tuareg represent the Noble Savage—the pure Imazighen uncorrupted by Islam and Arabization—freely crossing borders and living in a pristine cultural state. Local 16
As the sign in Khamlia indicates, instead of defining themselves as Tuareg, Ismkhan, who largely live modest lives, renamed themselves “Gnaoua” hoping to attract both Moroccan and European tourists to their annual ceremony. Both Gnawa and Ismkhan share similar histories of enslavement but Gnawa typically live in Morocco’s urban centers and perform music for all-night possession-trance ceremonies that, in the last two decades, have been readapted for the stage. Young Ismkhan men hope to profit from the success of Gnawa recording artists and the international popularity Gnawa Festival of World Music in Essaouira, renaming themselves and forming secular musical groups that perform at local hotels for tourists. For the first time, Ismkhan began performing on the guinbri, a bass guitar-like instrument also associated with Gnawa in urban Morocco. The guinbri belongs to a family of plucked lutes found throughout a diffuse region of Sahelian Africa and enslaved people created a larger version based on Sahelian prototypes. Mahjoubi learned to play the guinbri, introducing it into an area where it did not previously exist, and the men who perform with him took on the name “Groupe des Bambaras.” They added a performance space to Mahjoubi’s adobe house large enough to house visiting tourists who began to visit, a space thatwhich they called “Dar Gnaoua,” or “Gnawa House.” The use of the name Bambara to describe the group reinforces a popular version of the Gnawa origin story, namely their descent from enslaved blacks captured during the 1591 victory of the Moroccan monarch Ahmad AlMansur (r. 1578-1603) when he conquered the Songhai Empire and the famed city of Timbuktu in contemporary Mali. Bambara, a term historically used in North Africa to refer to non-Muslims from West Africa, has been adopted by the descendants of enslaved Sahelian Africans as a moniker that represents a sense of pride by reinforcing a connection to a series of great empires that once ruled in West Africa, including the city of Timbuktu. Use of a musical instrument, the guinbri, associated with Africa south of the Sahara, and the frequent repetition in their songs of the words ‘Bambara’ and ‘Timbuktu’ further reinforces this connection.
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Arts in West Africa There is no denying that concepts of race play into the different ways Moroccans understand and relate to the African continent. Visual representations of Africanness allow us to look at how people have creatively responded to exclusion and inequality, creating an alternative space of belonging. Imazighen, who feel marginalized by Morocco’s national government, as well as the Ismkhan, descendants of enslaved people, have manipulated concepts of race to create a sense of social solidarity, negotiating and articulating a place of enterprise, creativity and agency for themselves within the larger society. Groupe des Bambaras, in particular, brings the history of trans-Saharan connections into the present by using musical instruments and styles of dress By reinforcing their historical connection to Africa south of the Sahara and selfidentifying as Bambara, they participate in the construction of a transnational black identity as they imagine their relationship to the continent from north of the Sahara.
Cynthia Becker History of Art & Architecture Boston University. email@example.com 1
Gnawa is spelled Gnaoua in French.
Multidisciplinary Approaches to Food Security, Public Health & Governance: Emerging Research for Sustainable Development in West Africa WARA is pleased to announce our collaboration with the University of Ibadan, Office of International Programs. This conference, which will feature the work of Travel Grantees and other West African researchers, will be an occasion for rich exchange and network building. September 5 & 6, 2016 The Conference Center, University of Ibadan The current director of the University of Ibadan, Office of International Programs, Dr. Oluwatoyin Odeku was a 2012 WARA grantee. She carried out her research in Ghana on the development of local materials as novel pharmaceutical excipients for drug delivery. We are proud of her academic accomplishments and are pleased to be working with her office on this conference that will bring together scholars from throughout the region. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Isaac Adewole, MD, Nigeria’s Minister of Health. Conference registration details can be found on the conference website at http://sustainable-westafrica.org West African Research Association
2016 Saharan Crossroads Fellows Ampson Hagan (UNC – Chapel Hill) Creating Healthscapes under Duress: Protecting health during trans-Saharan migration from Niger to Algeria Ms. Tamara Turner (King’s College, London) The Dīwān of Sīdī Blāl: Hausa Songs, Stories, and Subjectivities in Algeria Dr. Tarik Ghodbani (Université Oran 2) Transformations socioéconomiques dans le Sahara sud-ouest de l’Algérie et développement du commerce des produits agricoles avec les pays frontaliers du sud Dr. Hassan Kamil (Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines Marrakech) Commerce des Objets d’arts entre le Maroc et l’Afrique Subsaharienne Mr. Ramdane Touati (Aix-Marseille Université) Le domaine touareg, terrain de contacte linguistique entre l’Afrique du Nord et l’Afrique subsaharienne Dr. Fatimetou Abdel Wehab (Université de Nouakchott) Religious Songs among the People of the Sahara: an Anthropological Approach Dr. Edmond Akwasi Agyeman (University of Education, Winneba, Ghana) Cross-cultural Ties between Ghana and Egypt: the agency of the Egyptian community in Ghana Mr. Khaled Esseissah (Indiana University) Former Enslaved Hratin Becoming Imams: The Sruggle for Islamic Authority and Identity Formation in Post-Emancipation Mauritania, from 1905 to the present ___________ The Saharan Crossroads Initiative is a joint project of the West African Research Association, (WARA), the American Institute for Magrhebi Studies (AIMS), and The Saharan Studies Association. This year’s research fellowships were generously funded through a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Arts in West Africa
Fantasy Coffins: A Growing Tradition in Ghana comes to New Hampshire by Leah Woods
We arrived at the woodshop around 10 am on Sunday morning. I showed Eric the pile of lumber we had purchased as we sat down to formulate a plan for the week. Eric looked around the shop, considered the hand tools and machines we had available, thought about the number of students who would be helping throughout the week, and finally came to a conclusion. He said, “In Oregon we built a tuna fish, in Iowa it was an ear of corn, and in Wisconsin we worked on a badger. I think here in New Hampshire, we should build a lobster, I think that would be most appropriate.” So began our process. Six days later, with the help of faculty, staff, and students from the Department of Art and Art History and members of the University of New Hampshire community, we built, painted, and upholstered an eleven-foot coffin in the
shape of a pink and black striped lobster. The coffin now resides on permanent display at the Seacoast African American Cultural Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
After Kane Kwei died in 1992, Anang’s father and uncle took over the shop and consequently business went into a decline. Then, after the death of his uncle, Eric had to decide between going to university and entering into his family business. “At that point my dad did not like the idea of me not going to university because building coffins is uneducated employment,” Eric said. Also, many of his friends decided to go to university in order to study traditional professions like medicine and law. Eric knew, however, that getting a university degree would not necessarily get him a job in Ghana in the future, so he ultimately decided not to follow the crowd and started working straight away in his grandfather’s workshop. While Anang enjoys working with students from other countries to make these art objects, Ghana Coffin originally created coffins for more practical purposes; in other words, to house the remains of the deceased. Therefore, Anang spends much of his time back in his workshop in Teshie, where he constructs coffins for people living in Ghana as well as many countries around the world; and the shapes illustrate the personality, the profession, even the spirit of the deceased. “To me, coffin making is a very important profession, a lot of Ghanaians don’t have a good respect for it because you are working with death. But to me it is a great way of honoring someone who has played a vital role in life.” After Anang started working at Ghana Coffin, the business began to flourish again, as Anang delivered the coffins on time and would often go out of his way to accompany them to their destination. Then Anang began traveling abroad in order to check that coffins, which had already been sold to foreign museums, had been properly attributed to his grandfather. In 2009, he built a coffin in the shape of a Spanish soft drink called Aquarius, and was featured in a commercial for the drink which aired in Spain that year, marking the beginning of
Eric Adjetey Anang is the third generation in his family to take on the business of fantasy coffin building, learning these skills from his father, Cedi Anang Kwei and grandfather, Seth Kane Kwei. Ghana Coffin, located in Teshie, Ghana, outside Accra, began in the late 1940s with Kane Kwei building palanquins, open wooden vessels used to carry village chiefs and elders. When the particular village chief for whom Kane Kwei was building a cocoa-pod shaped palanquin died before construction was finished, the family asked him to enclose the palanquin in order to create a coffin. Shortly after, Kane Kwei was asked to build a coffin for a recently deceased grandmother in the shape of an airplane as she had lived next to an airport and had always wished to fly but had never gotten the chance in life. Slowly, as more people in Teshie and the surrounding community began to realize that Kane Kwei would make these special shapes for ordinary community members and not just village chiefs and elders, the orders began to come in. 18
The sweet hereafter
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Arts in West Africa international success. He has traveled to such countries as Spain, South Korea, Italy, Denmark, France and Russia, in addition to his trips to the U.S. On these trips he sells his coffins to museums and private buyers and works with students. Anang hopes to inspire and educate more students when he goes back home to Ghana. He has just bought land on which he wants to build a second workshop. He plans for this workshop to be a site where he can bring together students from all parts of the world and especially from Ghana to share with them the art he’s making. Although he does say he prefers to make the coffins as art pieces and work with students, this does not detract from how seriously he takes his utilitarian coffin building. For example, at his public talk at UNH Eric showed the crowd photos of coffins in the shape of a Twix bar and a beer bottle. While the audience chuckled at these, Anang was quick to point out, “No family would bury their dead in a beer bottle in Ghana.” His comment was meant to show that even though some of the shapes he creates are humorous and whimsical, he makes a clear distinction between those made for fun and those made for an actual use, out of solemnity and respect for the deceased and their families. Anang says: “The ego to us is a symbol of strength, so the coffin represents what the person was and the strength the person has within the community.” Indeed, he believes these coffins are anything but trivial, and while he introduces himself as a fantasy coffin maker, Anang insists, “For the families of the deceased, these coffins are never fantasy.”
Coffin for a carpenter
Leah Woods Associate Professor of Art Woodworking and Furniture Design University of New Hampshire www.leahkwoods.com
Don’t Miss the WARA Sponsored Roundtable at the 2016 ASA Drug Trafficking and its Impact on the State and Society in West Africa Drug trafficking in West Africa has generally increased and has brought grave socio-economic and political repercussions. Poverty and weak state institutions have provided fertile ground for its development, which further undermines state and regional mechanisms for its control. Drug traffickers have exploited these weaknesses to build resourceful transnational, regional, and domestic networks that sustain this very lucrative criminal activity. The magnitude of the problem has reached such a level that the term Narco State is increasingly appearing in reports on the region. At the same time, states in the region are reporting an alarming surge in the domestic consumption of drugs that were previously rare or unknown, such as cocaine and methamphetamines. Taken together, these indicators pose serious challenges not only for individual states and regional bodies such as ECOWAS, but for the larger global community. This roundtable will examine the problem with a special focus on Mali, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, and Nigeria.
Robin Edward Poulton, Virginia Commonwealth University, Segou (Mali), and EPES Mandala Consulting Ltd – advisor to the European Union and to the United Nation Abel Djassi Amado, Simmons College Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, Brooklyn College CUNY
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From Our Fellows In this section, we feature research reports from a number of our recent grantees. These include 2015 Pre– and Post-Doctoral Fellows; the 2015 WARA Diaspora Graduate Intern, and Fall 2014 Travel Grantees Adewole, Kouloung, Taale, and Traore. We also feature reports from our first cycle of Saharan Crossroads Fellows, ben Saad, Olodosu, and Alexander.
Perceptions of Voter Education Programs before the 2015 Presidential Election, Côte d’Ivoire As a WARA-pre-doctoral fellow, I spent nine weeks this summer in Cote d’Ivoire, following the voter registration process and the accompanying sensitization campaign conducted by NGOs accredited by the Electoral Commission (CEI). As we approached the Grand Mosque in Divo, Cote d’Ivoire, a member of a local NGO serving as a voter education agent told me that earlier that week they had been chased away from a Dida village as the suspicious inhabitants wanted nothing to do with the agents they believed were representatives of the government; he assured me that we would have an easier time convincing people in the predominantly Muslim neighborhood around the mosque to register to vote, since many in this population were supporters of the current president, Alassane Ouattara. I discovered that many of the population concerned were reluctant, especially in areas considered strongholds of the former president, Laurent Gbagbo, while others feared what elections would bring: months of violent conflict after both Gbagbo and Ouattara declared themselves winners, resulting in over 3,000 deaths. My objectives in undertaking this research were twofold: to observe the education efforts around the voter registration process, conduct interviews and carry out a survey designed to gauge how citizens perceive the providers of voter education. I participated and observed the voter education campaign put on by a local NGO network, the Civil Society Coalition for Peace and Democratic Development in Cote d’Ivoire (COSOPCI), in Adjame, a commune of Abidjan that saw much electoral violence in 2010 -2011, as well as Divo, for several days during the 10-day campaign. I was able to attend numerous training workshops on preparing for the elections as well as interview those in charge of implementing and supporting voter education efforts at the CEI, and other NGOs who carried out this effort in other localities. The goals of the campaign were to inform voters on how to enroll and to update the list for those who had attained voting age, moved, changed names, or died since 2009. From these observations and survey results, we found that there were many obstacles to registering: confusion as to where to register, individuals lacking the required paperwork, and a limited time frame (around a month) made it difficult for individuals to make the deadline. In a representative survey I conducted in Abidjan (520 respondents), an overwhelming majority of those previously unregistered did not register during the process (75%), largely 20
made up of individuals between the age of 18 to 24, the targeted population for this registration effort. My previous research and the story above demonstrate that individuals frequently refuse or are hesitant to cooperate with NGOs who work in democracy promotion as they may see them as partisan, even if these NGOs have no known political affiliation, strive for neutrality, and the work they complete is expected to benefit the general population. Some NGO leaders as well as academics, argued the reason people are distrustful is because they are not informed enough about the role NGOs should play in society. However, others interviewed, particularly political party leaders but also scholars and students, were firm in their assertion that many NGOs in the country were partisan, supported by and supporters of political parties and their leaders. The survey in Abidjan demonstrates that 44% of the population believes that NGOs are partisan; though not a majority, it is still a large enough population to wonder whether or not these perceptions can have an impact on how individuals engage with NGOs. I hope to continue to analyze this data in order to draw insights on how citizens view those who are promoting democracy and conducting civic education efforts in their country. Witnessing firsthand the election preparation efforts in Cote d’Ivoire proved to be an insightful experience that will surely inform my dissertation and I am grateful to WARA for providing me this opportunity. Critically examining how individuals perceive institutions that promote civic education, especially in electoral periods, is integral to developing my understanding of the mechanisms that encourage or impede the development of effective citizens able to engage with democracy in post-conflict contexts.
