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Cameroon and the decolonisation of diplomacy: African perspectives on international relations

Le Cameroun et la décolonisation de la diplomatie : perspectives africaines sur les relations internationales

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Published on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

This conference therefore aims to study the role of diplomacy in the decolonisation processes in Africa, through the case of Cameroon. One of the major objectives of this conference is to interrogate the very relevance of the “Franco-British” and “anglophone/francophone” prisms, and to examine their possible, and even necessary, relativity. We particularly welcome papers which define, specify or question “Franco-British” and “anglophone/francophone” phenomena in Cameroonian diplomacy and in diplomatic relations in Cameroon – in their practical manifestations as well as in their use as tools or categories of analysis.

Announcement

Université Paris Diderot – 21 & 22 June 2018

Argument

While Cameroon promotes official bilingualism and is involved in multiple multilateral diplomatic networks – including the Commonwealth of Nations and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie – it is often strikingly absent from major studies of African international relations, where Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal often have pride of place. And yet Cameroon, as a diplomatic space and in the variety of its governmental and non- governmental actors, offers significant insights into the stakes, possibilities and limits of the transformation of diplomatic conceptions and practices in the 21st century. Simultaneously, the study of international dynamics sheds light on the fabric of politics in Cameroon. This is particularly important when the recent ceremonies for the commemoration of the independence of the Republic of Cameroon (1960) and its ‘reunification’ with the British Southern Cameroons (1961) have generated heated debates within the Cameroonian nation and have revived plural, sometimes conflicting, memories of independence and of the trajectories of the two former mandates in the internal and external policies of the Cameroonian state under Presidents Ahmadou Ahidjo (1960-1982) and Paul Biya.

In the historiography of contemporary Cameroon, the question of the French and British legacies has held an important place – in the transfers of power (Ngoh, Pungong), in the mechanisms of state-building and nation-building (Bayart), in the sociology and history of international relations (Sindjoun), in the democratisation processes and the comprehension of the ‘anglophone question’ (Konings and Nyamnjoh) and in linguistic and cultural evolutions (Mpoche). In parallel, several recent studies on the war against the Union des Populations du Cameroon and its allies (Terretta; Deltombe, Domergue et Tatsitsa) have revised approaches to commemoration, memory and memorialisation, as well as understandings of the mechanisms and actors of political, economic, social and cultural resistance against multiple forms of domination and oppression. More generally, renewed interest in transnationalism, non-governmental networks in international relations and cultural geography has made it possible to reassess links between globalisation and decolonisation, in their dynamics and their limits. Research into student mobilisation and networks (Blum et al.), on commemorations (Lentz et al.) and into the impact of new forms of communication in the digital age (Barringer et al.) suggest how important it is to reconsider processes of emancipation, socialisation and nationalisation by promoting dialogue across the disciplines and historiographical traditions, which often remain national.

This conference therefore aims to study the role of diplomacy in the decolonisation processes in Africa, through the case of Cameroon. One of the major objectives of this conference is to interrogate the very relevance of the ‘Franco-British’ and ‘anglophone/francophone’ prisms, and to examine their possible, and even necessary, relativity. We particularly welcome papers which define, specify or question ‘Franco-British’ and ‘anglophone/francophone’ phenomena in Cameroonian diplomacy and in diplomatic relations in Cameroon – in their practical manifestations as well as in their use as tools or categories of analysis. Subjects can include:

  • ‘Franco-British’ realities and constructions, exchanges and phenomena during the mandate and trusteeship periods in Cameroon
  • the means, scope and impact of the varied forms of resistance to the very notion of a ‘Franco-British’ heritage (from the more pragmatic resistance to theoretical and conceptual challenges)
  • the reassessment of Cameroon’s place in Franco-African networks
  • relations with multilateral diplomatic organisations, particularly (but not exclusively) the Commonwealth and the Francophonie
  • the influence of other factors and actors (including Germany, Nigeria, the United States, Japan, China, India and Russia)
  • the role and impact of memory and memorialisation processes in international relations
  • linguistic constraints, the actors and activities related to translation and interpreting, and the new, possible or desirable languages of contemporary international relations 


Beyond bilateral and multilateral state relations, this conference will focus on the role of non-state actors in the decolonisation of diplomacy.

We particularly welcome papers that focus on the role of entrepreneurs, journalists, students, artists, on religious solidarities, and on the impact of transnational networks on the mechanisms for liberation/emancipation and for the control of populations. Also welcome are papers that seek to study the above questions from the perspective of the longue durée African diplomatic history, reassessing the conceptual and practical place of the European empires.

Submission guidelines

Abstracts, in English or French (500 words max.), and a short CV (one page max.) should be sent to the organisers

no later than 15 December 2017.

Please use both addresses : kizitus@yahoo.com and melanie.torrent@univ-paris-diderot.fr

Organisers

Kizitus Mpoche and Mélanie Torrent

Institutions

  • Université Paris Diderot & CNRS (LARCA UMR 8225),
  • Institut universitaire de France,
  • Université de Douala
  • the Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Scientific committee

  • Daniel Abwa (Universite de Yaoundé I, Cameroon)
  • Terry Barringer (SCOLMA, UK)
  • Jean-Pierre Bat (Institut des mondes africains, Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne et Archives nationales, France)
  • Richard Bourne (Ramphal Institute, UK)
  • Joseph Valery Chedjou (Commonwealth Club, Douala, Cameroon)
  • Gordon Cumming (Cardiff University, UK)
  • Odile Goerg (CESSMA, Paris Diderot, France)
  • Konstantinos Katsakioris (Institute of African Studies, Bayreuth, Germany)
  • Guillaume Lachenal (SPHERE, Paris Diderot, France)
  • Philip Murphy (Institute of Commonwealth Studies, UK)
  • Pascal Ndjock Nyobe (Musée Maritime, Douala, Cameroon) 
  • Esther Olembe (Archives Nationales, Yaoundé, Cameroon)
  • Elisabeth Schmidt Zollman (SIRICE, Paris Sorbonne, France) 

Subjects

Places

  • Paris, France (75)

Date(s)

  • Friday, December 15, 2017

Keywords

  • diplomatie, décolonisation, Cameroun

Contact(s)

  • Mélanie Torrent
    courriel : melanie [dot] torrent [at] univ-paris-diderot [dot] fr

Information source

  • Mélanie Torrent
    courriel : melanie [dot] torrent [at] univ-paris-diderot [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Cameroon and the decolonisation of diplomacy: African perspectives on international relations », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, https://calenda.org/419819

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