PATHS OF ACCOMMODATION IN SENEGALESE HISTORY
10:45 – 12:30pm
Held in the Kellogg Center Auditorium
Chair: Peter Mark
Bob Baum, University of Missouri Columbia, “Accommodation in the Casa Del Mansa: Diola Collaboration with French Authorities in Colonial Senegal.”
In one of David Robinson’s major works, he examines the patterns of accommodation by Muslim religious and political leaders with the French administration of northern Senegal and Mauritania, highly stratified societies of the Sahel and Sudanic regions of West Africa. In this study, Robinson examines the social and religious context in which certain religious leaders chose to work along with the French in order to extend their own authority and to spread Islam. This study did not extend to the religiously diverse region of the lower Casamance, which until the colonial conquest in the late 19th century, had relatively few converts either to Islam or to Christianity. This paper will examine the role of Diola collaborators in the context of an acephalous society, by focusing on the leading Diola Muslim accomodationist, Tete Diadhiou, and the leading Diola Christian accommodationist, Benjamin Diattta. Both played critical roles in the designation of Diola traditionalist (awasena) relitious leaders as opponents of colonialism, and in the arrest of such religious leaders during the witchcraft trials of the 1920s and during the prophetic movements of Alinesitoue Diatta during the Second World War. Although Tete Diadhiou was not a Muslim teacher, he was an active supporter of Islamic leaders. Although Benjamin Diatta was not ordained, he was one of the first converts to Catholicism among the southern Diola and actively worked to spread its influence within the region in which he operated. This study will be based on French colonial archives, interviews with Tete Diadhiou and interviews with people who knew or knew of the influence of both men during the colonial era.
Kalala Ngalanulume, Bryn Mawr College, “Civic and Religious Festivals and the Celebration of the Frenchness in Saint-Louis-du-Senegal, 1848-1920.”
The paper will focus on the ways in which Saint-Louis’ residents organized their leisure activities and interests. It will examine the leisure opportunities and amenities available to city residents, and the role that official and religious holidays played in the construction of cultural hegemony, that is, the ways in which the French colonial state and the Catholic Church tried to reach out to the local population through the organization of official and religious ceremonies and amusements and to deal with those who contested their legitimacy and civic acculturation efforts. Another focus of the paper will be the conflicts that the organization of civic festivities generated between the colonial state, the Catholic Church, and city government as well as the creation of counterhegemonies by the subordinate groups.
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.”
The African prison workforce was a very important resource for the colonial enterprise in Senegal. Therefore the French devoted a great deal of energy to the formalization and organization of penal labor. Surprisingly, the few studies devoted to indigenous labor and its impact for the production, consolidation, and reproduction of the colonial system in French West Africa have paid scant attention to the important role played by prison workers. One of the best books on the topic is Le Travail Forcé en Afrique Occidentale Française (1900-1945), in which Babacar Fall analyzes the nature of forced labor, the daily lives of workers, and the impact on French colonization in West Africa. Nevertheless, this study does not give any importance to the penal manpower, even during the high days of the use of forced labor, between 1900 and 1936. In this paper I investigate this very important yet entirely overlooked facet of the history of French colonization in Senegal. First, I take a detailed look at the clash over the use of penal labor, followed by the sidelining of the judiciary. Second, I turn to the ensuing centralization of the exploitation of this workforce in Senegal. Finally, I emphasize the system of penal camps as the most vivid expression of this centralization. I try to show that, instead of a marginal supplement to the paid free labor force, the penal manpower was crucially important to French colonization in Senegal. I focus on the prison of Saint-Louis, established in the center of French operation in Senegal, to show how the issues being discussed in this paper played out in and from a facility that was the nodal center of, and the model for, the expansion and operation of the penitentiary system in colonial Senegal.
Shannon Vance, King College, “Another Path of Accommodation: Symbolic Capital and the Political Career of Galandou Diouf, 1928-1933.”
David Robinson successfully employed a model of Pierre Bourdieu’s symbolic capital to better interpret cross-cultural interactions of West African history in his seminal, Paths of Accommodation: Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, 1880-1920 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2001). Following Professor Robinson’s framework, this paper redeploys symbolic capital as projected by Galandou Diouf in the constrained political field of twentieth century colonial Senegal. Galandou Diouf’s life reveals how symbolic capital was obtained, deployed and lost in the public arena. Diouf was a resourceful and shrewd organic politician, who used his social capital and his status as a veteran, Muslim and African to build a network of political support within the communes, Protectorate and métropole. This paper will focus on a limited time frame of Diouf’s life, particularly his ascent in Senegalese politics and the concomitant loss of symbolic capital he experienced after the 1928 loss of the deputyship election to incumbent Blaise Diagne. This paper will chart a height of Diouf’s successful deployment of symbolic capital, and will look at possible factors that eroded both Diagne’s and Diouf’s symbolic capital in the early 1930s.