Justine Davis WARA 2015 Pre-Doctoral Fellow UC Berkeley, Political Science Justine.firstname.lastname@example.org Also can link to my blog, blog.justinedavis.org
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From our Fellows Land Privatization and Social Relations in Burkina Faso The overall goal of my study is to examine the role of domestic entrepreneurs, as agents of change, in the commodification and privatization of communally-owned land in Burkina Faso. Broadly, my study asks, “Does land privatization impact social relations? If so, how and in whiat ways?” In order to achieve this goal, I conducted interviews (June-August 2015) with domestic entrepreneurs who bought/are buying land, rural farmers who are selling their traditionally-owned land, traditional leaders, government officials, and other implementers of land privatization policy. Interviews where designed to document the process by which BurkinaBe entrepreneurs turn communal land into private land that can be bought and sold; and document changes in how people think about and relate to land, and each other, when participating in land privatization. When it comes to land, states funding the implementation of privatization policies, like the United States, perceive privatization and the commodification of land as normal, even obvious. However, in countries like Burkina Faso, privatization is anything but normative. In fact, the selling and fencing of land is in direct contrast to their social values in borrowing land to neighbors in exchange for labor or goods; or even gifting land to migrants in need. Contrary to the prevailing land grabbing narrative, the commodification and privatization of land in Burkina Faso is dominated by local actors (not the State and multinational corporations), mainly small-scale BurkinaBe (Burkina Faso citizens) entrepreneurs who are buying land and subsistence farmers who are selling their access to communal or family land. These rural farmers are not the first in their families to give land access to outsiders, but they are the first generation to assign monetary values to their land and to opt to permanently sell their land rights. The increasing rate of small-scale land sales between domestic entrepreneurs and subsistence farmers in Burkina Faso represents a shift in social and cultural values, not just acts of state power. While a WARA Fellow, I collected data that supports the following conclusions: Domestic entrepreneurs are most often professionals (military, doctors, teachers, government officials, etc.) who live in urban centers and buy land in villages where they have a friend who can vouch for them, and because of their jobs they have access to loans. In order to privatize land, one must navigate systems of communal land regimes and state privatization institutions- and thus, privatization is not an option for everyone. In occupying these contradictory realities, entrepreneurs practice social norms while simultaneously heading change. In the spirit of participatory policy building, state policies on privatization are turning traditional leadership roles into officially recognized roles of political authority. For example, land sales, permits, and other titles require the signature of West African Research Association
(male) village chiefs and (male) Presidents of the Village Council for Development (CVD), a state-ordered institution established in each community and the first point of contact for investors and government officials. Village chiefs’ and CVDs’ power over access to land emerges from patriarchal values, wherein women are not allowed to own land. Consequently, gender inequalities that are socially institutionalized in the communal tenure system are being legally institutionalized in new private tenure systems. BurkinaBe have a long history of giving land to migrants in need. In these arrangements, hosts maintain the right to take their land back from migrants. However, with new privatization policies, hosts fear that migrants will obtain official papers for the land they have been cultivating. This fear is causing some farmers to displace migrants. In addition, these relationships that have long been symbiotic, are now turning into conflict as distinctions between “migrants” and “natives” is being highlighted in community rhetoric and behavior. Land tenure regimes are not a bureaucratic system of ownership, but carrying symbolic meaning of social entrustment among neighbors and familial stewardship. Interviews with subsistence farmers in Burkina Faso equate selling land to cutting off a piece of their body. Others confessed that by being the firsts in their family to sell land “like a motorbike” they are responsible for the hardships of future generations that come due to a lack of land. Farmers are selling land, despite the taboo, due to variable combinations of vulnerabilities associated with poverty. Because farmers’ social value of land is so high, they are selling land only in times of desperation. This desperation leaves them with little negotiating power, and they feel forced to make a deal at very low prices. Often times, the sale price is set to only cover the costs of the emergency (emergency healthcare, food, home repairs, school fees, etc.). This way, the farmer does not appear to the community to be selling land out of greed, but out of necessity. Also, due to their interpretation of new land laws, farmers fear loosing their land to the State and decide that they should sell the land and obtain some money while they still can. Also, farmers see a decline in soil quality and crop production, and think they should sell the land while someone still wants it. Finally, farmers are selling land because they cannot afford to cultivate it themselves (fertilizer, irrigation, labor costs are too high). Elizabeth Gardiner WARA 2015 Pre-Doctoral Fellow Anthropology, Ohio State University email@example.com
From Our Fellows L’ONU et la Reconstruction des États de l’Afrique de l’ouest Affectés par des Conflits Armés internes: Les Exemples Libérien, Sierra-Léonais, Ivoirien et Malien Ce stage de recherche qui s’est deroule a l’Universite Gaston Berger Saint-Louis du Senegal du 05 mars au 10 avril 2015 a eu le financement du centre americain West African Research Association, WARA/WARC. Cette subvention du WARA nous a permis d’acheter les ouvrages, faire des photocopies et imprime des documents et articles. Elle nous a permis de payer une cle a internet, ce qui nous facilite la recherche. Aussi, cette subvention nous a permis de reorienter notre problematique et de mieux maîtriser la portee de notre etude. Ainsi, actuellement notre these se focalise sur les questions de paix et de securite internationales et cherche a cerner l’impact des contributions de l’Organisation des Nations Unies dans la reconstruction des Etats ouest africains affectes par des conflits armes internes. Elle evalue l’assistance de l’ONU dans le domaine de gouvernance securitaire, politique et economique qui sont en cours d’experimentation ou d’execution dans la plus grande majorite des Etats ouest africains affectes par des conflits internes. Elle essait d’identifier les obstacles et les defis auxquels l’ONU doit faire face pour reconstruire efficacement les societes postconflictuelles. La question sera etudiee par le moyen d’une etude de cas en Afrique de l’Ouest. Nous prendrons le cas de l’exemple atypique de l’Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) et tenterons de comprendre et d’expliquer pourquoi ses apports dans le domaine de reconstruction de la paix dans les Etats ouest africains affectes par des conflits internes continuent d’eprouver des limites, malgre de nombreuses assistances etrangeres apportees a ces Etats defaillants. Nous nous limiterons au cas de la reconstruction de l’Etat ivoirien apres le conflit de 2011. Mais cette limitation ne nous empeche pas d’etablir des comparaisons entre le conflit ivoirien avec les conflits similaires tels que celui de la Sierra Leone, du Liberia et du Mali dans lesquels l’Organisation des Nations Unies est intervenue et enregistree des resultats. Notre objectif principal cherche a identifier les principaux obstacles et defis auxquels fait face l’Organisation des Nations Unies dans la reconstruction des Etats ouest africains affectes par des conflits armes internes. Ces mecanismes de l’ONU ont comme fondement la restauration de l’autorite de l’Etat et le raffermissement des dechirures sociales et se caracterisent par une responsabilisation plus accrue, non seulement, des acteurs nationaux mais aussi, et surtout, des organisations internationales. C’est dire donc que le succes de la
reconstruction postconflit necessite une combinaison de facteurs internes et externes. Certes, au-dela de cette presentation sommaire de la problematique, notre recherche au Senegal ne devrait pas avoir lieu sans le soutien financier de WARA. Notre sejour a l’UGB a ete presque satisfait. J’ai pu avoir une grille de documentation utile sur les mecanismes de reconstruction post-conflit, ce qui m’a permis de revoir mes objectifs, theories et hypotheses en vue de mieux aborder cette question dans une perspective des relations internationales. Mais, vu la vie tres chere au Senegal, j’ai du rentrer au Togo. Une seconde difficulte que j’ai rencontree dans mes recherches doctorales, c’est que je devrais rencontrer les responsables du Bureau des Nations Unies pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre regional des Nations Unies pour le desarmement et la paix. J’ai eu a envoyer des correspondances pour prendre rendez-vous, je n’ai pas eu de suite. J’ai du me contenter de la collecte documentaire. Pourtant, je prevois retourner au Senegal pour profiter de l’accalmie et la documentation, ce qui sera utile au parachevement de la these. Merci a Dr. Jennifer Yanco, directrice de WARA, au Professeur Sene Ousmane, directeur de WARC et a Madame Mariane Yade pour le soutien dont j’ai pu beneficier. Eyoukeani David Kouloung 2015 WARC Travel Grantee Universite de Lome Science Politique
Diez de Velasco Vallejo, Les Organisations Internationales, Paris, Economica, 1999 i. Merci a mes professeurs qui ont supervise ce travail de recherche: M. Dodzi Komla Kokoroko, Professeur des universites de droit public et de science politique, Directeur du Centre de droit public(CDP), Vice-doyen de la Faculte de droit, Universite de Lome, Togo-Directeur de these. M. Madior Ismaila Fall, Professeur Agrege en droit public et en science politique, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal. Codirecteur de these
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From Our Fellows Party Formation, Party Loyalty, and Democracy in Senegal While on my WARA Postdoctoral Grant in Senegal, a friend invited me to speak about my research on Sopi FM 99.6, the radio station that members of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) own and operate from an apartment on the outskirts of Dakar. The program, Batou Askan wi (The Voice of the Nation), includes conversation in Wolof with live callers. In the studio, I analyzed politics within the PDS, whose internal cohesion has been especially fragile after Abdoulaye Wade lost the 2012 presidential elections and his son (and putative heir to the party), Karim, was detained for illicit enrichment. The same day as my Sopi FM appearance, Wade’s ex-Prime Minister, Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye, left the PDS and formed his own political party to contest the presidency. Just a few weeks before, the young leader of the PDS’s parliamentary group, Modou Diagne “Fada,” had issued a manifesto with several other “frondeurs” for democratic elections within the PDS. Both Ndene Ndiaye and Fada were motivated by Karim Wade’s designation as the PDS’s next presidential candidate. The candidacy had been discussed in party meetings and a vote had occurred, although the terms of suffrage were contentious. The politician overseeing the PDS radio station, Ousmane Ngom, had used yet another tactic to voice dissent. He rose to the rank of second-in-command before Wade’s advancement of a different “dauphin” led Ngom to leave the PDS in 1998, create the Senegalese Liberal Party, and negotiate a return to the PDS in 2003 after several years of opposition. These patterns of political behavior are the subject of my research. I lived in Dakar in summer 2015 to study party loyalty in Senegal’s current age of political party proliferation. During Wade’s presidency alone (2000-2012), the number of registered parties tripled from 57 to over 200. In my doctoral dissertation – based on sixteen months of fieldwork, original archival research, and over a hundred interviews with politicians – I sought to identify the sources of widespread party formation, opposition party trajectories, and presidential turnover in Senegal, often considered one of Africa’s democratic “success stories.” However, I realized that my future book would be incomplete without providing the perspectives of a contrasting group of politicians: those who remained within the ranks of the ruling PDS, rather than forming their own parties to seek political ascension. What have been the reasons for certain prominent politicians’ loyalty to the ex-ruling party, the PDS, despite its turbulent West African Research Association
and undemocratic internal politics, both during and after Wade’s presidency? In the well-known parlance of the economist Albert Hirschman, when, why and to whom was “loyalty” to the ruling party more desirable than an “exit” from the ruling party and the exercise of political “voice” by creating a new party? To answer this question, we must first understand why some Senegalese politicians equate “voice” with creating their own parties in the first place. Why don’t all politicians ambitious to attain patronage and prestige join the ruling party and exercise “voice” within it when they encounter difficulties? This kind of behavior is what theories of dominant-party politics generally predict, but it is not what we observe in contemporary Senegal. My preliminary findings are based on thirty semistructured interviews with people who have been members of the Comite Directeur (CD), a high-level, deliberative PDS institution. The final analysis will also reference an original timeseries dataset on the size, composition, demography, and political behavior of CD members. The CD was created when the PDS was Senegal’s main opposition party. Initially, it contained a few top brass who debated important issues. However, when Wade won the presidency in 2000, the PDS had only mobilized 30% of the vote; only in a runoff when the PDS allied with other parties did it win over 50% of the vote. Wade thus needed to build larger bases of support to increase his certainty of winning re-election through the ruling party. Wade dealt with this challenge by unilaterally changing membership rules for the CD. In the early 2000s, Wade welcomed party-switchers from the ex-ruling Socialist Party into the PDS, sometimes appointing them to government posts. To increase their loyalty, Wade made all ministers and parliamentary deputies automatic members of the CD. This had dire consequences for cohesion and “voice” in the PDS. Old guard felt that their importance had dwindled and that the distribution of power did not take into account their long-standing party loyalty. The CD became less conducive to collective deliberation, and less useful for individuals seeking to voice opinions about the party. Conflicts about local leadership became even more acute with the influx of new PDS members. Internal elections, which Wade had even delayed in the 1990s while in opposition, became even less desirable since it was assumed that such elections would deter losers from remaining in the party.
From Our Fellows Continued from previous page Wade’s second power retention tactic was to encourage political party formation. His predecessor, Abdou Diouf, had established low barriers for creating parties. Wade retained them, but also financially rewarded the new parties that joined the Coalition Around the President in the 21st Century (CAP 21), a club open to virtually any party leader. For supporting the ruling coalition, members received a small salary, bags of rice, opportunities to meet the president, and diplomatic passports. The CAP 21 encouraged proliferation and reduced opposition cohesion. However, the low barriers to register parties also made them more accessible tools for dissatisfied PDS members seeking to voice frustrations. Thus, as internal elections became less likely and the CD less useful for voice, the relative value of alternative means of “voice,” including the strategies pursued by Fada, Ngom, and Ndene Ndiaye, increased. Political science theories hold that internal democratic procedures help party leaders ensure the loyalty of competing elites. But Senegal under Wade highlights the need to examine the conditions under which this premise holds. In fluid party systems like Senegal’s, well-known elites who are popular within the ruling party can reasonably expect to achieve quick success in races against their former colleagues if they leave. Thus, while the president has the power to promote (or deter) political party formation, the development of the party system – into one in which most new parties are not of consequence, or alternatively into one in which new parties led by established politicians can almost immediately hope to win votes, seats, or the presidency – can shape the incentives of party leaders to (re)craft and enforce their organization’s internal rules.
