Africa at Noon on October 2, 2013

Writing on the Road: Identity Formation and Place-Making in Post-Colonial Dahomey and Benin

Marcus Filippello
Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Time and Loca­tion

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI

Download Poster (pdf)


In an era of independence, leaders of African states drew on infrastructure projects and the building of infrastructure as a means develop local economies. In this paper, Filippello explores the government of Dahomey and Benin’s role in re-building a road crossing a valley of seasonal wetlands in the southeastern part of the country. Using the road as a category of analysis, he also examines how a local community living in the valley refashioned its collective identity during the construction process.


Marcus Filippello is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. His current project, Crossing the ‘Black Earth’: A Biography of a West African Road, explores the complex nature of relationships between Africans and their surrounding