Conference Agenda


April 30 – May 1

The conference “David Robinson and the Writing of African History” will include a keynote speaker Friday night, a full day conference (four panels and a total of 13 presentations by Robinson’s students, see below) on Saturday, followed by another keynote address. One panel will examine Robinson’s contribution to African colonial and precolonial history; a second panel will focus on Senegalese history; and the third panel will explore Robinson’s methodological contribution to the writing of African history.


Reception with Keynote speaker Penda Mbow: “Muslim Communities in African History: The Contributions of David Robinson.” This is a closed reception.


All day conference, to be held in the Kellogg Center Auditorium.

8:30 – 8:45am OPENING REMARKS

8:45 – 10:30am PANEL I:  Of Chiefs and Clerics in West African History

Chair: Chuck Ambler

Tamba Mbayo, Hope College, “Malfeasance, Fraud, and Dishonor: African Interpreters, Chiefs, and French Officials in Colonial Senegal, 1880s to 1920s.”

Peter Mark, Wesleyan University, “Portuguese Weapons in Pre-colonial West African Trade”

Hilary Jones, University of Maryland, “Rethinking Urban Identities and Urban Politics in Nineteenth Century Senegal.”

Assan Sarr, PhD Candidate MSU, “Why Land and Not Wealth– in–People?: The  Centrality of Land in Africa Before the Twentieth-Century.”

10:30 – 10:45 am BREAK

10:45 – 12:30pm PANEL II: Paths of Accommodation in Senegalese History

Chair: Peter Mark

Bob Baum, University of Missouri Columbia, “Accommodation in the Casa Del Mansa: Diola Collaboration with French Authorities in Colonial Senegal.”

Kalala Ngalamulume, Bryn Mawr College, “Civic and Religious Festivities and the Celebration of Frenchness in Saint-Louis-du-Senegal, 1848-1920.”

Ibra Sene, The College of Wooster, “Imprisonment and the French Colonial Enterprise in Senegal: The Prison of Saint-Louis and the Organization of Penal Labor, c. 1830-c. 1940.”

Shannon Vance, King College, “Another Path of Accommodation:  Symbolic Capital and the Political Career of Galandou Diouf, 1928-1933.”

12:30 – 1:30pm BREAK FOR LUNCH

1:30 – 2:45pm PANEL III: After the Jihad: Islam and Politics in the Western Sudan

Chair: John Hanson

Andrew Clark, University of North Carolina Wilmington, “Resistance, Islam and the State in the Revolt of Mamadu Lamine Drame in the 1880s’”

Cheikh Babou, University of Pennsylvania, “The Senegalese Social Contract and its Legacy: the Muridiyya and State Politics in Senegal.”

2:45 – 4:15pm PANEL IV: Methods and Sources of the African Past

Chair: Kalala Ngalamulume

Mark Kornbluh, University of Kentucky, “David Robinson and the New Information Technologies in African history.”

Ghislaine Lydon, UCLA, “The Oral-Written Interface in African History: Some Methodological Considerations.”

John Hanson, Indiana University, “Jihad in West Africa: David Robinson’s contributions to reconstructing the 19th century Muslim movements of the Western Sudan.”


Keynote speaker Mohamed Mbodj.

Closed reception to follow.

For more information on the presentations, visit the tabs for each panel at the top of the page.