Catherine Lena Kelly, WARA 2015 Post-Doctoral Fellow Washington University in St. Louis firstname.lastname@example.org
1. 2. 3.
Dissertation defense was in June 2014 in the Harvard University Department of Government. Hirschman, Albert. 1970. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Senegal is one of francophone Africa’s more institutionalized party systems, but even Senegal scores lower on the institutionalization scale than anglophone countries like Ghana.
Research Visit to Kintampo Health Research Center In August 2015, I made a research visit to the Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC), Brong Ahafo Region, Republic of Ghana. The objective of the research was to conduct in vitro antimalarial studies on cysteine-rich peptide extracts from Morinda lucida leaves as part of my Ph.D. research work.
From left to right: Kofi Tchum (Deputy Chief Biomedical Scientist), Latifatu Alhassan (Research Officer) and Adewole Kayode (Grantee) at the Kintampo Health Research Centre,.
The research activities carried out at the centre included HPLC purification of peptide from peptide extract (Koehbach et al. 2013) and in vitro antimalarial studies based on the principle of inhibition of β-hematin formation from hemin by antimalarial drugs (Baelmans et al., 2000). The extracts displayed β-hematin inhibition, though at significantly lower percentages compared to the standard antimalarial drug, chloroquine, indicating possible antiplasmodial effects by the extract. Further studies, including in vivo studies are underway to confirm the antimalarial efficacy of the peptide extracts. I also have the privilege of visiting Kintampo waterfalls, in the company of David Dosoo (Head of Clinical Laboratory, KHRC) and Love Ankrah (Research Officer at KHRC). Kintampo waterfall is a major tourist destination in the region. The travel grant (and research visit), in accordance with the mission of WARA of ‘’promotion of research on West Africa and the diaspora, scholarly exchange, the dissemination of accurate information on West Africa and its diasporic communities, and increasing awareness of the critical place of West Africa in the global community’’ afforded me the rare opportunity of meeting, interacting and working with reputable scientists from different countries and cultural backgrounds. At the same time the grant has also help to hasten my Ph.D. research work- and this will definitely advance my research carrier objectives. Adewole Kayode Ezekiel Ph.D. student , Department of Biochemistry University of Ilorin Kwara State Nigeria.
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From Our Fellows Modeling Household Demand for Major Agricultural Food Commodities in Haut-Bassins, Burkina Faso The objective of this study is to estimate demand elasticities for major agricultural food commodities in the Hauts-Bassins region of Burkina Faso. To this end, an extensive household survey will be conducted where 250 households will be interviewed about their monthly food expenditures. Data collected on household socioeconomic characteristics as well as consumption behavior will be analyzed using the Linear Approximate Almost Ideal Demand System (LA-AIDS). Results will provide expenditure elasticities of demand, marshallian and hicksian own and cross price elasticities. The rapid surge of international prices of agricultural commodities from 2005 to 2008 had large impacts on poverty and food security on many developing countries including Burkina Faso. To respond to this situation, many governments adopted policies aiming at controlling rises of agricultural food commodities prices (price ceiling and subsidies). However, it is important to mention that these governments interventions did not prevent prices from rising; leaving millions of people in deep poverty with no means to feed themselves. This failure can due to the fact that such government policies were not based on the recognition of the demand structure. To the best of my knowledge, no published study has been conducted to determine the demand structure of major agricultural food commodities in Burkina Faso. Therefore, this study will contribute to the limited literature by analyzing the demand structure of major agricultural food commodities namely maize, millet and sorghum. Estimation of expenditure and price elasticities of the three major food commodities not only will deepen understanding of households’ economic behavior in the country but also enhance policy analysis. There are two objectives for this study. The first objective is to estimate food demand elasticities for major agricultural commodities in the Hauts-Bassins region of Burkina Faso. This includes own and cross price elasticities as well as income elasticities. The second objective is to analyze households’ food consumption behavior. Data for the study will be collected using a survey conducted in the Hauts-Bassins region of Burkina Faso. Created on July 2001, the region’s capital is Bobo-Dioulasso. Three provinces make up the region: Houet, Kenedougou, and Tuy. With a total population estimated at 1,348,442 in which 1,078,754 are rural, Hauts-bassins has large agricultural production (cereals, cotton, fruits and vegetables). In 2007, cereal production was estimated at 628,907 tons and cotton production 329,787 tons. The region is also rich in animal resources. In 2005, over 1.2 million cattle were registered, and more than 28,000 exported. A total 250 households living in rural and urban areas will be interviewed. A questionnaire will be developed and 10 assistants will be hired and trained on how to survey the households and collect the best data possible. Personal interviews will be conducted to collect information on households’ socioeconomic and demographic characteristics such as level of education, age, size, religion, etc. Also, households’ representative will be asked to record expenditures on food for a period of two to four consecutive weeks. West African Research Association
ANALYTICAL METHODS Data collected from the households will be analyzed using the Linear Approximate Almost Ideal Demand System (LA-AIDS) of Deaton and Muellbauer (1980). The LA-AIDS model is linear, flexible and satisfies all the axioms of demand theory. The LA-AIDS can be estimated using the following system of equations:
(1) Laspeyres index
Where wi is the budget share of food item i, Pj price of other food items, X total expenditure of the household on all food items in the system, µ being the error term assumed to have a zero mean, independent and homoscedastic; α, β and γ are parameters to be estimated. Expenditures elasticities, own and cross-price elasticities will be estimated as well as food consumption behaviors and the factors that influence food expenditure patterns. IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY This study will not only provide the author with a practical field experience but also provide an in-depth analysis of the demand and better insights about important factors such as prices, income, and socioeconomic and demographic factors that affect the three major agricultural food commodities consumption in Hauts-Bassins-Burkina Faso. This study is important for a country like Burkina Faso because of the sustained increase in food prices despite tremendous efforts taken by the Government. According to the UNDP, 47% of the population in Burkina Faso lives under the poverty line and relies on subsistence agriculture to satisfy their food necessities (UNDP, 2013). Consequently, any surge in food prices as large impact on the country’s poverty reduction efforts and food security. So, if government responses to any rise in price as to be effective, they should be based on estimates determined within studies like the present study. Togo Mohamed Traore 2015 WARC Travel Grantee Ph.D. student, Applied Economics Auburn University email@example.com
From Our Fellows Competing and Collaborating Over Environmental Space: Senegal River Development Organizations, 1930-2000 I was not sure what to expect when I boarded my flight from Paris to Bamako in mid-June for a two-month stay in Bamako and Manantali (Kayes Region). A doctoral student in history at Stanford University just finishing my second year, I had spent considerable time in Senegal but was a Mali neophyte, armed with an ambitious research agenda, a group of yetunmet contacts, and a healthy mix of nerves and excitement. Thanks to the generous support of the West African Research Association, and above all the humbling assistance of countless Malian scholars, professionals, and citizens, I was able to accomplish what I set out to do and more, and look forward to returning to Mali to build on this work. My research considers the history of river management practices on the Senegal River from the 1920s until the 1990s and engages with three primary questions. First, I seek to understand management activities—such as dams, irrigation networks, and navigation interventions—over a long-term timeframe spanning the colonial era to well after independence. Second, I am particularly interested in how, following independence, the four Senegal River nations, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal, collaborated and contested over their shared Senegal River resource, both through a succession of formal river management organizations and via other channels. Finally, I look to contribute to the robust literature on the gaps between the planning of officials and technocrats and the impact of Senegal River management projects on the ground, in particular the epidemiology of large dam and irrigation projects and the socioeconomic disruption or benefit brought by changes to agricultural regimes. In undertaking this work, I plan to combine rigorous archival work with oral interviews and fieldwork to be conducted among affected populations, technical experts, and government officials. Because I am in the dissertation planning stage, the primary objectives of my summer research in Mali were to familiarize myself with archival resources located in Bamako, visit one of my primary proposed field sites, the Manantali Dam—a major hydroelectric dam located on the Bafing River, a major Senegal River tributary—and to develop a network of contacts in order to facilitate longer-term research next year. I also hoped to gather archival materials for ongoing work, an eventual dissertation chapter on the links between colonial era projects with later Senegal River activities.
chives for the Société de Gestion de l’Energie de Manantali (SOGEM), a sub-organization for one of the most important (and still extant) Senegal River management organizations, the Organisation Pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal (OMVS). The SOGEM archive represents a particularly important resource because it contains the full spectrum of materials pertaining to the planning, construction, feasibility, impacts, and outcomes of the Manantali Dam. I also spent much time meeting different SOGEM employees and visiting other OMVS offices, creating a network of interested experts who will help me going forward. This, in turn, led to a visit to Manantali Dam, located in a remote site 5-8 hours from Bamako (depending on your vehicle!). My visit to Manantali was the highlight of my time in Mali. While at the dam site, I was able to meet employees from every sector of the dam’s functioning, including the hydroelectric plant, the control station, environmental effects, health monitoring, maintenance, and accounting. This was a critical success for my summer research for several reasons. On a purely pragmatic level, the Manantali visit enabled me to establish robust links with key stakeholders involved in every facet of the Manantali dam project. Because I was given the opportunity to spend time with them and explain my project, I left feeling confident in their buy-in to my research questions and enthusiasm to facilitate more detailed work in the future. Furthermore, there is no replacement for the intangible benefits of seeing a research site in person. History happens in space and place, and having had the opportunity to experience this as I plan and conduct my research will be indispensable. I am grateful to WARA for their support. Likewise, I am grateful to all my Malian (and Senegalese and Mauritanian) collaborators who I cannot thank by name here. I encourage anyone interested in discussing my research further to contact me
My primary research activities included archival research in both the Archives Nationales du Mali and the institutional ar26
Rebecca Wall WARA 2015 Pre-Doctoral Fellow African History, Stanford University firstname.lastname@example.org
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From Our Fellows Hierarchies of suffering and resilience: Travesti experiences of vulnerability and exclusion in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire On a late evening in June in Abidjan, I met Sara, a selfidentified transsexual activist in her early 40s and a former sex worker, outside the headquarters of Alternative, Cote d’Ivoire, the country’s largest non-governmental organization (NGO) serving sexual and gender minorities. I was to accompany her on her nightly “sensitization” activities on sex worker strolls. Sara distributes condoms, provides counseling and directs sex workers to a local clinic funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for HIV test-
ing. I first met her while conducting dissertation fieldwork in Abidjan between 2010 and 2012. In the wake of Cote d’Ivoire’s 2010-2011 conflict and regime change, travestis – a category encompassing a diverse set of individuals who were sexed male at birth – had been subject to intense violence at the hands of the Ivoirian military and police forces. Furthermore, travestis found NGO spaces like Alternative, staffed mostly by local, gender-normative men, to be hostile. Many of these NGO staff members blamed gender minorities for bringing unwanted attention to the NGOs and most of the travestis I knew rarely attended the organization’s events. But Alternative’s recent hiring of Sara and Julie, a transgender activist in her early 20s and just beginning hormone therapy, seemed to suggest a change. “Things have gotten better. Travestis are finally implicated in Alternative’s work. Which means the girls [her preferred word when referring to travestis and transgender women] are starting to trust again” she told me. In Abidjan, 18% of men who have sex with men (MSM) are currently living with HIV. The extent to which the HIV epidemic impacts the lives of gender minorities, however, remains unclear. In the fight against concentrated HIV epidemics, MSM are often framed as a homogeneous population, with little attention paid to sexual and gender diversity and its impact on HIV vulnerability. Research and prevention efforts in which travestis and transgender women are grouped with “MSM” render them underrepresented and make their vulnerability difficult to quantify. Julie underscored the need for greater understanding of issues facing transgendered individuals, arguing that a clearer representation of transgender, travesti, and transsexual lives were an imperative first step in West African Research Association
this process. “Once we get past the case of travestis and try to talk about transgender, people don’t even know what that is. So you have to explain everything. So at Alternative, we try to, well personally I try to make people understand,” she told me. With support from the WARA Post-doctoral Fellowship, I conducted 11 weeks of fieldwork with travestis and transgender women in Abidjan this summer. Sharing in the daily life of Sara and other activists, they introduced me to broader social networks of travestis, particularly those who were not reached by the efforts of peer educators and activists from local NGOs. I engaged in ethnographic observation, focusing on where travestis congregate and whether and how they are connected to broader sexual and gender minority communities in Abidjan. I also took detailed field notes on their bodily comportment and other gendered strategies, including their involvement in sex work. I conducted interviews with 12 travestis and explored their lived experiences beyond the violence and stigma they faced. This more nuanced and balanced understanding of sexual and gender minority experience challenges prevailing discourses of victimhood on the continent. Travestis and transgender women have experienced simultaneous invisibility when HIV/AIDS programs fail to include them and hypervisibility as victims of state- sponsored violence. In a country that has been relatively tolerant of sexual minorities, gender minorities find themselves in positions of extreme precarity. My research this past summer showed that though many travestis have accepted their positions within this continuum of vulnerability as “normal”, some, like Sara, have begun to organize for further inclusion and tolerance in their communities and in Cote d’Ivoire at large, positioning Alternative as a potential space of inclusion.In July, Julie informed me that she would be pursuing financing to create her own organization, the Trans in Cote d’Ivoire Initiative and spoke of the hope and strength it would give her and other gender minorities in Abidjan. My research this summer showed that an increase in such organizing efforts has provided a source of strength to travestis and transgender women facing violence, HIV vulnerability and social exclusion.
Matthew Thomann 2015 WARA Postdoctoral Fellow Mailman School of Public Health International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) Columbia University email@example.com
All research participants, including Sara, have been given pseudonyms. i.
