Contesting Historical Divides in Francophone Africa

Posted on 25th October 2013

In the five decades since the majority of France’s African colonies gained their independence, how has life changed over that time in these former French territories?

Professor Claire Griffiths, Brenda Garvey, Dr Martin Evans and Dr David Perfect
Professor Claire Griffiths, Brenda Garvey, Dr Martin Evans and Dr David Perfect
As historians, cultural theorists and social scientists continue to grapple with the legacy of a history of Francophone Africa inherited from the former colonising powers, this book engages with new historiographies of the region still developing during the post-independence era.
Professor Claire Griffiths

Contesting Historical Divides in Francophone Africa, published by the University of Chester Press, explores the political social and cultural changes in a collection of essays which give fresh insights into decolonisation in this part of the world.

From Senegal in the west to the Comoros islands in the east, this volume – edited by Professor Claire Griffiths, Head of Modern Languages at the University of Chester – casts a critical eye over 50 years of ‘independence’ in former French colonial possessions of Africa and the Indian Ocean.

This collection of essays emerged from work presented at an interdisciplinary research colloquium marking the 50th anniversary of political independence in Francophone West Africa held at the University.

Professor Griffiths said: “The unifying theme of that research day was a multiple interrogation of Francophone Africa since independence under the title ‘Post-slavery? Post-imperial?Post-colonial? Contesting Historical Divides in Francophone Africa’.

“As historians, cultural theorists and social scientists continue to grapple with the legacy of a history of Francophone Africa inherited from the former colonising powers, this book engages with new historiographies of the region still developing during the post-independence era.

“Post-colonial historians have pioneered new political geographies and histories of Africa, establishing new perspectives and connections between its past and present. As we remove historical divides, we reveal traces of past traumas in economies where men, women and children are working for no wages in cocoa plantation, domestic service and indentured labour in countries that were once under French colonial rule.

“As the Mali crises has testified, the world continues to look to France to respond to crises in its former African colonies. The process of ‘decolonisation’ is clearly still in progress.”

Priced £14.99, Contesting Historical Divides in Francophone Africa is available from the University of Chester Press at www.chester.ac.uk/university-press