RESCHEDULED: Decolonization at Sixty: Francophone Africa Since Independence

The African Studies Program and the Law School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are hosting a two-day conference on Decolonization at Sixty: Francophone Africa Since Independence on March 19-20th, 2021. The aim of the two-day conference is to provide an intellectually rigorous and cross-disciplinary exploration of the process of decolonization in francophone Africa. The theme is inspired by the upcoming sixtieth anniversary of formal independence in much of Francophone Africa.  Our conference seeks to explore decolonization as an ongoing process in which France, Belgium, and formally sovereign African states continue to negotiate economic, social, legal, and political interdependence. We hope to explore the ways in which the process of decolonization has impacted and continues to impact both the former colonies and the colonizers. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies and the Center for European Studies.

Register for this conference by completing this form.

Decolonization at Sixty: Francophone Africa Since Independence

Friday, March 27th, 2020 | Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

8:30                        Opening Remarks

9:00 – 10:30        Mise en Scène

Gregory Mann, Columbia University | “Decolonization at Zero”

Tony Chafer, University of Portsmith | “Decolonization in Africa: Issues and Challenges”

                                Louisa Rice, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire | Discussant

10:45 – 11:45     Decolonizing the Mahgreb

Aili Mari Tripp, University of Wisconsin-Madison | “Decolonizing French Law and Women’s Rights in the Maghreb”

Phillip Naylor, Marquette University | “French-Algerian Post-Colonial Relations”

Gilles Bousquet, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Discussant

12:00 – 1:00       Lunch (Steenbocks)

1:00 – 2:30          Culture and Decolonization

Vlad Dima, University of Wisconsin-Madison | “Sound Decolonization and Multi-Directional Acousmatic Music”

Nevine El-Nossery, University of Wisconsin-Madison | “Colonial Debris, Reconstructed Memory in Contemporary Francophone Novels”

Oana Panaité, Indiana University – Bloomington | “African Spaces, Necropoetics, and ‘le grantécrivain noir’”

Luís Madureira, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Discussant

2:45 – 4:15          Forgotten Stories

Didier Gondola, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis| “André Matswa Grenard: Illusive and Forgotten Decolonization Visionary”

Rachel Jean-Baptiste, University of California, Davis | “The International Congress of Métis: Race. Transnational Belonging and Decolonization in French Africa”

Aliko Songolo, University of Wisconsin-Madison | “Arrested Decolonization: Lumumba’s Ghost”

Ritt Deitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Discussant

4:30 – 5:30          Keynote

Stephen Smith, Duke University| “France and Africa: Decolonization as a Waste of Shame”

Scott Straus, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Moderator

Saturday, March 28th, 2020 | Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

9:00 – 9:45      “Présence Africaine in the Postcolonial Period”

Romuald Fonkoua, University of Paris-Sorbonne

Aliko Songolo, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Moderator

9:45 – 11:30        Postcolonial Interventions

Brett Carter, University of Southern California | “When Africa’s Autocrats Commission Lobbying Campaigns in Washington”

Elizabeth Schmidt,  Loyola University Maryland | “The 2013 Intervention in Mali: A 21st Century Iteration of the French Pré Carré”

Matthew Turner, University of Wisconsin-Madison | “The Great Green Wall: A West African initiative with deep colonial roots”

11:30 – 12:30     Lunch break

12:45 – 1:45        Economics and Investment

Jeremy Foltz, University of Wisconsin-Madison | “The CFA is dead, long live the CFA: The past, present, and future of monetary union in West Africa”

Jason Yackee, University of Wisconsin-Madison | “Complex Interdependence and the Settlement of Investment Disputes in Post-Colonial Francophone Africa”

Koffi Dogbevi, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Discussant

2:00 – 2:45         “Congo/graphy”

Nadia Yala Kisukidi, Paris-VIII Vincennes-Saint-Denis University

Ainehi Edoro, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Moderator

2:45 – 3:00          Closing Remarks

Gilles Bousquet

Gilles Bousquet is a professor and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research areas include: Globalization and higher education; European social, cultural and institutional issues;  French for business and economics; 19th- and 20th-century French cultural studies.

 Brett Carter

Brett Carter is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California and co-PI of the Lab on Non-Democratic Politics. Brett’s research focuses on politics in the world’s autocracies. His first book project, Propaganda in Autocracies, employs computational techniques to understand the political foundations of autocratic propaganda. His second book project, Building a Dictatorship, explores how Central Africa’s autocrats are learning to survive despite the nominally democratic institutions they confront and the international pressure that has occasionally made outright repression costly.