From Our Fellows Recherche de gènes de molécules bioactives à partir de souches bactériennes : cas des bactéries productrices de bactériocines Je suis un doctorant en troisieme annee dans l’option Sciences Biologiques Appliquees, dans la specialite Microbiologie et Biologie Moleculaire a l’Universite de Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), ayant beneficie de WARA Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Fall de 2014. Cette etude a ete conduite de Mars a Juin 2015 dans le laboratoire de Biologie et de Typage Moleculaire des Microorganismes de l’Universite d’Abomey-Calavi (Benin).
Les parametres d’amplification sont : denaturation initiale a 95°C/3min, denaturation a 95°C/45s, hybridation a 60°C ou 56°C/45s, elongation a 72°C/1 min et une elongation finale a 72°C/5 min. Séquençage : Les produits PCR obtenus ont ete purifies en utilisant Wizard R SV Gel and PCR Clean-up System (Promega, USA) et sequences par GENOSCREEN (Lille, France).
Résultats et Discussion La comparaison des sequences nucleotidiques partielles du gene 16S rRNA disponibles via NCBI (http:// blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Blast.cgi) (Baxevanis, 2011; Gibney et Baxevanis, 2011) par alignement a permis Synthèse bibliographique d’obtenir des taux d’identite Les bacteries lactiques productrices variant de 87% a 99%. Le de bacteriocines peuvent avoir taux d’identite de 87% plusieurs effets positifs sur les obtenu pour la souche aliments : augmentent les valeurs lactique S3 etant faible et nutritionnelles des aliments, inferieur a 95% permet reduisent la formation de produits d’identifier cette derniere toxiques, contribuent a la comme Lactobacillus sp. Par diminution des gaz dus a la contre le taux d’identite est fermentation, ameliorent le gout, la superieur a 95% pour les qualite du produit fini et ont un role souches S4, Y6 et Lf1, donc probiotique. C’est pourquoi elles et elles sont respectivement surtout les especes de Lactobacillus Lactobacillus plantarum sont reconnues comme sur ou GRAS Equipe ayant fait la visite à GANVIE, cité lacustre situé près strain S4, Lactobacillus d’Abomey-Calvi (A gauche : moi ; Au milieu : le guide et à droite (Generally Recognized As Safe). plantarum strain Y6 et Durand, doctorant dans le Labo du Pr Lamine S. BABA-MOUSSA). Lactobacillus plantarum Les Bases de donnees biologiques strain Lf1 (Figure 1). En jouent un role central dans la bioinformatique car elles effet, les parametres d’alignement utilises sont ceux suggeres offrent aux scientifiques l'occasion d'acceder a une grande par Ladunga (Ladunga, 2009). variete de donnees biologiquement pertinentes, y compris un large eventail de sequences genomiques de divers L’alignement des sequences partielles via NCBI et Bagel3 organismes (Baxevanis, 2011). (http://bagel.molgenrug.nl/index.php/bagel3) (van Heel et al., 2013) a permis d’identifier l’existence potentielle des Méthodologie : differents locus de plantaricines, bacteriocines a deux Méthode bactériologique : 4 souches de Lactobacillus composantes de classe IIb synthetisees par les especes de precedemment decrites par Taale (Taale et al., 2013) ont Lactobacillus plantarum. D’apres les resultats, l’organisation ete obtenues en utilisant les methodes standards de genetiques des bacteriocines peut etre subdivisee en quatre microbiologie. (4) operons differents : operon plnABCD (retrouve chez Lactobacillus plantarum strain S4 et Lactobacillus plantarum Méthode de biologie moléculaire : L’ADN total de strain Y6) ; operon plnEFI (toutes les especes) ; operon chaque souche a ete extrait en utilisant QIAamp DNA Mini plnGHSTUVW (retrouve chez Lactobacillus plantarum strain Kit (QIAgen, France). S3 et Lactobacillus plantarum strain Y6) et operon plnJKLR La PCR a consiste a amplifier le gene 16S rRNA en utilisant (Lactobacillus plantarum strain S4 et Lactobacillus plantarum les couples d’amorces LbF (5’strain Lf1) (Tableau 1). Ces differents operons renferment GGAATCTTCCACAATGGACG-3’) et LbR (5’des Opening Reading Frame (ORFs) (Diep et al., 1996). CGCTTTACGCCCAATAAATCCGG-3’)(Bakar et al., 2010) et Plusieurs auteurs ont reporte que le gene pln est un gene BacF (5’- AAGAGTTTGATCCTGGCTCAG-3’) et BacR (5’mosaîque (Diep et Nes, 1995; Ben Omar et al., 2008; Knoll et CTACGGCTACCTTGTTACGA-3’) (Diop et al., 2008) al., 2008; Diep et al., 2009). (Eurofins mwg operon, Allemagne). Le milieu reactionnel est constitue de 5X Colorless GoTaq Flexi Buffer (Promega, USA), dNTPs Mix 10mM, amorces (20µM), Taq DNA polymerase, du DNA et eau. Objectif Cette etude a consiste a caracteriser 4 souches de Lactobacillus bacteriocinogenes par les techniques de PCR, de sequençage et de bioinformatique.
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From Our Fellows
Figure 1 : Relation phylogenetique entre les souches lactiques etudiees
ABC Tr= ABC Transporter
aIdentity b E-value
Conclusion : Cette etude a permis d’identifier les quatre souches de lactobacillus comme Lactobacillus sp. et Lactobacillus plantarum. Ces especes bacteriennes jouent un role indispensable dans les produits fermentes locaux africains. Cette mobilite nous a permis de pouvoir disposer ces resultats, qui on espere contribueront a l’avancee des connaissances des Lactobacillus retrouve dans les produits traditionnels africains. De plus cette mobilite m’a permis de gagner en experiences et en relations humaines.
Essodolom Taale 2015 WARC Travel Grantee Centre de Recherche en Sciences Biologiques, Alimentaires et Nutritionnelles (CRSBAN) Departement de Biochimie – Microbiologie Unite de Formation et de Recherche en Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre (UFR-SVT) Universite de Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
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Arts in West Africa
Photo courtesy of SAPO news. Mario Lucio, a musician and Minister of Culture, stands before the National Ballet of Cabo Verde, representing Cabo Verdean dancers living in Cabo Verde and abroad. unite many tensions between fractured identities, local languages, class lines, and understandings of historical tradition. Because of their significant impact and ability to produce such a cohesive movement language, I predicted in 2012 that Raiz di Polon would continue to rise in recognition of their work. In some ways my prediction has been realized in the last two years since finishing my dissertation research. Director of Raiz di Polon, Mano Preto, is now the choreographer and director of the newly established Ballet Nacional de Cabo Verde, also known as Cabo Verde Ballet, accompanied by the new Orquestra Nacional de Cabo Verde, with Raiz di Polon dancers making up the foundational core of the company. The company also unites Cabo Verdean dancers living in various countries such as Senegal, Brazil, Portugal, and more. Given that more Cape Verdeans live outside of Cabo Verde than within the islands, the international makeup of the company strongly represents Cabo Verdean identity.
Continued from page 1 In their promotional videos for their first work, “Cabo Verde Aguarela,” which means, “Cabo Verde Watercolor,” the Ministry of Culture promotes the company as a diverse collective in the form of feet—delicately held in ballet positions, or walking heavily in random directions. However, even as the press has triumphed over their debut and goals, participants are questioning whether or not celebration is premature. Feedback critiques the work as a recreation of Raiz di Polon’s previous works, without drawing from the diversity of company members. If the project is based in Raiz di Polon’s choreographic style, which has a proven success rate, why would the artistic and cultural cohesion be so questionable?
DANCE AND THE NATION Perhaps one reason is because dance is now explicitly tied to the Cabo Verdean government, bringing added aesthetic pressures. Consider the use of the word, “Ballet” when only a small portion of the company has any training in classical ballet. Could “ballet” be a reference to standards of European
Video still of promotional teaser for Cabo Verde Ballet, by the Ministry of Culture 2015. CABO VERDE BALLET The Cabo Verde Ballet experienced several false starts during my research phase in 2012, and their now two-year season marks a cultural triumph for the nation and for contemporary African dance. The central objective for the company is to “Create a new aesthetic language with a crioulo accent” (Preto 4) and to further professionalize dance in Cabo Verde. I look forward to documenting how this government-supported new company impacts the history of dance in Cabo Verde. 30
technique, or is it merely a general word for dance? Could the term represent the government’s attempt to tie the company to the European end of the controversial European-African cultural spectrum? As Anthony Shay questions in his book, Choreographic Politics (2002), “Since the government is footing the bill, to what degree does the government expect to influence the content and other aspects of the national dance company?” (53). As one anonymous dancer has revealed, “We
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Arts in West Africa are so many dancers from around the world, so we must have multiple interpretations, and not just the one they want” (Anonymous). My research will have challenges and require political neutrality. Few dancers will want to appear critical towards the project, because many are satisfied with finally being paid to dance professionally. I look forward to learning about how definitions of contemporariness shift as part of the political power matrix, how Raiz di Polon’s community outreach history may shift or alter with their involvement in the national dance company, and how the formation of a national company will change corporeal creolization. I will draw from the work of national dance company historians Sally Ness (1997) and Janet O’Shea (2007) as I extend my seven years of research into 2016. After graduating from UCLA’s department of World Arts and Cultures|Dance in 2012, I have been working in the field of community arts engagement through Lincoln Center Education in New York, and my experiences will inform how I view the interplay between schools, community projects, performances, and governmental involvement. I look forward to reporting back with the WARA community as my research progresses. Sara Stranovsky S.firstname.lastname@example.org Ness, Sally. 1997. “Originality in the Postcolony: Choreographing the NeoEthnic Body of the Phillipine Ballet.” Cultural Anthropology 12(1): 64–108. O’Shea, Janet. 2007. At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. Preto, Mano. “Libretu lançamento do Cabo Verde.” 2015. Publicity press release. Shay, Anthony. 2002. Choreographic Politics: State Folk Dance Companies, Representation, and Power. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.
Raiz di Polon, in Portuguese and Kriolu means “Roots of the Polon tree,” an emblematic and strong tree that holds a similarly African connotation as the baobab tree. The official language is Portuguese, dating back to the country’s state as a colonial nation pre-Independence. Efforts have been made to officialize the local creole language called Krioulo, but so many variants exist depending on each island, that no consensus has yet been achieved.
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Announcement Jamaican Maroon Cultural Group Fall 2016 US Tour Through the support of the Center for Collaborative and International Arts (CENCIA) at Georgia State University, the Granny Nanny Cultural Group, a 13-member Jamaican Maroon performance ensemble from the Moore Town Maroon settlement, will be touring the United States in fall 2016. The group was formed in the early 1990s to honor the legacy of their 18th century Akan warrior priestess, Queen Nanny of the Windward Jamaican Maroons (AKA Grandy Nanny, Granny Nanny, or Nanny of the Maroons), who is Jamaica’s only female National Hero. They will be staging musical performances, conducting master workshops and demonstrations (drumming, dancing, singing, and arts & crafts), and giving talks at colleges, universities, K-12 schools, libraries, community centers and festivals. In 2008, the Maroon heritage of Moore Town was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2003). In 2015, their ancestral territories in the Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park in Jamaica were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The US tour, which will begin in Atlanta in August 2016, will feature live performances, including songs from their forthcoming album Granny Nanny Come Oh (produced by Dr. Harcourt Fuller), which features a range of traditional Maroon musical genres, oral histories, stories, and Maroon language. There will also be screenings of the 2015 documentary-film Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess (produced by Dr. Harcourt Fuller and Roy T. Anderson), in which members of the Granny Nanny Cultural Group appear as performers and actors. In addition to being part of the United Nations Remember Slavery Program film series, Queen Nanny was nominated for an Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) honor at the 2016 Pan African Film Festival. The tour will also feature a photo exhibition on the Maroons, traditional Maroon arts & crafts, as well as intellectual symposia with scholarly publications, poetry, literature readings and talks on topics of historical, contemporary, political, cultural, spiritual, and environmental relevance to the Maroons. We invite the WARA community to be a part of this historic tour by bringing the Jamaican Maroon Cultural Tour to your campuses and organizations. We especially encourage institutional collaborations in bringing the group to particular cities. Please email Dr. Harcourt Fuller, Assistant Professor of History at GSU, at email@example.com for further details. Visit www.grannynannymaroons.com for more information about the Jamaican Maroons, the Granny Nanny Cultural Group, and their tour schedule.
WARA 2015 Undergrad Award Winning Papers 2015 was the inaugural year for the WARA Undergraduate Paper Competition. Here we feature the papers of the four winners, Jethro Israel (Lafayette College), Iyeyinka Omigbodun (Harvard College), Debbie Onuoha (Harvard University), and Colin Bos (University of Chicago) Congratulations!
