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France in Mali: a Multidisciplinary Symposium

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Translating colonial legacy into postcolonial conflict

Location: Clothworkers North Building, Lecture Theatre G.12

Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS) / International Journal of Francophone Studies

Recent events in Mali, Algeria and Niger have brought North African countries into further turbulence. In addition to leading the NATO strike in Libya against Gadhafi in 2011, leading up to the Malian campaign, France has demonstrated her track record of interventionism which has actually been more argumentative than widely held American perceptions would have it. Since the wave of independence movements following the Second World War, the French considered the continent their colonial playground, even without the title of imperial overlord. In Françafrique, colonial influences have translated into extensive cultural, political and economic assets that a delicate France now requires. While the current intervention in Mali could be justified on humanitarian grounds, recent world events have taught us that war is rarely fought without political and economic interest at play. And with the uncontrolled fiscal invasion of Chinese entities threatening France’s traditionally dominant sphere of influence in Africa, the intervention in Mali helps reinvent French power in the region.


Introduction - Kamal Salhi (SMLC-French, University of Leeds)

Tony Chafer (Professor, French relations with Sub-Saharan Africa, University of Portsmouth)

'France in Mali: a postcolonial intervention?'

Clara Lecadet ( EHESS Paris)

'The Infantryman and the Migrants: vivid memory of postcolonial criticism in Mali'

Celeste Hicks (Former Leeds student and BBC correspondent in Mali and Chad)

'Real perspectives - views from the ground: France's re-engagement in the region'

Sophie Watt - (SLC-French, University of Sheffield)

'War is peace ... the French republican war on terror in Mali'

Julie Kleinman (Oberlin College Ohio)

'Deportee Futures and Colonial Pasts: Migrant narratives and French humanitarianism in Mali'

Screening of Mali d'or [Golden Mali]

An examination of exploitation and neo-colonialism

Followed by a discussion in the presence of Malian director Eric Pauporte (chaired by Sophie Watt)

Conference organisers: Dr. Hamal Salhi (Reader in Francophone, Postcolonial and African Studies, LUCAS, University of Leeds) and Dr Sophie Watt (Lecturer in French and Postcolonial Studies, University of Sheffield).