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Students Movements in French-speaking Africa

Mouvements étudiants en Afrique francophone

From the independence to the present day

Des indépendances à nos jours

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 by Julie Abbou

Summary

The french-speaking African Universities were created late and most of them were confronted, since their origin, to a series of problems, both circumstantial and structural. Universities are the site where entry into the ruling class, administration and government, is negociated. Crucible of the future elites, they were also places of protest and resistance. "'Repeated strikes', 'blank years', campus locked by the army, teachers not paid for months... These events were inscribed recurrently in the contemporary agenda of the Black African States" notes Pascal Bianchini. We wish to organize this symposium in an attempt to fill what the researchers calls a "genesis amnesia", a "memory defect". It involves inscribing the university situation of contemporary Africa in the history of the universities, or more generally, in the history of higher education establishments. It also involves reading the history of the African States and politics through the prism of student movements.

Announcement

Argument

The French-speaking African universities were created late and most of them were confronted, since their origin, to a series of problems, both circumstantial and structural. Universities are the site where entry into the ruling class, administration and government, is negociated. Crucible of the future elite, they were also places of protest and/or resistance. “Repeated strikes, “blankyears”, campus locked by the army, teachers not paid for months… These events were inscribed recurrently in the contemporary agenda of the Black African states” notes Pascal Bianchini. We wish to organize this symposium in an attempt to fill what the researcher calls  a “genesis amnesia”, a “memory defect”. It involves inscribing the university situation of contemporary Africa in the history of the universities, or, more generally, in the history of higher education establishments. It also involves reading the history of the African states and politics through the prism of student movements.

Although numerous studies highlighted the role that students might have played in Europe, America, or even Asia as a force of protest and change, this is about giving to student movements in Africa the place they deserve. The important contribution brought by African students in national liberation struggles is known. The students’ rebellions of the sixties have been the object of numerous works. Among these, too few are about Africa (Senegal, Egypt, Ethiopia…), although that region largely takes part in the worldwide wave. Likewise, in the nineties, struggles for political liberalization deserve to be analyzed, as well as the mobilizations at the end of the nineties – early twenties – corresponding to the “privatization” of higher education in some countries.

We will particularly be interested in the mobilizations, the periods of crisis and rupture. We will pay attention to the range of actions that were used: strikes, demonstrations, general assemblies, tracts, slogans, barricades, forms of urban guerilla, clandestine press… We will also pay attention to their various concrete terms. We will also examine the strategies implemented: use of the media, alliance with the workers unions, clandestine or not, and with non-governmental associations of Human rights defenders, which became numerous after the nineties. We will be interested in the dynamic of these movements, in which obviously the repression and/or conciliation play a role.

The symposium will also not exclude questioning the more routine aspects of student life, be it the integration into structures or rallying signs and/or emblems: participation to academic or para-academic bodies, unionism, associations, demands and criticism, relationships with established powers. We will also question, when possible, the relationships to knowledge and the forms taken by adhesion to (or, on the contrary, rejection of) education, and, more largely, what can be called the student culture (cult books, music, ideological and historical references…) and its specific ways of being. All in all, the prokect involves treating everything that can make a generation.

We will also not neglect the individual and/or collective militant trajectories, with the ambition to give a few elements to what could be a future sociology of the group. The social origins could be the object of a communication, as well as the cultural capital (whether they can be used or not at the university) and financial assets (family inheritance, stipends…), the militant trajectories outside the university, the career plans, and the reasons for the choice to major in given disciplines…

We will examine all the possible formsof connections (opposition or alliance) with the national and/or international environment: alliance with other social groups (other academic groups, teachers and/or workers, the farmers’ world, the religious authorities…), relationships with the establishedpowers, or even the way students have been used by other political forces, relationships with the Diaspora in Africa or even in Europe, role of the latter impacting the national situations. There could also be some focus on the role of the African students in student Internationales and/or in the international places of conviviality for the young people (worldwide festivals for example).

Submission guidelines

Contribution proposals are expected to state the archival and documentary resources and the type of sources that were used.

Finally, even if that day focuses on French-speaking Africa, it doesn’t exclude, for comparison purposes, contributions concerning the English-speaking or Portuguese-speaking African student movements.

Proposals should include the following information

  • The author or authors
    • Name, First Name, address of the first author, telephone, e-mail address
    • Institutional affiliation
  • The paper
    • The title of the paper
    • A summary of 4500 signs including spaces (with corpus indication).
    • Bibliographical elements (3 or 5 references)

They should be sent to the following address

before December 15, 2013 

to meafrique2013@gmail.com

They may be in French or in English

Conference dates  : July, 3,4,5 2013

The scientific committee will vote on the proposals before February 15, 2014 and its decision will be announced very quickly. The proposals without a corpus or bibliographical indications will not be accepted.

Scientific and Organizing Committee

Richard Banegas (CERI-Sciences Po), Pascal Bianchini (Sedet/Université Paris7), Françoise Blum (CHS/CNRS)*,  Pierre Boilley (Cemaf/Paris1),  Lila Chouli (Chaire sud-africaine d’études sur les changements sociaux/UJ)*, Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Columbia University),  Mamadou Diouf (Columbia University), Omar Gueye (Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar), Pierre Guidi (Cemaf)*, Jean-Philippe Legois (Cité des mémoires étudiantes)*, Marina Marchal (Cité des mémoires étudiantes)*,  Elikia M’Bokolo (Ceaf/EHESS), Robi Morder (Germe), Cindy Morillas (Lam)*, Michel Pigenet (CHS), Malika Rahal (IHTP), Faranirinah Rajaonah (Sedet/Paris7) , Françoise Raison (Sedet/Paris7), Ophélie Rillon (Cemaf)*, Tatiana Smirnova (Centre Norbert Elias/Ehess-Marseille)*,  Klaas van Walraven (African Studies Center, Leiden), Patrice Yengo (Université Marien N’Gouabi, Brazzaville), Leo Zeilig (Chaire sud-africaine d’études sur les changements sociaux/UJ)

* =  Organizing Committee

Places

  • Centre Malher - 9 rue Malher
    Paris, France (75004)

Date(s)

  • Sunday, December 15, 2013

Keywords

  • mouvements étudiants, Afrique francophone , students movements, French-speaking Africa

Contact(s)

  • Françoise Blum
    courriel : fblum [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr

Information source

  • Françoise Blum
    courriel : fblum [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Students Movements in French-speaking Africa », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, https://calenda.org/264008

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