Your Land But My Food: The Colonialist Effect of Land Grabbing in West Africa Jethro Israel Land and its control have long been a source of conflict both locally and globally. In our current global social climate there is a growing fear of food security. The growth rate of consumption is constantly on the rise as populations grow or become smaller. A global fear of long term food scarcity has kick started a global game of land grabbing. Primary targets are seized through aesthetically attractive, yet coercive programs, leases, and purchases that actively force the target’s hand. Western Africa, due to its favorable agricultural environments and geographic location, is an area that has seen and will continue to see an invasion of entities staking claim through the guise of legal business. As a consequence of these legal acquisitions, domestic pastoralists have seen their way of life challenged and pushed to the brink of dissolution. The forced relocation of local peoples due to the acquisition of their land by foreign parties creates tensions over land use and land ownership. Conflicts of interest between herders and farmers are also sometimes overlapped with the historical dynamic of local ethnic relations. This in turn creates ethical predicaments that place the national government in a very polarizing positon. Pastoralists that are very mobile come into contact with a variety of other groups as they make their way through different territorial regions. Unfortunately, sometimes their presence can lead to conflict that forces the government to intervene. When they are called upon to intervene and bring forth a solution, the unique elements of the conflict outweigh and deter a strict response. One decision to back a particular party over another can lead to serious issues of national security. In this essay I examine the nature of this intersectional conflict using cases set in Senegal and Cameroon primarily with additional context from neighboring countries. Senegalese farmers and herders have seen the transnational corporation Senhuile SA acquire thousands of hectares of land in the Ndiael Reserve. This area was home to roughly 40 villages (Ardo Sow, Frederic Mousseau, Katia Roux, 2014). Senhuile SA is a partnership between Italy’s Tampieri Financial Group, Senegalese investors, and Agro Bioethics international (Ardo Sow, Frederic Mousseau, Katia Roux, 2014). There is a deliberate targeting that is occurring beneath the surface level seduction. Deals struck between private parties are seen as job creators and development fosterers in the eyes of World Bank who actively support agricultural development in Africa (Tran, 2012). Unknown by many of the inhabitants, community well-being is actively being relegated to secondary and tertiary concern whilst these deals are being struck. In Guinea the American 32
corporation Farm Lands of Guinea Inc. (FLGI) controls land that it uses to produce corn and soy for export or production of agro fuels. The Guinean government has entrusted FLGI with prospecting for an additional 1.5 million hectares to lease to other investors. This contract yields them only a 15% commission. (Grain, 2012)The product is being exported at the same time as its profits. An agreement based on commission leaves too much room for inconsistencies. These inconsistencies monetarily place potential beneficial initiatives that may spring board off of the initial deal struck in jeopardy. In addition to FLGI’s involvements, Saudi Arabia is also active in land grabbing in Senegal. Saudi Arabi is doing what many others are doing in terms of product destination. Their rice production is immediately exported to feed the people of their country (Grain, 2012). Thus, what Senhuile SA and Saudi Arabia are doing in Senegal can be easily understood through a capitalistic lens. Due to the fear of food scarcity these parties have decided to act in a way that is beneficial for them but detrimental for their produces. Between 2007 and 2008 global food prices soared. This opened the ears and wallets of agricultural organizations. This was seen as the time to capitalize on a global demand for food and food security. Hanne Kristine Adriansen and Thomas Thies Nielsen (2002) examined pastoral mobility in Ferlo, Senegal a few years before the surge of food prices in 20072008 (Tran, 2012). In their article, Adriansens and Nielsen discuss mobility as it pertains to how the people of Ferlo navigate their environment as a central part of their mode of living. They establish the scenario of functionality that existed in this region prior to the discussion of land grabbing. Transhumant modes of production prior to the rise in food prices, was a process that needed consistent access to land and water. The needs of particular animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats control the direction of travel of transhumant people. Bodies of water are essential locations that often shape the motion patterns. Therefore, if a
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WARA 2015 Undergrad Award Winning Papers migrating body of herders is pushed off track, the possibility of health casualties to their livestock could be far too great to allow happening. With that we can begin to see how the invasion of outsiders can confuse the historically entrenched relationship between the local people and their land. When the primary mode of production is challenged and unsuccessful in maintaining authority and immediate shift will naturally take place. This may not be seen as an issue to those corporations hover above the region with their global positioning and who try to identify the most suitable land for agricultural production and export. Instead of extending an offer of bipartisanship, one sided decisions are implemented and reaffirmed. As a result, mobile and sedentary groups are displaced and often brought within a small proximity of other ethnic groups that are also vying for control of an area of land to live off of. The inherent differences in the nature of farmers and herders makes it difficult for ethnic groups that are extreme in either direction to share the same area. Their modes of production simply require different interactions with the land and its nearest water supply. Andreas Dafinger and Michaela Pelican examine this very conflict in their study conducted on farmer-herder relations in northwestern Cameroon. Dafinger and Pelican concluded that for groups that were displaced issues of land rights and farmer-herder spatial relations produced a mix of outcomes. In northwestern Cameroon violent conflicts were part of the outcomes as differing groups were not able to successful inhabit the same area due to differences in modes of production. These conflicts can be directly tied to a competition for resources (Andreas Dafinger, Michaela Pelican, 2006). Once owners of their own territories, now opposition facing a struggle to maintain and reproduce sufficiently in that may not be conducive to both modes of production. At this point, some outside observers may be tempted to ask about the government’s influence, or even efforts, in facilitating a better resolution. The government is capable of stepping in and having an influence but the resolution may not be resolved in accordance with the goals of the involved parties. When two sides are in conflict, one side must usually be identified as the correct or responsible party. The Woila Fulbe group demanded protection from cattle thieves from the Cameroonian government. Ideally, one would assume that the support would go to the Woila as they seemingly are the victims. Differing from belief, Cameroonian police officers and soldiers are guilty of arresting the Fulbe that had defended themselves against the cattle thieves (Mark Moritz and Paul Scholte, 2011). Once violence and death are thrown into the equation it becomes an ethical problem that has the ability to send reverberations throughout the nation. For the government to not only select one type of community over another and to also allow and extend leases and contracts to outsiders is to create and fuel doubt in the government’s ability to govern effectively. This sort of thing creates the “unrest” that we witness on our televisions.
modes of production met the demands of capitalism for a detrimental outcome. Land is currently often acquired through deals struck with international agencies, private, and even other nations for either resource extraction or material production. Land in this case becomes privately owned territory acquired for a particular production but in the case of land grabbing it is most commonly utilized for commercial agriculture. Most beneficial aspects of these acquisitions are not received by those systematical forced into readjustment. Similar to the displaced 40 villages of the Ndiael reserve region of Senegal, people that fall victim to land grabbing deals are left with only two options; either abandon what they know and take up new occupations, or relocate. Land grabbing is a current and growing issue that must been seen for what it is exactly; another form of colonialism.
Jethro Israel Lafayette Class of 2016 Israel@lafayette.edu
Bibliography Andreas Dafinger, Michaela Pelican. (2006). Sharing or Diving the Land? Land rights and farmer-herder relations in Burkina Faso and Northwest Cameroon. Canadian Journal of African Studies, 127-151. Ardo Sow, Frederic Mousseau, Katia Roux. (2014). Senegalese farmers and herders demand shady transnational conglomerate Senhuile SA get off thier land. farmlandgrab.org. Grain. (2012). Land grabbing and food sovereignty in West and Central Africa. Grain.org. Mark Moritz and Paul Scholte. (2011). Ethical Predicaments, Advocating security for mobile pastoralists in weak states. Anthropology Today, 12-17. Tran, M. (2012). Land deals in Africa have led to a wild westbring on the sheriff says FAO. theguardian.com.
The act of land grabbing does far more than just provide surplus resources to its initiator; it reproduces the very conflicts created by colonialism that ultimately threw Africa into a state of discord. The legitimacy of historically evolved West African Research Association
WARA 2015 Undergrad Award Winning Papers Akunyili’s Story and Gendered Dynamics in Political Leadership in Nigeria Iyeyinka Omigbodun “For her, all Nigerian tribes are united in declaring: This is a woman in whom we are all pleased.” These words form the ending to the opening paragraph of one of the many eulogies that were written in honor of Prof. Dora Akunyili after her death from cervical cancer in 2014 (Onuoha). After Akunyili’s death, many people from diverse walks of life wrote blogs and social media posts declaring their love and admiration for this woman, which is uncommon when a political leader in Nigeria dies. Who is this public leader that captured the heart of many Nigerians? Dora Akunyili served as the Director of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) between 2001 and 2008 before serving as Minister of Information and Communications between 2008 and 2010. Subsequently, Akunyili resigned from this position to run for Senate. Right from when she assumed political leadership, Akunyili gained widespread visibility as an effective leader. She is reputed to have reduced the incidence of fake drugs in Nigeria by ninety percent, and she won over 250 local and international awards in recognition of her efforts (Gberevbie). This paper focuses on the way that Dora Akunyili is being remembered by Nigerians to explore the ways in which the representations of this well-loved public figure are reflective of gender dynamics in the realm of political leadership. By engaging with writings that appreciate her life, I attempt to explore the question of what members of the Nigerian public perceive to be the ideal gendered characteristics for female political leaders and thus contribute to the body of knowledge that focuses on the influence of gender on the public reception of women who assume or attempt to assume positions of political leadership in Africa. In investigating this question, I analyzed eulogies that were written in honor of Akunyili published in major online Nigerian newspapers, blogs, and other social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Thus, I engage with eulogies written by statesmen, journalists, and other members of civil society including youth, which have been published in media that are read by an equally wide-ranging audience. Furthermore, most of them are idealized representations of Akunyili’s life so they are reflections of the qualities that people found endearing in Akunyili and provide insight into what gendered characteristics people felt made her worthy of elevation to heroic status. From examining these tributes to Akunyili, I argue that people consider the ability to balance performing masculinities and femininities, that is, the capability to both conform to and challenge gender stereotypes, as ideal characteristics of women in political leadership. While there are quite a number of scholars who have dealt with the subject of women and political leadership in Nigeria and Africa generally, most scholarship has been focused on why women are underrepresented in positions of political leadership (Gberevbie; Kasomo; Nelson; Pogoson). Fewer 34
works of scholarship focus on women who have actually attained positions of leadership and a lot of the work in this genre has been done on the life of Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, who is the first female president of an African nation-state (Adams; Thomas and Adams). Melinda Adams investigates how SirleafJohnson was able to assume the presidency, a political position previously off-limits to women, and also explores the gendered aspects of her electoral campaign. Like Adams, I engage in-depth with life of a single contemporary female political leader but in the context of a different country to see what insights can be gained about gender dynamics in political leadership in Africa. However, my approach is different from Adams because I am more focused on people’s perceptions of a female political leader and what this reveals about the gendered ideas that members of the public have about women in political leadership. Analyzing Akunyili’s tributes reveal that one of the performed femininities that people admire is her wifehood and motherhood, which is a gender role on which high cultural importance is placed in Nigeria (Carwile 159). This emerges in a tribute by Jossy Nkwocha, a male journalist who wrote in BusinessDay, “As an analyst, I can place Akunyili’s success story on seven pillars… Sixthly, she seems to be a good family woman- a wife and a mother”. Nkwocha’s tribute reflects how he considers Akunyili’s family life to be an important factor that enabled her to be an ideal female political leader. Also, Yakubu Gowon, one of Nigeria’s foremost statesmen said, “You cannot get a better woman than her. She was a fantastic wife, mother and grandmother. I think the nation had one of the greatest gifts of human beings in Dora” (DailyPost). Gowon’s statement reflects how he sees Akunyili’s ability to have been a gift to the nation as tightly linked with her strong family life. Thus, one quality that forms an integral part of people’s admiration of this female political leader is her wifehood and motherhood. In addition, the tributes to Akunyili are full of feminine adjectives such as soft, gracious, sympathetic, understanding, peacemaker and caring showing how people consider Akunyili’s embodiment of stereotypical femininity to be integral to what made her a good political leader. While these idealized remembrances reveal that Akunyili was admired because she embodied femininity, they also highlight how she performed masculinized gender roles. One of the performed masculinities that a lot of the eulogies highlight is Akunyili’s intellectualism. In a eulogy titled “Eulogy for Dora”, Ebelechukwu Obiano, the wife of a politician, writes, “In the field of academics, Prof. (Dora Akunyili) was a colossus amongst men”. In this statement, Obiano shows how Dora Akunyili’s outstanding intellectual achievements situated her within a male-dominated realm and reflected her ability to perform stereotypical male qualities. Indeed, intellectualism is culturally constructed as a masculine quality in Nigeria as universities are widely considered to be terrains of masculinity, which partly stems from the underrepresentation of women in these institutions of higher learning (Odejide 10). Thus, in accentuating Akunyili’s intellectual achievements in their eulogies, people are expressing that this woman’s ability to act like a man made her an ideal female political leader. In fact, a 10-minute video made in her honor spends about four minutes chronicling her academic career (Odigwe). Many of the eulogies also represent Akunyili as a fighter and a person
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WARA 2015 Undergrad Award Winning Papers who inspired fear in others, which are socio-culturally considered to be stereotypical male characteristics. Jossy Nkwocha writes, “She dared the dangerous lions in their dens”. Femi Adebayo, a pharmacist, said, “Dora rode where men trembled, especially her fight against fake counterfeit and adulterated drugs”. Thus, members of the public portray Dora Akunyili’s performance of masculinities of being a fighter and fearsome as integral to what made her a good female political leader. Perhaps, what most faithfully captures how people perceived this female political leader to have embodied both masculine and feminine qualities is her sobriquet, “The Great Amazon” that appears in tribute upon tribute. The word “Amazon” signifies a tall strong and masculine woman and so by referring to Akunyili as such, people are expressing how she captivated people’s hearts by being a womanly man and a manly woman. In examining Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson’s life, Melinda Adams identifies a similar phenomenon and shows how Sirleaf-Johnson demonstrated traditionally masculine traits while also emphasizing her femininity in her campaign for presidency in order to gain support (125). The careers of Dora Akunyili and Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson demonstrate that members of the public in African countries are endeared to female political leaders who exhibit a balance of both traditional masculine and feminine traits because their performance of masculinity is perceived as a reflection of their ability to navigate the male-dominated field of politics. However, their performance of femininity shows that they are still conforming to socio-cultural expectations of gender roles, which mitigates the level of threat that they pose to existing gender structures considering that they are stepping outside of normative cultural expectations when they assume positions of political power (Gberevbie 101). Dora Akunyili’s death brought a whole nation together in mourning in a way that is very rare for a political leader. Examining the different ways that this popular female political figure is being idealized reveals a lot about what people consider to be model gendered characteristics for women in political leadership. Akunyili’s eulogies reveal a woman who endeared herself to the people of a nation because she was a mother and a fighter, a peacemaker and an intellectual, masculine and feminine. Indeed, Akunyili’s life shows how gender is important in the often genderneutered sphere of politics. “Adieu, The Great Amazon.”