 Tony Chafer

Tony Chafer is a historian specialising on Francophone Africa and French relations with Africa in the late colonial and post-colonial era. He is currently preparing (with Natalya Vince) a Francophone Africa handbook, to be published by Routledge in 2020. He has recently published widely on French military and security policy in Africa. His most recent article is ‘Beyond Françafrique – the state of relations between France and Africa’ (Europa Regional, 45, 2019). His book La fin de l’empire colonial français en Afrique de l’Ouest: Entre utopie et désillusion was published in 2019 by Presses Universitaires de Rennes. He is Professor of French and African Studies at the University of Portsmouth.

Ritt Deitz

Dr. Deitz directs the Professional French Masters Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison, in which he teaches professional communication, research methods, and Quebec culture and society.  He also teaches undergraduate courses in French language, French and Francophone literature and professional communication. His specialties include: Professional Communication; Quebec film, microcinema and theater; Contemporary Quebec novel.

Vlad Dima

Vlad Dima is an Associate Professor of African Cultural Studies and French at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published numerous articles, mainly on French and francophone cinemas, but also on Francophone literature, comics, American cinema, and television. He is the author of Sonic Space in Djibril Diop Mambety’s Films (Indiana University Press, 2017). His second book, The Beautiful Skin: Fantasy, Football, and Cinematic Bodies in Africa, is forthcoming in 2020 with the Michigan State University Press.

Koffi Dogbevi

Koffi Dogbevi is a Jurist finishing his doctorate degree (SJD) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law school, with a PhD minor in Political Science. Former Labor and Social Security Inspector at the Togolese Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security, Koffi’s research interests include Transitional Justice, Rule of Law and Democracy in Africa, International trade law, Patent and food sovereignty in Africa, State and non-State actors intervening in Africa and the resulting opportunity and/or risk that represent for the continent.

Ainehi Edoro

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English and African Cultural Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches and researches African literature, political theory, and literature in social media. Edoro is the founder and Editor of Brittle Paper (, a leading online platform dedicated to African writing and literary culture. Her current book project is titled Forest Imaginaries: How African Novels Think, which argues that the African novel, at the moment of its inception, introduces a model for configuring space in fiction. She also writes essays and commentaries about contemporary African literary culture in mainstream publications such as The Guardian and Africa is a Country. Edoro’s research interest is centered on the form, theory, history, and culture of the novel as it emerged in Africa.

Nevine El-Nossery

Nevine El Nossery is an Associate Professor of French and African Cultural Studies, and she is the Director of the Middle East Studies Program. Her research interests include francophone literatures, Postcolonial Studies, art and politics, Middle Eastern literatures. Her publications include: Témoignages fictionnels au féminin. Une réécriture des blancs de la guerre civile algérienne (Rodopi, 2013); The Unspeakable: Representations of Trauma in Francophone Literature and Art (co-edited volume, 2013); Frictions et devenirs dans les écritures migrantes au féminin (co-edited volume, 2011). She is presently working on a book-manuscript entitled Women, Art and Revolutions, which explores some artistic genres (graffiti, street performances, and literary texts) embraced by Tunisian and Egyptian women to stimulate knowledge and creativity and to inform and shape institutions, politics, and culture.

Jeremy Foltz

Jeremy Foltz is a professor and chair of Agriculture and Applied Economics at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include: technology adoption, technological change, biotechnology, economic development, political economy, agricultural development in Africa.

Romuald Fonkoua

Romuald Fonkoua is a Professor and the Director of the Centre international d’études francophones at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. His work focuses on the cultures and literatures of Black Africa and the Antilles. He is the author of Essai sur une mesure du monde au XXe siècle: Edouard Glissant (Honoré Champion, 2002) and, most recently, Aimé Césaire (Tempus Perrin, 2013).

Didier Gondola

Didier Gondola is Chair of the History department and Professor of African History and Africana Studies at Indiana University – Purdue University, Indianapolis. His publications include numerous articles and chapters on popular cultures (music, fashion, gambling, and memory), gender and postcolonial issues in Central Africa and the African diaspora in France. His most recent book, Tropical Cowboys: Youth Gangs, Violence, and Masculinities in Colonial Kinshasa (Indiana University Press, 2016) examines the ways in which young people commandeered images from Hollywood western movies to forge new standards of manliness and masculinities in 1950s Kinshasa.

