Archive | September, 2015

Challenging the myth of colonial to post-colonial: The case of the Organisation Commune des Régions Sahariennes

An exploration of the Organisation Commune des Régions Sahariennes (OCRS), introduced by the French government in the 1950s, as a case study of Eurafrica in practice, provides an original entry to the complex dynamics of the end of the French empire. Through an examination of the paths considered but not taken by the colonial elites, Kelsey Suggitt, a PhD student at the University of Portsmouth and a member of the Francophone Africa cluster, challenges the myth of the inevitability of decolonisation.   In early September I made the 300 mile or so trek up to the University of Hull for the Association for Modern and Contemporary France’s (ASMCF) Annual Conference. The theme of the conference was ‘Myth Making’, something which resonates within my PhD project. For the past year, since I started working towards my PhD, I have been re-examining how decolonisation was imagined by French colonial elites during the late colonial period in North and West Africa. One myth which I have been exploring is the idea that decolonisation was either a peaceful transition, from colonies to nation-states, as in the case of French West Africa, or a violent conflict like the Algerian War. I also question myths that […]

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Some Reflections on the Journey from African Studies to Africana Studies

The introduction and development of research on Africa and African Americans in United States academia is an on-going process. African studies, Africana studies and Black studies are each the result of scholarship and society evolutions. But each of these denominations also impacts on the institutionalisation of research, its shaping and the future of its enhancement. A review of their history shows the crucial issue of denomination in area studies. Alden Young is an Assistant Professor of African Studies and Director of the Program in Africana Studies at Drexel University, in the US. He graduated from Princeton University, where he wrote a PhD addressing decolonization, economic development and the process of state formation in post-WWII Africa, and more specifically in Sudan. Following this research, he is now developing a research project on elites’ role in managing economic development.   African Studies Beyond the Area Studies Paradigm In recent years scholarship on Africa has flourished within the American academy, even as African Studies as a discipline has struggled to find a model that would provide it with a stable institutional home. In this essay, I will discuss a variety of institutional approaches to African studies within the US academy; my overview will be biased towards the East Coast institutions with which I […]

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