Iyeyinka Omigbodun Harvard College
firstname.lastname@example.org. West African Research Association
Black Man’s Grave: Disease Writing and Colonization in Liberia, 18221858 Colin Bos Many historians have argued that disease mortality in tropical Africa prevented Europeans from establishing settler colonies there. Although the promise of profit drew merchants and soldiers to the “White Man’s Grave,” malaria and yellow fever helped to hinder any substantial white settlement. According to this narrative, the colonial occupation of the late nineteenth century was made possible when European doctors learned to administer quinine, a treatment for malaria, as a prophylactic. That story leaves out, however, a significant group of settlers who did build a colony in West Africa. That colony, Liberia, was established by Americans of African descent in 1822. From the outset, settlers suffered a high rate of disease mortality. By 1843, half of the four thousand immigrants from the United States had died, many from malaria. And malaria, which the settlers referred to as the acclimating or African fever, made almost all of them severely ill. Yet this crushing disease burden did not drive settlers to abandon the colony. In fact, many stayed, and many wrote home to encourage others to join them in Africa. In this paper, I analyze what I refer to as “disease writing,” that is, the way immigrants to Liberia made meaning from disease in their letters, treatises, and dispatches from the 1820s through the 1850s. I argue that the debates that emerged among black Liberia settlers around malaria offer a window onto their anxieties, goals, and worldview. They tried to find ways of reassuring potential migrants, of conveying this understanding to others back home. The settlers came up with a variety of excuses, assurances, and ways of thinking about disease mortality. They used disease to talk about industry, agriculture, nationhood, and political rights. Disease writing permeated Liberia’s social and political fabric; it affected discussion ranging from everyday hygiene to debates about state policies and infrastructure projects. Disease played a major role in settler writing from the outset. For settlers in the 1820s, disease served as a badge of honor that distinguished their efforts to create a free colony for black settlers. Settlers used the acclimating fever to compare their experiences in Liberia with their life in the United States. Suffering from acclimating fever, they told potential immigrants, was better than being deprived of freedom and living in a state of “mental sloth.” In their “Address of the Colonists to the Free People of Colour in the United States,” written and signed by a large portion of the settler population at a meeting in Monrovia in 1827, the settlers dealt with fears of disease mortality directly. “We have nearly all suffered from sickness,” they acknowledged, and “a large proportion fell in the arduous attempt to lay the foundation of the Colony.” For the colonists, sickness was a “sacrifice” for the “cause of human liberty.” Better, they noted, to enjoy the benefits of liberty in Liberia than to stay in “our native country” where death was inevitable anyway.
WARA 2015 Undergrad Award Winning Papers Free African Americans, by and large, did not share this view: an 1830 report from a colonization supporter voiced concerns that disease was dissuading potential immigrants. The settlers showed little tolerance for such fears, suggesting that such concerns were a sign of mental servility: “we know not among you,” they said “who prefers rational independence… to the mental sloth and careless poverty which you already possess.” Here settlers used disease as a kind of reverse psychology, telling their audience back home that because of this “mental sloth and careless poverty”, they “solicit none of you to immigrate to this colony.” In their Address, the colonists challenged African Americans to realize their aspiration for “rational independence” even at the possible expense of their life. Those who were worried about the African fever, they suggested, were simply unprepared to make the sacrifice. Over the course of the late 1820s and early 1830s, a new form of disease writing emerged. Now settlers argued that death from African fever could be avoided with hard work and proper conduct. These explanations stressed discipline, strength of will, and the possession of a large budget. One settler, Nathan Huks, wrote to a friend, “should you come out, you must expect to undergo the fever of the country,” but that one’s life “depends altogether on the manner you prepare yourself to receive it.” Survival required the utmost vigilance to ward off fever, including “keep[ing] yourself perfectly neat, using as much exercise as possible…not so as to fatigue the system.” Another settler, Beverly Wilson, noted that “the severity” of the fever solely depended on “your attention or non -attention to diet and exercise.” Colonial officials also stressed discipline and hygiene. One doctor, George Todsen, recommended that immigrants amass a large wardrobe, and wash it regularly, while, paradoxically, avoiding exertion. The disease rhetoric of the 1830s coincided with growing concerns that too many of immigrants were “indolent,” arriving unwilling to work. Elizabeth Winder, a settler, wrote that “all it [Liberia] wants is industrious people.” An ACS ship captain remarked that “numbers of emigrants arrive unwilling to labor.” Jehudi Ashmun, the colonial agent, observed that the colony was stratifying into four social groups, one being a class of vagrants who lacked the willingness to work even though they were acclimated to the climate. It is perhaps not surprising that disease writing came to emphasize the work and exercise necessary to survive African fever. Such advice was tied to anxieties about the supply of capable, industrious labor in the fledgling colony. In the late 1830s, increasing use of quinine improved Liberia’s health. Settlers, however, attributed the reduction in immigrant mortality to land cultivation and draining. Under these improved circumstances, the emphasis of disease writing shifted again. Further improvements to the colony’s healthiness, settlers argued, were possible if they could continue to cultivate the land. Disease became a motivation for agricultural projects and other “internal improvements” that would in turn bolster the reputation of the Liberian state. Armistead Miller, a student at the new Ashmun College in Monrovia and author of the 1858 pamphlet Liberia Described, provides a good example of this new discourse. Noting that it
was a “pretty well-established fact, that the malaria, or miasma, is the principle cause of this sickness,” Miller asked his readers to “think for a moment” about a “country covered with dense forest of perpetual green.” For Miller, this “perpetual green” was the origin of these miasmas, or noxious swamps. Clearing them would improve Liberia’s health. This process would also allow Liberia to be “more conspicuous in the family of nations.” Miller, along with most Liberians, considered agriculture to be Liberia’s path to national glory. Agricultural improvements would eradicate fever from the country and establish the nation as “one of the most agricultural on the globe.” Ideas about disease thus helped to bolster settler agriculture, which settlers viewed as important to achieving Liberia’s prestige among nations. In this essay, I have shown how settler writing about disease was wrapped up in their anxieties, their dreams for the future, and their worldview. Paying attention to disease writing allows us to understand how the settlers of Liberia made sense of their surrounding environment and their national project. My research also shows that the narrative of the “White Man’s Grave,” which focuses on relationship between race, disease, and colonization in Africa, is far more complex than previously thought. Colin Bos University of Chicago Colin.email@example.com 1 Laszlo
Mathe-Shires, “Imperial Nightmares: The British Image of the ‘deadly climate of West Africa, c. 1840-1874,” European Review of History 8, no. 2 (2001): 137-138; Philip Curtin, ‘The White Man's Grave:’ Image and Reality, 1780-1850,” Journal of British Studies 1, no. 1 (1961): 102-103 2 “Address of the Colonists to the Free People of Colour in the U.S.,” The African Repository and Colonial Journal 3, no. 10 (December 1827), 301-304. 3 “Report of Josiah F. Polk” The African Repository and Colonial Journal 6, no. 3 (May 1830), 76. 4 “Address of the Colonists,” 302. 5 Nathan Huks, “Letters from Colonists” The African Repository and Colonial Journal 9, no. 9 (November 1833): 286. 6 Beverly Wilson, “To the Free Coloured People of the United States” The African Repository and Colonial Journal 11, no. 8 (August 1835): 246. 7 Dr. Todsen, “Dr. Todsen’s Observations,” The African Repository and Colonial Journal 9, no. 8 (October 1833): 233-235. 8 Elizabeth Winder, “The Colony of Liberia Slandered,” The African Repository and Colonial Journal 9, no. 7 (September 1833): 264. 9 Captain Vorhees, “Letter from Captain Vorhees, of the United States’ Navy,” The African Repository and Colonial Journal 10, no 1 (March 1834): 21. 10 Jehudi Ashmun, “Latest from Liberia,” The African Repository and Colonial Journal 4, no. 1 (March 1828): 16-18. 11 Armistead Miller, Liberia Described, (Philadelphia: Joseph M. Wilson, 1859): 12-14.
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WARA 2015 Undergrad Award Winning Papers The Lesser Evil: Dumping as Environmental Choice in Accra, Ghana Debbie Onuoha
computer monitor; and an old tyre among many other unidentifiable objects, floated down the lagoon in the early evening breeze. Now and again, from the small wooden shacks at our backs, someone would come forth and empty their basin of household trash, building up the already high mounds of rubbish along the banks of the Korle: To me its not the best but the point is that where do they have to collect, to deposit their filth or their waste? They can’t put it in their rooms! So automatically they have to find a place to get it all deposited. And they see this as a resort because the government also doesn’t care much about it. They don’t care, but if they cared they would have even given them a place to put their waste.
With a catchment area of about 400km2, the Korle Lagoon is the largest drainage channel in Accra. Though many do remember, moments in time when the lagoon provided ample tilapia and crabs for local fishermen, a swimming spot for young boys, and a hub of canoe transport for traders, present uses of the lagoon are a far cry from this its idyllic past. Nowadays the Korle Lagoon exists as one of the planet’s most polluted bodies of water. “Because of this Sodom and Gomorrah enti na ɛyɛ saa [that it is like that]!” remarked the Korle Wulomo during an interview, “it is my wish and my desire sɛ yɛndredgi lagoon na yɛnyi Sodom and Gomorrah foɔ enfiri hɔ, na lagoon ɛmba [we should dredge the lagoon and we should remove the Sodom and Gomorrah people from there, then the lagoon will go] back to how it used to be in the past”. Very often this accusation is leveled against the Old Fadama slum to call for its demolition. Derogatorily referred to as “Sodom and Gomorrah”, Old Fadama is home to about 100,000 of the city’s poorest inhabitants—mostly from the country’s Muslim north. Lacking access to garbage collection and other basic services, most residents dispose of household waste and sewerage by dumping into the nearby water. The municipal authority and local media consequently tout these activities as the greatest dangers to a restored lagoon, contending that their eviction will therefore allow for the development of the Korle. Recent scholarship has critiqued this tendency to cast urban minorities as antagonistic to nature. Di Chiro, Escobar and Cronon, have argued that such approaches, while assigning blame, fail to consider the circumstances that cause poor communities to rely so heavily upon environmental resources in the first place. Instead, this focus allows society to evade responsibility for its on-going ecological impacts and by so doing, hinders the ability to find ethical and sustainable approaches for reconciling the human place in nature. In this essay, I take this idea of reframing the human place in nature—particularly regarding the urban poor—as a launching pad to rethink the connection of the settlement to the lagoon. Though popular opinion blames the slum for polluting the Korle, Old Fadama’s leaders strongly contest this claim: instead they shift blame onto the AMA’s failure to cooperate with them and provide adequate sanitation services. In light of this infrastructural deprivation, they argue, they are left with no choice. In fact, dumping into the lagoon is viewed an attempt to minimize ecological damage. Better to Garbage the Lagoon Fred has lived in Old Fadama for over 20 years, working in different community-building sectors. Taking a walk through the settlement late one afternoon, we ended up on its outskirts and sat on a nearby bench. In front of us, an old plastic bottle; the casing of what must once have been a
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The level of infrastructural development in Old Fadama is low. Two years ago, I was told, a European NGO constructed a narrow one-lane dirt thoroughfare in the slum – its first road. There are no hospitals and no schools (beyond the nursery level) located in the community. And though Old Fadama was recently incorporated onto the national grid, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) connects only about 56% of slum residents with the rest drawing power from illegal connections. In the fields of sewerage and garbage collection however, no similar strides have been made despite several requests to the AMA: How many times have [we] asked the mayor of Accra and his people, the head of sanitation, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to provide just common dustbins, and we provide the people to stop dumping into the lagoon? How many times have we had meetings and told them this? And they are saying the fact that these people are here as squatters, as illegal settlers, the fact that city authority brings waste collecting bins to the place means that they are legalizing the illegality or they have endorsed their stay… for that matter they will never provide them anything of that sort. Thus the community also sees this point as a place of depositing garbage, and do you think my sister, they are wrong in doing that? Earlier during our walk, Wala and Habiba, charcoal sellers, had expressed sentiments not unlike Fred’s. In separate conversations, each woman named better sanitation as one of the greatest improvements that the community could be given: “Wɔmmo nyi fi no, na wɔnsiesie ha [They should get rid of the dirt, and make this place clean].” Habiba went into more detail and described a waste collection system as solution—a service that could come and pick up everyone’s rubbish for a small fee. Whereas the rest of the city is entitled to free garbage collection, Old Fadama has no such access. Much of this has to do, as Fred mentioned, with the community’s illegal status within the city and the concern, on the part of the AMA, that infrastructural projects would be seen as a legitimation of Old Fadama’s claim to the land.
WARA 2015 Undergrad Award Winning Papers Continued from previous page Former Accra Mayor and architectural historian Nat Nunoo -Amarteifio rearticulated this reality during an interview in his Accra Office: The indigenous Ga people in Accra, who also live in filthy deplorable conditions, resent it very much when it is suggested that government should improve those areas for the migrants, because their argument is “Hey! We are the original settlers of this land, we have been invaded and occupied, our life is no better than theirs, if you’re gonna spend money, spend it on us also!” So that’s a conundrum isn’t it? In the surrounding areas are other equally disadvantaged and neglected communities such as Jamestown, Korle Gonno, Mamprobi and La. Whereas immigrants from the North of Ghana inhabit Old Fadama, these other communities are largely home to autochthonous Ga people, and developing the Old Fadama slum without first improving conditions in all the other slums would not be well received. Moreover, even if these other communities were to be upgraded first, developing Old Fadama would still be problematic to locals who as Amarteifio articulated, resent the invasion and occupation of their land by the Northerners.
garbage disposal than burning which might irreversibly damage the atmosphere and lead to cardiothoracic complications. Instead, with dumping, the lagoon though temporary polluted, can always be cleaned up and the rubbish extracted once the AMA finally decides to do so thoroughly. In this way, residents rethink their position in the nature and try to mitigate their impact on the environment through choosing the lesser evil. Thus the poor are not as insensitive and detrimental to environmental concerns as is often believed, rather, Old Fadama’s engagement with the Korle might rather represent—as Di Chiro, Escobar, and Cronon outline—an attempt at a more sustainable coexistence with their surrounding environment.
Debbie Onuoha Harvard College
A complete list of references can be found on page 41.
