Keynote Speakers

Mamoudou GAZIBO

Full Professor, Political Science
University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Bio: Mamoudou Gazibo is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Montreal, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in 1998 from the University Bordeaux IV, France. His research focuses on comparative politics and African international relations, with an emphasis on democratization and China-Africa cooperation. He has authored, co-authored and edited eight books and nearly sixty articles and book chapters. He has provided his expertise to institutions such as the United Nations, the African Union, and the International Organization of Francophone Countries, as well as to individual governments in Africa. In 2010, he chaired the Niger Constitution Drafting Committee and served as special adviser to the Prime minister on institutional reform issues. For this work he was awarded the medal of Grand Officer of the National Order.

Conference: Collective mobilizations and democratization in Africa in comparative perspective
July 8th, 11:00 – 12:00. Sorbonne, Amphithéâtre S_Richelieu / Amphithéâtre S_Turgot (live video streaming) / Amphithéâtre S_Descartes (live video streaming)
In the democratization literature, collective mobilizations are usually seen as the key variable explaining the wave of transitions in sub-Saharan Africa in the early nineties. A quarter century later, a new wave of protests has swept the continent from North to South. How can we interpret and compare these two waves? Why are some regimes more vulnerable to popular uprising than others? Do these revolts foster democratization on the continent and if not, why? Based on a comparative analysis of mass mobilizations in Africa and elsewhere, as well as on theoretical perspectives on the relation between mass mobilization and democratization in general, this presentation seeks to answer these questions and propose some generalizations about the subject under analysis.


Cheikh Ibrahima NIANG


Researcher at The Institute of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology and Professor at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal

Bio: The main background of Cheikh Ibrahima Niang is in Social Anthropology, Medical Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy and Environmental Sciences. His recent experience in Ebola social research includes field research in Ebola epicenters in Guinea, Mali and Sierra Leone. He also has completed several anthropological and gender studies on HIV/AIDS, sexuality, homosexuality, gender based violence and reproductive health in West and Central Africa. He served as temporary technical advisor for the WHO Ebola Science Committee and for WHO/AFRO Task Force on Immunization. He has realized numerous multi-sites studies on anthropological and social aspects of health issues sponsored by UN and International Agencies (UNDP, The World Bank, UNICEF, UNWOMEN, USAID, etc.).

Conference: Cultural Concepts of Freedom and Dignity in the Fabric of Community Resilience to the Outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa
July 9th, 18:00 – 19:00. Sorbonne, Amphithéâtre S_Richelieu
Ebola is not only a virus that affects the body. It is also a shock that causes upheavals with multicultural, political and religious dimensions in the face of which societies, communities and families build dynamic forms of resilience drawing on their heritage and their cultural capital. This lecture will show how communities give appropriate answers to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and mobilize cultural concepts of freedom and dignity. The results are based on anthropological fieldwork conducted in 2014-2015 in Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea. The lecture concludes with the need to reintroduce cultural concepts of freedom and dignity, in contexts both of reflection and action, in order to bring new responses to health crises in Africa.


Ousmane Oumar KANE

Lugard lecture – International African Institute

Professor, Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society
Harvard Divinity School, USA

Bio: Ousmane Kane joined Harvard Divinity School in July 2012 as the first Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society. Kane studies the history of Islamic religious institutions and organizations since the eighteenth century, and he is engaged in documenting the intellectual history of Islam in Africa. Kane has also focused on the phenomenon of Muslim globalization. His book Homeland Is the Arena: Religion, Transnationalism and the Integration of Senegalese Immigrants in America (Oxford University Press, 2010) looks at the community of Senegalese immigrants to the United States in New York and the importance these immigrants assign to their religious communities for the organization of their lives. His other books include Muslim Modernity in Postcolonial Nigeria (Brill, 2003) and Timbuktu and Beyond: Rethinking African Intellectual History, forthcoming from Harvard University Press.

Conference: Islamic Education in West Africa: the Past and the Present
July 9th, 11:00 – 12:00. Sorbonne, Amphithéâtre S_Richelieu
Most people worldwide will have heard about Timbuktu as a centre of learning where thousands of Arabic manuscripts have been preserved. During the French counter-offensive to halt the expansion of Islamists in Mali, some of these manuscripts were destroyed. But few people know that Timbuktu was only one of many centres of Islamic learning in pre-colonial West Africa. This lecture will address the rise and transformation of Arabo-Islamic erudition in West Africa from the sixteenth century through the colonial period to the twenty-first century. It will highlight the contribution of Muslim scholars to the production and transmission of knowledge and to the shaping of state and society in West Africa. It will argue that no study of the history of education or knowledge production in West Africa will be complete unless it pays attention to this intellectual tradition.



Associate Professor (tenured), Department of African American Studies, and Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Bio: Jemima Pierre (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research and teaching interests are located in the overlaps between African Studies and African Diaspora Studies and engage three broad areas: race, racial formation theory, and political economy; culture and the history of anthropological theory; and transnationalism, globalization, and diaspora. She is the author of The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race (Winner of the 2014 Elliot Skinner Book Award in Africanist Anthropology). She is currently completing a manuscript whose working title is Racial Americanization: Conceptualizing African Immigrants in the U.S., and working on a project on the racialized political economy of multinational resource extraction in Ghana.

Conference: Pan-Africanism, Decolonization, and the Black Radical Tradition
July 10th, 11:00 – 12:00. Sorbonne, Grand amphithéâtre / Amphithéâtre S_Richelieu (live video streaming) / Amphithéâtre S_Turgot (live video streaming)
In this lecture, I will argue that the current moment of neoliberal neocolonialism on the African continent reflects, in part, the failure of the political and cultural project of decolonization and, importantly, the failure of scholars to properly analyze the colonial apparatus – particularly its enduring structures of race and power. The lecture reconfigures African social movements and pan-African intellectual history through the theoretical framework of the “Black Radical Tradition”, a tradition of liberation through the actions of the central subject of European domination – the (global) racialized Black subject. The theory of the Black Radical Tradition creates the intellectual space for: 1) examining the possibilities and failure of Pan-Africanism; 2) reconsidering the history and ethnography of decolonization, particularly the importance of (de)racialization and 3) imagining new African futures.