Rachel Jean-Baptiste

Rachel Jean-Baptiste is an historian of colonial and post-colonial French-speaking Central and West Africa.  Her research interests include the history of sexuality and gender and women’s history, marriage and family law, urban history, race, and citizenship. Her current book project analyzes changes in racial thought, belonging, and citizenship in colonial Senegal, Gabon and Congo (Brazzaville). Her research interests include: Cross-Cultural Women’s & gender History; Empires; Ethnicity, Race, Nationalism; Law, Culture and Society; Africa, Asia, & the Middle East.

Nadia Yala Kisukidi

Nadia Yala Kisukidi is a Philosophy lecturer at the Paris-VIII Vincennes-Saint-Denis University and is a member of the Laboratory for Study and Research into the Contemporary Patterns of Philosophy. She is currently the program director at the Collège International de Philosophie, an institution where she held the title of vice-president between 2014 and 2016. Her research focuses on contemporary French philosophy and African philosophies.

Luís Madureira

Luís Madureira is a professor of African Cultural Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, San Diego. His research interests include Luso-Brazilian colonial and postcolonial studies, Modernism and Modernity in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, early modern and colonial studies, and theatre and performance in Africa. He has published two books and several articles on these and related topics. He is currently working on a book-length project that centers on the complex ways in which Mozambican drama (ranging from the Marxist-Leninist republic to neoliberal, multiparty democracy) negotiates and re-articulates ethnic, class and gender identities both against and alongside dominant nationalist ideologies. His second on-going project examines several Luso-African historical novels and explores the entanglements inherent to the adoption of a classical European genre buttressed by the very notions of cultural difference, gendered subjectivity and teleological time that postcolonial reinterpretations of the past ostensibly seek to interrogate.

Gregory Mann

Gregory Mann is a Professor of History at Columbia University where he studies and teaches about West Africa. In a recent book, he explains the shift from governments of foreign empires to NGOs in sub-Saharan West Africa and the ambitions and challenges faced by new African states after colonization. His commentary on Mali and the contemporary Sahel has been featured in various outlets, notably the Washington Post, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and, and he is a co-editor of the Journal of African History.

Philip Naylor

Phillip Naylor is professor of history at Marquette University where he teaches Middle East and North Africa (MENA) history and other courses (Byzantium, Modern Europe). He has co-edited State and Society in Algeria (1992) and authored France and Algeria: A History of Decolonization and Transformation (2000), Historical Dictionary of Algeria (2006, 2015), and North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present (2009, 2015). His most recent publication is a co-edited book, Milwaukee Rock and Roll, 1950-2000: A Reflective History (2019). He is Co-editor-in-Chief of the Journal of North African Studies.

Oana Panaité

Oana Panaïté is Ruth N. Halls Professor of French/Francophone Studies and Chair of the Department of French and Italian at Indiana University – Bloomington, where she is also affiliate faculty in African Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and European Studies. Her research interests include 20th- and 21st-century writing in French (particularly theory and fiction) from Europe, the Caribbean, North-Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her publications include Des littératures-mondes en français. Écritures singulières, poétiques transfrontalières dans la prose contemporaine (Rodopi, 2012) and The Colonial Fortune in Contemporary Fiction in French (Liverpool UP, 2017). Having recently completed a monograph entitled Necrofiction: Literary Memory in the Age of Necropolitics, she is currently at work on a “critical dialogue” between Édouard Glissant and Jacques Derrida. She currently serves as President of the Conseil International d’Études Francophones (CIÉF).

Louisa Rice

Louisa Rice is Professor and Department Chair of History at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Her research areas include: Modern French and British Imperialism, Decolonization, French West Africa, and Colonial and Postcolonial theory. Professor Rice earned her PhD in History from Rutgers University.

Elizabeth Schmidt

Elizabeth Schmidt is professor emeritus of history at Loyola University Maryland. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and has written extensively about US involvement in apartheid South Africa, women under colonialism in Zimbabwe, the nationalist movement in Guinea, and foreign intervention in Africa from the Cold War to the war on terror. Her books include: Foreign Intervention in Africa after the Cold War: Sovereignty, Responsibility, and the War on Terror (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2018); Foreign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946-1958 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007); Mobilizing the Masses: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939-1958 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005); Peasants, Traders, and Wives: Shona Women in the History of Zimbabwe, 1870-1939 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1992); and Decoding Corporate Camouflage: U.S. Business Support for Apartheid (Washington, DC: Institute for Policy Studies, 1980).