Deprived of sanitation services: “common dustbins” as Fred described, the community has no choice but to turn to the Korle for its waste disposal needs. Thus as Escobar outlines constraints on other systems forces the poor to depend increasingly on nature, and are therefore constructed as enemies to the environment and the economy. Escobar attributes this to capitalism: “Poverty is believed to be a cause, as well as an effect, of environmental problems: growth is needed to eliminate poverty and, in turn, protect the environment,” but in the case of Accra, the reasons behind this are more cultural than economic: the slum is not an opponent of the economy but rather of the dominant ethnic group. Within this context a change in policy towards a slum upgrade would not only be a clear deviation from the original intent under which the Korle lands were acquired, it might also be interpreted as the city authority taking the side of the Northerners against the Gas: the “invaders” rather than the custodians of the land. This perhaps explains why the AMA up until this point has been wary of developing the slum into a more permanent settlement and neglected to provide many basic services to its residents most notably within the arena of sanitation and sewerage. In the absence of any alternative from the city, residents continue to dump their waste into the Korle Lagoon. But whereas this dumping is largely depicted as indiscriminate, inhabitants maintain that this decision is taken to minimize environmental impact and live sustainably with the Korle under the circumstances. Many within the slum view dumping into the Korle as a much better alternative to
HEADING REQUIRED (ToDo) 38
West African Research Association
Summer Internship Femme Développement Entreprise‘ en Afrique -- FDEA Microfinance
I am a graduate student at School of International Service of American University in Washington, DC, where I am pursuing the Executive Master in International Service (MIS), with a concentration in International Development. In the summer of 2015, I interned for two months at FDEA Microfinance www.fdeamicrofinancesn.org. Created in 1987, FDEA Microfinance is one of the first local microfinance institutions of Senegal. FDEA’s mission is to facilitate the access to financial resources to women working in the informal sector. FDEA has 20 offices around Senegal. I worked most of the time in FDEA’s Headquarters in Dakar, but I had the opportunity to visit and work for few days the offices of Thiaroye, Grand Yoff and Saint Louis. My primary tasks during the internship at FDEA Microfinance included: (1) shadowing the work of cashiers and credit agents in the offices of HLM-Dakar, Thiaroye, Grand Yoff and Saint Louis, (2) assisting clients and potential clients and registering financial transactions, (2) following up monthly reimbursements and new demands for credit, (3) visiting existing and potential clients in the field, (4) carrying out interviews with existing clients, (5) participating in the annual coordination meeting, (6) doing internal analysis of the organization and suggesting areas of improvement, (6) conducting research on microfinance issues. The internship at FDEA helped me to better understand how a microfinance institution works. I had the opportunity to learn about the different tasks and duties of different people in the organization: regional coordinators, credit agents, cashiers, accountants, human resources and community leaders. I also participated in the African Microfinance Week, which took place in Dakar from June 29th to July the 3rd. The focus of the conference was “Accelerating Innovative Rural Finance in Africa”. The internship at FDEA has permitted me to: (1) expand my knowledge in the area of microfinance and the regulatory framework in Senegal, (2) learn about FEDA’s main strengths, weaknesses and challenges, (3) acquire first-hand experience in a developing country, (4) learn about the Senegalese business environment, (5) improve my French language skills and learn some words in Wolof, and (6) experience a deep immersion into a new and different culture. FDEA was very flexible about letting me choose the tasks that interested me and my colleagues were always very helpful. WARC arranged my accommodation with a Senegalese family in Dakar during my internship. This gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the local culture and participate in local festivities and events , such the Korite (end of Ramadan). My recommendations for those considering internships are 1) to be adaptable and flexible: we are very used to planning things in the US, but planning is not always easy in Senegal; 2) to be creative and proactive: if you don’t have much work to do, talk to your supervisor. If you are interested in carrying out a specific task, or if you want to carry out some research that may be useful for the organization, propose it to your manager; and 3) make an effort to learn about local culture. I would recommend this internship to those with some previous knowledge about the microfinance sector. I think I could have done more if I had had more academic knowledge about the microfinance sector before going to Senegal. Nevertheless, I think that proactivity and a fluid/smooth communication with work colleagues allowed me to make the most of your internship. Anna Domingo Riu School of International Service American University firstname.lastname@example.org West African Research Association
Saharan Crossroads Fellows Saharan Crossroads is an initiative of the West African Research Association (WARA) and the American Institute of Maghribi Studies (AIMS), in collaboration with the Saharan Studies Association (SSA). It aims to strengthen the cultural, artistic and historical links among the peoples living within and across the Sahara Desert. The Saharan Crossroads Initiative began as a workshop held at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004 where a transcontinental perspective of Africa and the need to encourage Saharan studies were formulated. It seeks to promote an understanding of the shared history and culture among the regions of Africa linked by the Sahara Desert through centuries of continued exchanges and interactions. To this end, Saharan Crossroads organizes international conferences and offers research fellowships. Here we feature reports from the first (2013) group of Saharan Crossroads Fellows.
Sahara Crossings: Race, Nation and Imagination in Arab African Literature The Sahara desert is not a land wasted by deprivation; it is a land that use has destroyed’ -Ibrahim Koni
In analyzing the patterns and contours in the works of the above mentioned writers, this research draws its theoretical framework from, among others, Edward Said’s contrapuntal approach to literary/cultural studies, Ali Mazrui’s extremely engaging theorizations on the forest and the desert of Africa and the postcolonial discussions of racial and national identities in Frantz Fanon and Homi Bhabha. This shall be premised on a careful synthesis of the idea of the Sahara in classical Arabic works including that of al-Jahiz, M. Badawi, Ibn Qutaybah, Ibn Khaldun all of which foreshadow contemporary impulses for the ‘transaction’ in the Sahara as a locale of meaning and cross-cultural and intellectual interactions. One critical problem that I identified at the onset of this research is that of accessing original works of writers that have been earmarked for study. A research visit to Sudan therefore became urgent and important.
This research attempts a reconstruction of notions of the Sahara in Arab and Arab-African cultural heritage. It tries to do that through a close reading of texts written in Arabic and English in which the categories of race, nation and imagination are fed, strengthened and even subverted by ‘racial’ and even ‘racist’ readings and approaches to the desert in African reality. The research is hinged, in the main, on the assumptions that no valid reference to The research was designed to cover six African and indeed Arab African chapters. Chapter one, engages the history and civilization can be made logocentric and historical-geographical once fidelity is not shown to and analyses of the word Sahara. In chapter adequate account is not given of the two, I attend to theory and the validation of role of the Sahara in African past. The method of inquiry particularly how the research equally assumes that the “Afrabic” thought could provide a new Sahara has been a fountain for literary perspective to African literary criticism. In and cultural creativity including the chapter three, I reread texts written in ones which thrives in its portrayal as English in which the Sahara in Arab-African the sub-set of African tragedy and relations is represented. Chapter four backwardness. In other words, this discusses the representations of the Sahara research, acknowledges the existence in Arabic texts. In chapter five, I explore of negative constructions of the patterns and perspectives to what I have Sahara across histories and epochs termed as Sahara-crossings in literary both in historical and literary writing and one in which notions of race, writings. But it aims to tell the other nation and imagination are critically “story”. It seeks to argue that the Professor Afis Ayinde Oladosu, at the Inter- engaged. This is followed by conclusion. Sahara and its imagining in Arabic national University of Khartoum literary writing of North African origin has not always been Evolution of Research exclusively a locus for the transaction in racial politics but one Between November and December, 2013, I paid a research around which inter-racial and inter-cultural rapprochement visit to Sudan thanks to the funding and assistance I received has always been forged. from AIMS/WARA. Having been opportuned to visit Khartoum in the past as a doctoral student, I leveraged on my existing In other words, in addition to being the “lived space” in which contacts in the country and succeeded in interacting with notions of ‘race’ and nation interpellate, this research sees the senior colleagues in African history and civilization in Sahara as the ‘imagined’ space. This is evident in the works International University of Africa and University of Khartoum. Ihsan Abdul Quddus (Thuqub min al-Thawb al-Abyad), Ayi The library of Faculty of Arts in the University of Khartoum Kwei Armah (Two Thousand Seasons), Muhammad Abdul-Hayy was also made availbale to me. My interactions with (al-Awdat ila Sennar), and Muhammad Miftah al-Fayturi Professors Hasan Makki and al-Amin Abu Manga were highly (Aghani Ifriqiyyah). The eclectic representation of the Sahara instructive of recent trajectories in Afro-Asian studies. My by these writers makes its engagement a categorical stay in Khartoum further confirmed some of the initial imperative for African and Arab African literature. assumptions which informed this research. It became evident 40
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Saharan Crossroads Fellows that hardly has there been any work carried out on the ‘Afrabic’ perspective to the Sahara as is of interest to this reesarch. One other thing became pertinent- the necessity to use the Afrabic vision as a premise for the development of a new critical instrument for the study of Arab African literature appeared to be ong over-due. I am happy to report that this lofty objective has, to a large extent, being achieved. In other words, I would want to describe this report as one in progress. This is because it has achieved some of its initial objectives namely the completion of two essays which have been accepted for publication while the ultimate, which is the production of a book on the Sahara is still being attended to. Put differently, this research has traversed some critical ‘stations’; it is still on its way to its ‘destination’. New Perspectives Encountered In line with the point I hinted at above, the fellowship has afforded me the opportunity to think more closely on the development of a new theoretical style in studying African and Arab-African literature. Before the fellowship, I had participated in seminars where, like colleagues in the North American academia, I called on colleagues to think about the development of new critical styles which shall be more suitable to the reading and interpretation of texts produced by Arab African writers. This fellowship has given me the opportunity to move from ‘talk to walk’; I have succeeded in coming up with a new theory which proceeds directly from the fellowship. The essay is presently undergoing editorial processes. I have also completed a paper on another aspect of this research, which is on inter-racial interaction. Reaching the ‘Destination’ I am presently exploring options for my sabbatical leave for 2016-2017 during which I hope to have a whole year free of teaching and other administrative works. I hope to dedicate the leave to the completion of the manuscript. Evaluation From conception to execution, I thought the fellowship is a wonderful one. To say that is to appreciate the ‘drivers’ of the whole idea. In other words, I think it would be injudicious for me not to note and appreciate the wonderful collaboration and assistance I received from Jennifer Yanco. Her administrative ingenuity and touch of excellence made the whole experience a memorable one. Working with her made the desire to go back to ‘yesterday’ an enthralling possibility. Now in the course of writing this report, an idea came to my mind but I had to dismiss it when I remembered the limited sources of funding presently available to WARA/AIMS.
