Reframing the Sahel as a Political Space: A Workshop

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On November 8-9, 2013, The Academy sponsored a workshop, organized by Sara Berry, which brought together scholars from the U.S., Europe, and Africa to discuss the historical and contemporary constitution of the African Sahel as a political space. Participants included historians, anthropologists, sociologists and political scientists with broad regional interests as well as specialized expertise in particular places and cultural traditions. Focusing on contestations over forms of state power and the organization of the Sahel as a political space, the workshop sought to place the recent turbulent history of the region in longer-term historical perspective. Papers addressed a broad range of issues, from the distinctive ecologies, economies and cultures of the region to the kinds of state institutions and political imaginaries that have grown out of the legacies of colonial rule, the networks of migration and trade that crisscross the region, and the place of the Sahel and its peoples in global affairs.