Stephen Smith

Stephen W. Smith has been a Professor of the Practice of African and African American Studies at Duke University since 2007. He holds a PhD in semiotics from Berlin’s Free University and graduated in anthropology at the Sorbonne (Panthéon) in Paris. The deputy editor of the foreign desk at Le Monde for five years and, previously, the Africa editor at Libération for twelve years, he had worked as a roving correspondent in West and Central Africa for Reuters news agency and Radio France International (RFI). He is the (co-)author of sixteen books, of country reports (Nigeria, Central African Republic) for the International Crisis Group, and a consultant for the UN and other international bodies. He has widely contributed to many publications and writes regularly for The London Review of Books. He also works for the film industry as a historical consultant and script writer.

Aliko Songolo

Aliko Songolo is a Professor Emeritus of French and of African Cultural Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research and teaching interests are in Francophone literatures of Africa and the Caribbean, and Francophone cinemas of Africa. He has published Aimé Césaire: une poétique de la découverte, two co-edited volumes, Twenty-five Years After Dakar and Fourah Bay: The Growth of African Literature, and Atlantic Cross-Currents/Transatlantiques, and was Associate Editor of the five-volume New Encyclopedia of Africa (2008). He also edited special issues of French Review and Présence Francophone, and published numerous articles in his fields of interest. His current research projects investigate the question of national cinema in Francophone Africa, and postcoloniality in the wake of the Négritude movement. He is the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship to study the encounter between African American writers and Francophone African writers in France, and a Camargo Foundation fellowship to work on a book project entitled “Aimé Césaire on Screen.” He has served as President of the African Literature Association twice and as President of the African Studies Association.

Scott Straus

Scott Straus is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Political Science and International Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Scott specializes in the study of genocide, political violence, human rights, and African politics. His most recent solo-authored books are Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa (Cornell University Press, 2015), which has won four awards, including the 2018 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, and Fundamentals of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016). His textbook on International Studies (co-authored with Barry Driscoll) was published in late 2018 by Sage/CQ Press. He has also published three books on Rwanda, including The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda (Cornell University Press, 2006); Remaking Rwanda: State Building and Human Rights after Mass Violence (a co-edited volume with Lars Waldorf; University of Wisconsin Press, 2011); and Intimate Enemy (co-authored with Robert Lyons; Zone Books, 2006). Scott also co-authored (with David Leonard) Africa’s Stalled Development (Lynne Rienner, 2003), translated The Great Lakes of Africa (Zone Books, 2003) and co-edited (with Steve Stern) The Human Rights Paradox (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014).

 Aili Mari Tripp

Aili Mari Tripp is Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies and chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Professor Tripp’s research has focused on women and politics and women’s movements in Africa, women and peacebuilding, transnational feminism, African politics, and on the informal economy in Africa. She has conducted extensive research over 30 years in countries ranging from Tanzania, to Uganda, Kenya, Liberia, Angola, Morocco, Algeria, and the UK. Her most recent book is Seeking Legitimacy: Why Arab Autocrats Adopt Women’s Rights (2019). She is also author of several award winning books, including Women and Power in Postconflict Africa (2015), Museveni’s Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime (2010), African Women’s Movements: Transforming Political Landscapes (2009) with Isabel Casimiro, Joy Kwesiga, and Alice Mungwa, and Women and Politics in Uganda (2000). She has been president of the African Studies Association and vice president of the American Political Science Association and is an incoming editor of the American Political Science Review (flagship journal of the American Political Science Association).

Matt Turner

Matt Turner is a Professor of Geography at UW-Madison. His research areas include: political ecology, development theory, politics of conservation and conservation science, remote sensing/GIS applications to natural resource management, pastoralism and common property theory, ecology of tropical savanna/steppe vegetation, and range ecology.

Jason Yackee

Professor Jason Yackee received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from the Duke University School of Law. He specializes in international investment law, and is currently working on a book project that explores the law and diplomacy surrounding expropriation events in post-independence Francophone Africa. His work on this subject has been published in the American Journal of Legal History and is forthcoming in French Historical Studies. He has also written on the 1864 Suez Canal Company arbitration between Ferdinand de Lesseps and Egypt.


The conference will take place in Discovery Building at University of Wisconsin Madison.


For additional information on what to see and do while in Madison:


City of Madison parking areas 
University of Wisconsin–Madison parking areas


Ingraham Hall, Room 205, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI


THE LAW SCHOOL | 608-262-2240

975 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI



618 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Dr, Madison, WI



213 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI



975 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI


975 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI


 Aleia McCord

Associate Director

African Studies Program

University of Wisconsin-Madison



 Jason Yackee

Professor of Law

University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School



Aliko Songolo

Professor Emeritus

African Cultural Students & French

University of Wisconsin-Madison