Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies / Academy / • Archiv / 2016 / Workshop "Celebrating whose independence? vom 15.-16. Januar 2016

Workshop “Celebrating whose Independence? - Visions of the Post-Colonial Nation in Africa

Workshop Celebratin_Januar 2016

15.-16. Januar 2016

Workshop Venue: Iwalewahaus

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The 50th anniversary of Independence in many African states brought about a renewed interest in the ways in which the event has been celebrated, commemorated, performed and contested in the last decades. Building upon this trend, the workshop intends to recapture the intensity and significance of Africa’s Independence as a way to further scrutinize the visions of Africa’s future developed since the 1950s.

We focus on intellectual and material motives, resources, and strategies that inspired actors to conceive and promote ideas of a post-colonial future. Since the eve of Independence, many African states have elaborated nation-building policies that joined the chorus of other emergent and consolidated nation-states. National celebrations, educational policies, the promotion of party and mass organizations, and the grip on the media were all crucial for the ruling elites to establish legitimacy. However, visions of the future inspired by Africa’s Independence went beyond hegemonic narratives of the nation-state’s ruling elites. Dissenting and alternative voices in tension and conflict with these narratives were rife. Moreover, orthodox and unorthodox views of the post-colonial future were not confined to the new national borders but often engaged with broader visions of Africa in international con-texts.
We take the highly emotional and symbolic moments of Inde-pendence – its aspirations, commemorations, preparations – to investigate not only the uneven courses of nation-building but also the multiple ways in which this era of great expectations came along with constraints, difficulties, and disillusions.
The Workshop is convened by Sub-project 1 “Narratives of the Future in the History of Modern Africa” (Project “Future Africa: Visions in Time”) at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, in cooperation with the Doctoral Research Group “The Poetics and Politics of National Commemoration in Africa” at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, and with Sub-project 5 “Revolution 3.0. Iconographies of Social Utopia in Africa and its Diasporas”, at the Bayreuth Academy.
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