Seminar

RHI Seminar: Alexander Keese (University of Geneva)

13 December 2016: Studying the end of the Cold War and the breakdown of state enterprises in West Africa as social history: the Benin case, 1988–1990

Organisator Rural and Environmental History
Datum

di 13 december 2016 12:15 tot 14:15

Locatie Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Hollandseweg 1
201
6706 KN Wageningen
0317-483639
Zaal/kamer C68

Studying the end of the Cold War and the breakdown of state enterprises in West Africa as social history: the Benin case, 1988–1990

Abstract
Normally, it is held that archival series are no possible source for writing the post-independence history of (West) African societies. Archives are said to be unavailable or extremely fragmented at best. The lack of analytical studies on the post-independence trajectories of most African countries is an outcome of this belief.

I would like to challenge this perspective by showing that, probably, in many cases, but obviously in the case of the former African Socialist model country, Benin of the Kérékou era, the breakdown of the state system can indeed be interpreted through rich archival data. Even more, only the use of particular types of archival documentation allow us to finally address this story as a social history, one that puts the focus on the experiences of the victims of downsizing the Benin state economy. My discussion will especially focus on the years of the transition shortly before the democratization of Benin in 1991.

More information about Alexander Keese can be found here.