Professor Afis Ayinde Oladosu Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies University of Ibadan email@example.com
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Continued from page 38 1 Kwasi
Owusu Boadi and Markku Kuitunen, “Urban Waste Pollution in the Korle Lagoon, Accra, Ghana,” Environmentalist 22, no. 4 (December 1, 2002): 301–9, doi:10.1023/ A:1020706728569. 2 Abdullai, Interview by Author with Abdullai - 74 Year Old, Retired Seaman from Accra Central, August 2014; the Daily Graphic, “The Dead Odaw River - Polluted With Plastics, Garbage & Human Excreta,” GhanaWeb, March 13, 2012; Yommo Korle, Interview by Author with Yommo Korle (Korle Wulomo), July 2014. 3 Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland, “The World’s Worst 2013: The Top Ten Toxic Threats - Cleanup, Progress, and Ongoing Challenges,” The World’s Worst (Zurich and New York: Blacksmith Institute; Green Cross Switzerland, 2013), http://www.worstpolluted.org/docs/ TopTenThreats2013.pdf. 4 Chief Priest of Naa Korle, the Ga deity resident in the Korle Lagoon. 5 Yommo Korle, Interview by Author with Yommo Korle (Korle Wulomo). 6 SODOM AND GOMORRAH... Between a City and Its Dream, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=fVjCN4Y14Zs&feature=youtube_gdata_player; Babatunde Olotunji, “Sodom and Gomorrah - A Menace in Accra,” News Website, GhanaWeb, accessed February 25, 2015, http:// www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/blogs/ blog.article.php?blog=937&ID=1000004179; RadioXYZonline, “Sodom and Gomorrah to Be Cleared for $600m Project - Mayor,” GhanaWeb, January 17, 2013. 7 Giovanna Di Chiro, “Nature as Community: The Convergence of Environment and Social Justice,” in Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, by William Cronon (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996), 298–320; Arturo Escobar, “Constructing Nature: Elements for a Poststructural Political Economy,” in Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development and Social Movements, ed. Richard Peet and Michael Watts, 2 edition (London ; New York: Routledge, 2004); William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness; or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,” in Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996), 69–90. 8 Fred Opoku, Interview by Author with Fred Opoku - NGO worker, December 2013. 9 Owusu Amponsah, “Energy Access and Productive Uses for Slum Dwellers in Ghana” (Workshop Presentation, The AEI Practitioner Workshop - The Energy Center, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana, November 14, 2011), http:// siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTAFRREGTOPENERGY/ Resources/717305-1327690230600/83976921327691245128/Slum_Dwellers_Ghana.pdf. 10 Fred Opoku, Interview by Author with Fred Opoku - NGO worker. 11 Wala, Interview by Author with Wala - Charcoal Seller, December 2013. 12 Habiba, Interview by Author with Habiba - Charcoal Seller, December 2013. 13 Nat Nunoo-Amarteifio, Interview by Author with Nat Nunoo-Amarteifio, Mayor of Accra (1994-1998), Aug. 2014. 14 B.A. Yakubu, State Lands (Accra-Korle Lagoon Project -
Saharan Crossroads Fellows Les Origines africaines du droit au Maghreb The idea of my project is to associate different legal disciplines to better understand the structure of legal systems in the Maghreb. The functional method of comparative law suggests that the sociological and historical frameworks of a legal system are important to understand it. My project is about understanding law in the Maghreb from an interdisciplinary and critical point of view. Legal anthropology and legal history are invited to join comparative law. Additional to legal methodology, my work included sociological and anthropological methods (interviews, statistics, field survey, and so on). My first hypothesis is that law in tNorth African countries has been influenced by many legal traditions, some are already known and recognized—Islamic law, civilian law (Roman, French). However, the influence of African legal traditions on Maghreb countries’ legal systems has not been recognized. I began by researching similarities between the legal systems of the Maghreb states and the legal systems in African societies. But this was not enough, first because the fact of having similarities doesn’t mean there are common origins. Secondly, because evident similarities are often the result of countries having been influenced by the same foreign legal traditions, mainly French law and Islamic law. What about the mutual influence between the two legal traditions themselves? Claims have been made about the North African influence on subSaharan legal traditions, but not the other way around. My work was then to verify the influence of African legal tradition on Maghreb Law. It was very important, in order to verify this hypothesis, to spend some time in the two regions. I then decided to spend one month in Senegal and two others in Morocco. I was able to do this thanks to the Saharan Crossroads fellowship. I also spent many weeks in Tunisia on my own, Tunisia, being my country of origin. Tunisia offers a wide range of resources, including documents from the national library and some universities’ libraries. The first part of my trip to Senegal was spent in Dakar. That was the occasion to use the library of the WARC center and to hold discussions with researchers there. Many of them were not legal specialists, but some were anthropologists or historians. Discussions with Senegalese researchers were very important to understand how they see the historical relationship between sub-Saharan and North African societies, migration, and slavery. I had a chance to meet there many students and young researchers from the United States, Morocco and different African countries. The library 42
of the center offered to me an access to many English resources rare in African French speaking areas. The local books in French are also excellent resources. People working at WARC were very helpful. I would like to address a special thanks to the administrative employees, librarians and restaurant personnel. I also had access to the library of the Cheikh Anta Diop University, very close to my residence. During this first part of my trip, I met Mr. Serigne Bassirou Gueye technical legal adviser to the Minister of Justice to discuss the origins of Senegalese law and legal interaction. I then moved to Saint Louis to conduct research on trans-Saharan slavery and migration of West Africans to North Africa. The city is very nice and presents an excellent evidence of the circulation of traditions between the North African region and the subSaharan one, as well as the history of slavery. The second part of my trip was to Morocco. Rabat and Casablanca offer an amazing access to many libraries and very interesting intellectual debates. Especially, the library of King Abdul Aziz foundation and Jacques Berque Centre of Humanities and Social Sciences offer access to a very interesting collection of resources in three languages I can read (Arabic, French and English). The exploration of documents was supplemented by discussions with many people; I had a very interesting debate with Professor Mariam Monjid from the Agdal Rabat University about the place of Amazigh custom in the private law in the Maghreb and especially in family law (matrimonial). She also helped me to speak to people from Berber origin mainly from the region of Tiznit about the interaction of religious law and Berber customs. At the end of my trip, I reached primary elements of conclusion about my first hypothesis: First, the principle of interaction between North African and Sub-Saharan laws works both ways. The Legal systems of the Maghreb countries could be classified as mixed legal systems, not only because of the influence of colonial law, but also because of influences from sub-Saharan Africa. The first argument I adavance is that the customary legal norms in the Maghreb area are clearly afro-Berber; it is the case especially of land and water affairs. Even in family law, which is the most clear and important expression of Islamic law influence, there remains as well influenced by the local customary norms. The existence of a basis of political organisation within the Berber tribes may also be a proof of the historical origins of public legal norms totally different from the Islamic and the colonial ones and can be classified as afro-Berber norms. The second argument in favour of my hypothesis concerns the circulation of legal concepts and legal practices from African origins into Maghreb area. This legal circulation is the result of historical relations between
West African Research Association
WARA Undergrad Papers the sub-Saharan societies and the North African ones. The most important element to be noted in these relations is slavery, even if the volunteer migration of African to the North space can also be noted. I argue that the subSaharan African communities established in the Maghreb developed their own norms that they brought with them from their original geographical space. The second conclusion of my work is about methodology. I argue that the study of legal systems should be deeply interdisciplinary. Comparative law is itself a tool of understanding the components of each legal system through its historical construction and social framework. From these two elements of conclusion, I can partially assume two more general ones. The first is that there is no “pure” legal system, most are mixed. This conclusion needs to be confirmed by other more empirical research. The second is the idea of Islamic law as a legal family. In the framework of my Ph.D. dissertation, I have analysed the legal systems in some Islamic countries in the Islamic Mashreq (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Sudan) and one of the major conclusions of my work was the fact that even in the most so-called ``Islamic” states, the legal system is far from being exclusively Islamic. In other research to be published soon as a chapter of a book, untitled `Shari’a and women rights. A comparative study (in French), I verify this same hypothesis in both Mashreq and Maghreb areas. Then, my research on the Africans origins of Maghreb law comes strengthen this conclusion regarding the legal systems in this area. My article on `Les origines africaines du droit au Maghreb`` presenting those primary conclusions has been published in Confluences Méditérannée, number 90 (fall 2014) under the direction of Sebastien Abis and Karine Benaffla. I am also working on a more elaborated version to propose for publishing. That will require that I strengthen my conclusion by verifying it in other Maghreb countries (Algeria and Mauritania are central to my demonstration, Libya being insecure for the moment). The editors said in the introduction how much they found the article original. I also had the occasion to speak about the result of my project in the framework of the centre of comparative law of Toulouse University and it received an excellent welcome.
before my arrival in Dakar and what I finally found was very expensive. I would also like to suggest the creation of a centre of crossroads research between the Maghreb and West Africa, so that the partnership between the WARA and the AIMS may become more concrete. It could be established in Morocco or in Tunisia or being a part of the WARC. I believe many things could be said about the interaction between the both cultures.
Safa ben Saad Toulouse University, France (Dr. Ben Saad is currently a Postdoc at the Universite de Sherbrooke, in Quebec)
A copy of ben Saad’s article of the same title in Confluences Mediterranee can be found at http://www.cairn.info/revue-confluences-mediterranee2014-3-page-75.htm
The fellowship was definitely an occasion to conduct my first personal academic project regardless to my Ph.D. Most of the research I conducted or am doing now is related to my first conclusions from this Saharan Crossroads fellowship research. I have since presented on `` Islamic law, the law of Islamic countries and global law theories``, and a recent communication on ``rethinking women’s rights from comparative perspectives`` in which I have continued to argue on the preponderance of mixed legal systems and the end of legal family of Islamic law. It is true that WARC reserved an excellent welcome for me and facilitated my research,. However, my trip to Senegal was very difficult regarding the conditions of my stay mainly about housing. Dr. Yanco provided me some advice but it was finally very difficult to find accommodation West African Research Association
Saharan Crossroads Fellows “Burning” at the Maghrebi Border: Liminality, Belonging, and Morocco’s New Migrant Class
course of one day, depending on the social spaces that are occupied or denied. My research finds that the identification of particular neighborhoods or vocations as “migrant” spaces is leading to the syncretization of class, race, and “illegality” throughout Morocco.
In the summer of 2013, only months after beginning my extended period of fieldwork in Morocco as a Saharan Crossroads fellow, the murder of a young Senegalese migrant on a public bus sparked two schools of violent protest in the nation’s capital city – those for and against the assimilation of foreign nationals. As the population of sub-Saharan African migrants “trapped” throughout the Maghreb continues to expand, Moroccan media commonly addresses the perils and problems of rapidly growing migrant settlements in the banlieues of Rabat and other urban centers. Caught between their sending countries and their desired European destinations, these migrants have been linked to the “mounting racism of Moroccan nationals” (L'Economiste), the “spread of disease, drugs, and prostitution” (Telquel), and a “growing humanitarian crisis concurrently produced and ignored by the E.U.” (Al Massae). Placed at the critical border between European labor markets and African laborers, Morocco serves as an ideal site for researchers examining how emergent migratory trajectories impact the experiences of a nation’s migrant class, as well as the lives of citizens whose places of work or habitation leave them in dangerous spheres of “illegality.”
Saturated labor markets and heightened border controls in traditional immigrant-receiving countries across the E.U. continue to result in record numbers of deportations to Morocco and this, coupled with the settlement of increasing numbers of economic migrants from the subSaharan, is shifting local sociopolitical structures and making categorizations of political inclusion and exclusion increasingly important markers of identity. My findings set the stage for future comparative research on the new geographies of legality, liminality, and belonging that are emerging as more traditional emigrantsending countries, like Morocco, transition into migrant “destinations.” The importance of this research extends beyond the academic realm, as it also informs policymakers and local NGOs about the E.U.’s role in shaping Moroccan immigration policy, the failure of Spanish and Moroccan governments to provide migrants with basic social services, and the treatment of second-generation youth born in Morocco.
My research draws on extended ethnographic engagement with Morocco’s new sub-Saharan migrant population, centering on (1) migrants’ lived experiences in lowerincome banlieues and detention centers, (2) migrant-citizen interactions in souks and other informal marketplaces, and (3) the placement of “illegal” subjects within larger Moroccan and E.U. discourses. Contributing to debates on identity construction and transnationalism, I analyze political categories of “citizen” and “migrant” alongside traditional racial categories and question how one individual can be labeled “Arab” and “black,” “Moroccan” and “African,” “citizen” and “migrant” in the
Isabella Alexander Emory University Alexander.firstname.lastname@example.org
West African Research Association
New Publications Below is a listing of publications from the WARA Board of Directors. These are books that have come out in the past two years and reflect the active scholarship of WARAâ€™s leadership. In the Fall issue of the newsletter, we look forward to featuring WARA member publications. If you are a current WARA member and have published a book in the last two years, please send us the citation, a one or two sentence annotation, and an image of the cover.
Christensen, Matthew J.
Montana, Ismael M.
Ngom, Mbare (ed.)
Rebellious Histories: The Amistad Slave Revolt and the Cultures of Late TwentiethCentury Black Transnationalism
The MĂŠtis of Senegal: Urban Life and Politics in French West Africa
The Abolition of Slavery in Ottoman Tunisia
Palabra abierta: conversaciones con escritores africanos de expresion en espanol
(2013: SUNY Press)
Rashid, Ismail and Sylvia Ojukutu-Macauley (eds.) Paradoxes of History and Memory in Post-Colonial Sierra Leone. (2013: Lexington Books)
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(2013: Indiana University Press)
(2013: University Press of Florida)
Yanco, Jennifer J.
Nigerian Pentecostalism (Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora)
Memories of Madagascar and Slavery in the Black Atlantic
Misremembering Dr. King: Revisiting the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
(2014: University of Rochester Press)
(2015: Ohio University Press)
(2014: Indiana University Press)
Upcoming Events Multidisciplinary Approaches to Food Security, Public Health & Governance: Emerging Research for Sustainable Development WARA is pleased to announce our collaboration with the University of Ibadan, Office of International Programs. This conference, which will feature the work of Travel Grantees and other West African researchers, will be an occasion for rich exchange and network building. September 5 & 6, 2016 The Conference Center, University of Ibadan The current director of the University of Ibadan, Office of International Programs, Dr. Oluwatoyin Odeku was a 2012 WARA grantee. She carried out her research in Ghana on the development of local materials as novel pharmaceutical excipients for drug delivery. We are proud of her academic accomplishments and are pleased to be working with her office on this conference that will bring together scholars from throughout the region. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Isaac Adewole, MD, Nigeria’s Minister of Health.
Tastes of West Africa A Culinary Sojourn in Senegal with Chef Pierre Thiam January 31—February 10, 2017
Next winter, escape the cold and join WARA and Chef Pierre Thiam for a culinary adventure in Senegal. We’ll spend ten days exploring West Africa through its foods and learning to prepare a number of signature dishes. Each dish will be an adventure, as we explore recipes and ingredients, how they are produced and marketed, and culinary technique. For our ingredients, we will visit various specialized food markets in the city, and we will learn about the customs and practices surrounding food and eating. This is a hands-on institute; experts will guide us in preparing each of the dishes, and we will enjoy the celebration of eating together the wonders we create.
To register, visit
59th Annual Meeting of the ASA Imagining Africa at the Center: Bridging Scholarship, Policy, and Representation in African Studies December 1 - 3, 2016 Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC
WARA Events to Note WARA Annual Membership Meeting & Reception
Co-sponsored with Howard University, Friday, December 2, 9:30– 11:00; The Lebanese Taverna 2641 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC All are welcome!
WARA & WARC Official Panels Friday December 2, 8:30—12:15
Towards the United States of Africa: a Political Utopia or a Dream soon to Come True?
(a roundtable steamed live from the West African Research Center in Dakar)
Drug Trafficking and its Impact on the State and Society in West Africa (WARA’s official 2016 ASA panel) 46
West African Research Association
WARA Officers and Board of Directors Officers President: Wendy Wilson-Fall, Lafayette College Vice President: Ismail Rashid, Vassar College Secretary: Abel Djassi Amado, Simmons College Treasurer: Cynthia Becker, Boston University Directors Louise Badiane, Bridgewater State University (2018) Matthew Christensen, Univ. of Texas, Pan American (2016) Hilary Jones, Florida International University (2018) Mary Ellen Lane , CAORC Executive Director, Emerita (2017) Ismael Montana, Northern Illinois State University (2018) Mbare Ngom, Morgan State University (2018) Pearl Robinson, Tufts University (2017) Ibra Sene, The College of Wooster (2016) Nimi Wariboko, Boston University (2018) Scott Youngstedt, Past President (ex-officio) Jennifer Yanco, Director, West African Research Association (ex-officio) Ousmane Sene, Director, West African Research Center (ex-officio) Ibrahima Thioub, President, Association de Recherche Ouest Africain (ex-officio)
Institutional Members of WARA
The Africa Network Allegheny College American University Appalachian State University Boston University Bridgewater State University College of Wooster Colorado College Columbia University Dakar Institute of African Studies Florida International University Foundation for West Africa Georgia State University Harvard University Hobart and William Smith Colleges Howard University Indiana University Iowa State University Kalamazoo College Kent State University Lafayette College Lesley University Michigan State University Morgan State University New Jersey City University New York University
Northern Illinois University Northwestern University Library Ohio State University Ohio University Rutgers University Saginaw Valley State University Santa Clara University Smithsonian Institution South Dakota State University Tufts University University of California at Berkeley University of California at Los Angeles University of California at Riverside University of Chicago University of Cincinnati University of Florida University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Minnesota University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Wisconsin-Madison Virginia State University Wells College Western Michigan University Willamette University Yale University
The West African Research Association is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). WARA is the only Sub-Saharan African member of CAORC. More information on CAORC is available at: www.caorc.org. West African Research Association
West African Research Association
West African Research Association Boston University African Studies Center 232 Bay State Road, Room 408 Boston, MA 02215
The 2015-2016 Newsletter of the West African Research Association--our first online version!