On Wednesday 11 February (1-3pm, Park Building 2.16), Dr. Ibrahima Diallo (University of South Australia) will present a paper entitled ‘Francophonie in sub-Saharan Africa: an old wine in a new bottle?’ This presentation is based on his research book which analyses the geopolitics of French in sub-Saharan Africa. In this presentation, he will examine the trajectory of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), commonly known as Francophonie, and the ways in which it has adjusted to the post-colonial context in sub-Saharan Africa. The Francophonie vision is not new as the word was already used by the French geographer Onésime Reclus in 1886; a revelation of the centrality of the French language in France’s colonial ideology. However, following the Second World War and the decolonization of former French colonies, the Francophonie was resuscitated on the ashes of the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique (ACCT) and subsequently rebranded and its aims reassigned to address the challenges faced by France in the post-colonial context in sub-Saharan Africa. In this presentation, he will argue that recent linguistic and geostrategic changes in Africa (and elsewhere in the world) have prompted the Francophonie to revise its public discourse and strategies while firmly upholding the long-standing French linguistic and geostrategic interests in its backyard in Francophone Africa. […]
On Tuesday 10 February, Dr. Simon Jackson (University of Birmingham) will present a paper entitled ‘Drivers of History: Fords and Fordism between Beirut and Detroit, 1918-1939’ at the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) seminar (5.00-6.30pm, DS2.14). His paper will trace the trans-national discursive and material circuits that bound Beirut and Lebanon to Dearborn and the United States in the years after WW1, and place this story into historiographical context. Based on the writings of Lebanese nationalists, corporate documents and dealership records from Beirut, and on the economic archives of the French Mandate authorities, his paper will ask how Lebanese nationalism operated as an ideological effect of re-configured circuits of labor power and commodity production after World War One, and became established in the new system of class relations those circuits entailed in both Beirut and Detroit. All welcome.