Archive | May, 2017

North Africa: a complex cultural miscellany (Part I). By Kamal Salhi.

In the first of two instalments, Dr Kamal Salhi, from the University of Leeds and editor of the International Journal of Francophone Studies, reflects on problems relating to culture in North Africa. Part II to follow next Friday. North Africa: a complex cultural miscellany (Part I)  Since the 1990s, marking Algeria’s violent struggle to establish a liberal democracy, North Africa has been torn between the forces of anarchy in the shape of decentralized violence, and the forces of tyranny in the shape of orchestrated centralized repression. The continued surge of political Islam posed a threat to a number of the states in the region, as in Morocco, Mauritania and Mali, while others were subdued as in the case of Tunisia’s repressive policies under Ben Ali’s Regime. What has happened across the region is that cultural diversity and the valuing of this diversity, has become the unintentional by-product of the collapse of the grand vision of the homogeneous ‘nation-region’. The problem of belonging, of collective identity, emerges as the central challenge for modern North African society at the start of the twenty-first century. This is an upshot of colonization, coupled with the global conditions that have underpinned the rise of communitarianism and […]

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African Feminisms: Claire Griffiths’ paper on the Gendering of Empires

With thanks to Dr Margaret Majumdar for making this information available. The final paper in the Finding Africa series 2017, on the theme of African feminisms, was presented this month at the University of Leeds by Claire Griffiths of the University of Chester. Her paper ‘Postcolonial Afterlives and the Gendering of Empires: a Franco-African Experience’ focused on the intersection of gender and social justice in those areas of Africa that came under French colonial occupation. Following a rapid overview of the history of exogenous (Western/French) politico-legal structures introduced into the African colonies, the paper proposed that as such structures increasingly framed all aspects of the governance and ‘development’ of the colonies so they embedded discriminatory practices into public life. It went on to question the degree to which these structures and practices have been addressed and dismantled in the postcolonial era, noting the very recent development in the 21 st century of gender studies as an acknowledged field of academic enquiry in the Francophone African academy, and concluding with recent UN data on education and literacy levels across the West Africa region. Disaggregated for gender, these data flag up female gender as the most significant factor of discrimination in relation to […]

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