Archive | June, 2015

Reminder: CFP deadline for “Beyond Françafrique” conference

Deadline for paper submissions: Tuesday 30 June 2015. The study of France’s policy in Africa has frequently focused on the interactions with its (former) Empire, the “pré-carré”. This has given rise to a narrative of uniqueness and exceptionality, whilst simultaneously contributing to critiques of France as a “neo-colonial” actor in Africa. However, a growing body of new scholarly research suggest that the time is now ripe for a reassessment of this restrictive vision. The progressive opening up of archives in France and elsewhere, along with the expansion of global and connected histories of empire and decolonisation, has shed new light on the France’s presence in Africa in colonial and post-independence era. Despite taking as their starting point the French traditional zone of influence, many recently published works on French decolonisation and the politics of cooperation explore the regional, continental and global dynamics that shaped French policy in Africa. There are also a growing number of publications, doctoral theses and on-going research projects that break free of the “Francophone” framework entirely. Some of these complete previous political science case studies of French policy in South Africa or Nigeria. Others go further still, uncovering largely unknown relations between France and the (former) British, […]

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National liberation and nation-building: Algeria in the 1960s

This post is the product of a conversation between Dr Ed Naylor and Dr Natalya Vince about the recent ‘Progress, Change and Development’ conference, which took place on 4-6 June 2015 at the University of Portsmouth. Among the many stimulating panels of the conference, the final session of Saturday morning particularly stood out for us. Entitled ‘National liberation and nation-building: Algeria in the 1960s’, the panel featured two women who were simultaneously first-hand witnesses to Algeria’s early years of independence and intellectuals offering reflections on these experiences. Cathérine Levy, whose personal archives are now at the BDIC in Nanterre, recalled teaching at a school in the Algiers Casbah during the Ben Bella presidency (1962-1965) where she and her colleagues found themselves spontaneously reinventing a ‘postcolonial’ syllabus. Fascinating details also emerged on agricultural ‘autogestion’ (self-management) initiatives and localised micro-currencies, as well as tensions surrounding the women’s movement. Natalya Vince, chairing the session, picked up on one aspect of Lévy’s testimony which chimed with her own experience researching her monograph Our Fighting Sisters (2015): during these early years of the Republic, senior posts throughout government were held by individuals of remarkable youth who retained close ties to comrades from the independence struggle. […]

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