Posts under tag: Francophone Africa
Ramon Fonkoue (RL PhD, 2009) has published Nation Without Narration: History, Memory and Identity in Postcolonial Cameroon
*This book is part of the Cambria African Studies Series, headed by headed by Professor Toyin Falola (University of Texas at Austin) and Professor Moses Ochonu (Vanderbilt University).
The 2010 decade marked the 50th anniversary of decolonization and independence across the African continent. Cameroonians celebrated in chorus and pomp the historical threshold, but the memory of Cameroon’s historical resistance to colonial rule continues to remain unsettled. The silence on its troubled recent past and the lack of reflection on the role of collective memory and history in nation building are puzzling. Moreover, no rigorous assessment of the road traveled since independence has taken place. The nation-state on the continent emerged in a particular context, which saw the euphoria of independence dashed by “developmentalism,” a conception of nation building that was repressive, both in the intellectual and the political sense. As a result, the elites of independent Cameroon negated the legacy of the struggles that led to the end of colonial occupation, setting the country on a forced march toward progress and modernity. The discourse, praxis and outcomes of this approach to nation building are the focus of this study.
This book traces the roots of the current turmoil and sheds light on overlooked factors impacting nation building in post-colonial Cameroon. It demonstrates the urgency of cross-disciplinary work on African societies and the continued relevance of postcolonial criticism as a theoretical framework. It extends the postcolonial critique inaugurated by Homi Bhabha’s Nation and Narration into twenty-first-century sub-Saharan Africa. It also reframes the question of modernity and development in this context, suggesting an approach with bearing on people’s lived experience. This study draws from a diversity of fields—political science, literature, history, cultural studies, and postcolonial studies—to demonstrate the limitations of a philosophy of nation building that turned into state consolidation. It is a timely study on Cameroon’s currently volatile situation that is applicable to other postcolonial contexts, in Africa and elsewhere.
Nation Without Narration is an important book for students and scholars in African studies and history, as well as governmental and nongovernmental organizations involved with Africa.
A little over one year after graduating, Clara Broderick, BA in French and International Studies 2014, is sending her greetings from Senegal and grateful thanks to the French faculty and GTFs who helped her navigate academic and post-college paths—Associate Professor of French André Djiffack, Associate Professor of French and Italian Nathalie Hester, Visting Lecturer of French Patrick Moneyang, Associate Professor of French Fabienne Moore, Adjunct Assistant Professor of French Géraldine Poizat-Newcomb, and Ph.D. Candidate and GTF in French Sandra Méfoude. Here are her inspiring adventures!
Since August 2014, I have been living in Dakar because I so enjoyed my study abroad experience here and was eager to step into the new challenges of a professional environment in Senegal. I came back to friends and “family” and old teachers, and really enjoy living in a francophone country. However, it’s my Wolof that is really getting good! (I live with my husband Bara and his family—we got married 10 months ago—and I am enjoying being part of a wider Senegalese community.)
At my arrival, I started working as a preschool teacher in a private bilingual Senegalese school (an almost sure-fire way to find a job in many countries around the world as a young American female). It was a good experience—I helped to set the school up as it was in its first year—but I am now more where I aimed to be. Since May, I have been interning at Save the Children in the West and Central Africa Regional office. I work doing research, editing, and information management activities for the Program Quality Director, who oversees 11 West and Central Africa countries. My favorite projects so far have been those dealing with Save the Children‘s Ebola Recovery Strategy Plans—learning all about how Save the Children reacted to the outbreak in its Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea country offices, and trying to establish more proactive and feasible resiliency plans for these offices in the next few years. (These country offices, like most government systems and non-profit organizations during the outbreak, were overwhelmed and incapacitated).
It’s work that is satisfying to me, and collaborating with kind, dedicated people from all over the world is an absolute pleasure. I find it interesting though that in working at such an organization, I’ve kept my core liberal academic scruples. There is as much to ask and to critique from inside the offices of such a large “charitable” organization as there is from the field or from the outside. No matter where this internship leads, it has already been an extremely fascinating experience in post-grad “real life” as they say.
I do, however, miss academia and the wonderful University that is Oregon. Truly, I think of you all as having been an important part of my four years there, and I hope only that we can keep in contact in the coming years. Obviously, the works that you all do are fundamentally interesting to me, and you remain a sources of inspiration, advice, and memories for me!