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Eye on Africa – Dave Glovsky
November 1, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
- Thursday, 01 Nov 2018
- 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Room 201, International Center
About the Talk:
The 1960s and 1970s were a period of internal conflict in Guinea and a bloody war for independence in Portuguese Guinea (today Guinea-Bissau). During this period, Fulbe people fled en masse, leaving for nearby areas of Senegal and The Gambia. In doing so, they relied on transnational connections that dated back centuries, but which had expanded during the late colonial period for political, economic, and religious reasons. Colonial borders had served as sites of contestation and control dating back to their drawing in the late 19thcentury, but became particularly challenged as colonial governments sought to monitor and control movement in the decades leading up to independence. Postcolonial governments tried, though often failed, to restrict this movement in meaningful ways, most notably through the closing of the Senegal-Guinea and Senegal-Portuguese Guinea border throughout most of the 1960s and 1970s. This presentation argues that Guinea and Guinea-Bissau’s borderlands offer a differing perspective on what would at first appear to be internal conflicts. Migration networks to Senegal and The Gambia were a crucial safety valve for Fulbe people facing catastrophic violence and economic instability, but potential migrants were confronted by governments looking to restrict and shape movement. Using oral histories from the rural borderlands of The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea, this research argues that colonial borderland migratory networks served as an important strategic tool in a period of political and economic change, and in doing so, reshaped ideas of Fulbe identity both within and across national boundaries.
About the Speaker: