Symposium in Memory of Professor M. Crawford Young
Aili Tripp, Scott Straus, and Michael Schatzberg, in coordination with the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are hosting an in-person symposium in memory of Professor M. Crawford Young at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, April 1-2, 2022.
You are invited to submit an abstract (about 250 words) if you would like to speak at the symposium. The organizers ask that your paper draw on themes that intersect with Crawford’s work in some way and reflect on the impact of Crawford’s work on your own research and thinking. This could be related to the post-colonial state, colonial state legacies, cultural pluralism and identity politics, democratization, and other such themes, or country-based research in DRC, Senegal, or Uganda. They will organize the conference around the various themes, and will investigate the possibility of publishing a book or special journal issue from the conference depending on the types of papers presented and level of interest.
We look forward to seeing friends, members of Crawford’s family, and alumni at the event!
Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Chair of the Department of Political Science.
Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
See the tabs below for more information on the Symposium & Crawford Young’s legacy.
- Plan Your Visit
- M. Crawford Young Fellowship in African Politics Fund
- ASA Memorial Video
To register click here.
Rachel Beatty Riedl
Crawford Young’s work inspired a set of scholars to take up questions of state legacies and regime outcomes, including possibilities for democratization and forms of autocracy. In my own thinking, the post-colonial state legacies and forms of accumulating power in the post-independence state built upon various repertoires of connecting to local socio-political power holders or attempting to diminish and replace those pre-existing socio-political loci of power with new forms of state bureaucracy and political institutions, such as political parties. In turn, these attempts by post-independence elites to accumulate, consolidate, and centralize power had differential implications for democratization pathways and regime outcomes. Potential regime pathways include authoritarian-led democratization (as in Ghana and Senegal), authoritarian incumbents conceding defeat to allow democratic transitions (as in South Africa and Benin), authoritarian incumbents employ institutional or coercive restrictive powers to establish new forms of autocratic regimes (as in Burundi and Zimbabwe), and opposition forces employ violence, overthrowing prior autocrats, and take power to establish new forms of autocratic regimes (as in Cote d’Ivoire). Young’s work conceptualized these variety of regime outcomes, as well as the ways in which colonial legacies maintained through institutional and extra-institutional forms of contestation. My contemporary extensions of Young’s work suggest that the use of electoral and representative institutions are increasingly used by authoritarian elites to protect against coups while seeking authoritarian durability and simultaneously balancing threats from opposition elites and societal mobilization.
Notable instances of rapid economic growth, dramatic increases in state capacity, and the consolidation of democratic and authoritarian regimes alike suggest that the development of at least some states in Africa has taken a turn. At the end of the last century Crawford Young’s African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective argued that Africa’s distinct colonial heritage produced institutionally weak and politically unstable states across the continent. Other scholars, such as Charles Tilly, Jeffrey Herbst, Christopher Clapham, and Robert Jackson, linked this state weakness to Africa’s place in a post-World War II international order that protected even the weakest among them from many of the consequences of domestic institutional weakness and political turmoil, such as subjugation by foreigners or incorporation into new states. To what extent does Africa’s distinctive colonial legacy and the international order implicated in the persistence of state weakness still influence the trajectory of state development in Africa? More particularly, how can scholars apply the insights of Crawford Young not only to explaining the evolution of states in Africa in the 20th century, but also to account for some of these remarkable changes in our own time?
Kaden Paulson Smith
Workers staged a wave of strikes around the African continent following World War II, and labor organizers were in many cases connected to nationalist movements that toppled formal colonial rule. Docks, railways, and mines became key sites for resisting suppression, but also for suppressing resistance. This paper uses previously classified British archival records to analyze a strike staged by dockworkers in 1950 in Dar es Salaam, the colonial capital of former Tanganyika. Workers often came head-to-head with the police, inspiring new tactics to ramp up surveillance, intelligence gathering, riot control, and strike breaking. Building on Crawford Young’s theory of state-building, this paper argues that the police were central to manifesting the defining imperatives of the colonial state, especially hegemony and revenue generation. African workers rejected these imperatives and colonization itself by resisting the hegemonic apparatus of the police and withholding their labor. These confrontations between workers and the police would continue to shape policing following the end of formal colonial rule in what is now known as Tanzania. This paper offers a new theory of the relationship between the police and state: the police attempted to establish the fundamental elements of the state and were ultimately responsible for creating the state itself. This analysis has implications for postcolonial and contemporary policing practices and for other contexts beyond Tanzania with experiences of British coloniality.
This brief paper will address the question of to what extent and in what ways, if any, post-Cold War democratization may have influenced Sub-Saharan African state performance and, in turn, state legitimation, one of the defining imperatives of state making examined by Crawford Young in his magisterial works on the Postcolonial State in Africa: Fifty Years of Independence 1960-2010 and his prior African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective. Considerable new data has become available bearing on widely reported continual sub-Saharan African democratization decline in the second decade of the 21st Century since publication of The Postcolonial State. I will try to harvest some of that data on democratization and sub-Saharan African state political performance as a basis for stimulating reflection on the status of the state legitimization imperative.
In his theorization of the African postcolonial state, Crawford Young reminds us that although ethnic identities constitute a major source of violent conflicts; the state, nevertheless, remains a dominant force (the Bula Matari metaphor or ‘rock crusher’) in the social, economic and political landscape. While this perspective provides us with a framework for understanding the sources of violence and democratic deconsolidation in deeply divided African states, the Crawfordian framework, I contend, falls short of taking sectarianism and religious identity formation as a crucial lanes in unpacking the drivers of socio-political violence in African postcolonial states. Using Nigeria as a case study, this paper argues that the rise of sectarian/Salafist groups within Northern Nigeria’s religious market place, provides an important lanes for understanding the challenges of political violence and instability in postcolonial Africa. Specifically, I examine the emergence of Boko Haram and other radical salafist groups and the implications for enduring democratic order in Africa. I draw on empirical data from field work in Nigeria to support the arguments deployed in this paper.
In this paper, I will explore two of Crawford Young’s enduring interests – cultural pluralism and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Based on fieldwork conducted in the DRC in 2000, 2007, 2012, and 2020, I will seek to explain the increasing importance of ethnic and regional identities in Congolese politics over the last several decades. My analysis of identity politics will look beyond Eastern Congo, which has received extensive attention, to identity-based conflicts in areas like Kongo-Central, Maï-Ndombe, and Haut-Katanga. I will consider the significance of identity to the two Congo wars and to the ongoing challenges in the political system. I will also explore other aspects of identity in the DRC such as religion and gender. I will argue that Young’s concept of instrumentalism remains useful for understanding the salience of identity politics in the DRC.
Cultural Pluralism on the Copper Belt
My second stint of teaching and research in Congo/Zaire began in 1973, when Crawford Young recruited me to teach Political Science in the newly created Social Science faculty of the Mobutu’s National University of Zaire (UNAZA), along with Johannes Fabian (Anthropology) and David Gould (Public Administration). Fabian and I were housed in rented villas, side by side in Avenue Mpolo, on the edge of the former whites-only Ville.
I pursued my research on the history and politics of the Tetela-Kusu of Sankuru and Maniema. As I had done in Kisangani (1969-1971), I bought paintings and sculptures from local artists but did not engage in research on the art.
Just next door, in contrast, Fabian and his then-wife Ilona purchased more than 100 paintings by a young painter/street vendor, Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu. Fabian later recorded a series of dialogues in local (Katanga) Swahili in which Tshibumba commented on each painting. His book, Remembering the Present (California, 1996) presented those paintings and excerpts from the interviews.
According to Fabian, the 100 paintings discussed on tape were distinct from other paintings “for sale,” presumably including those purchased by Crawford Young and myself. As I will demonstrate, this distinction is invalid. Some of the taped interviews show Tshibumba discussing another painting than the one in front of him.
Re-examining the whole process, decades later, I conclude that Fabian’s effort to “freeze” Tshibumba in time fails, leaving it unclear who is remembering whose present.
Joshua B. Forrest
Professor M. Crawford Young perceived, earlier than other scholars, the critical nature, for the success of state-building in culturally plural societies, of navigating through the variegated architecture of unstable polities and of crafting viable compromises between would-be ethnic actors and state agents. He was among the first and would be among the most influential political scientists to emphasize the danger of privileging instrumentalist actors as part of the governing bureaucracy within a developing state, in India as in Nigeria and the DRC. This would prove to be an insight that has been borne out tragically across the globe in recent decades.
We learned through the work of M.C. Young that historical context is essential, but is not determinative; the trajectory of cultural politics can change dramatically in a given situational instance, provided sufficient political instigation and instrumentalist provocation.
Professor Young throughout his career emphasized the fluidity not only of ethnic mobilization but of cultural identity itself. The notion of constructed identities that reflect political relationships has informed my understanding of post-colonial politics in much of Africa and contributed to my appreciation of the ways in which inter-ethnic sub-nationalist movements emerged in much of the continent. This perspective has also influenced my recent work on local resistance to and defiance of state-imposed constrictions and interventions in various parts of the world.
Reflecting on the politics of ethnicity in his 2012 Postcolonial State in Africa, Crawford Young wrote that “ethnic and territorial map of the continent do not overlap, yet the state system imposed bounded arenas within which active competition and cooperation occur” (p. 314) As a student of Young, it was a reflection akin to this one that led me to work, for my doctoral dissertation, on the politics of ethnicity in the borderland region of Fuuta Tooro, where the colonial and postcolonial boundary split the Pulaar-speaking community in two different polities, Mauritania and Senegal. Though Pulaar-speakers form a majority in Fuuta itself, they are a minority in both countries. But they face quite distinct dynamics of ethnic inclusion and exclusion, depending on which side of the border they are located. This touches upon another central preoccupation in Crawford Young’s research: democratization and authoritarianism. In Mauritania, since its inception, the state has been constructed upon solid authoritarian foundations. In Senegal, democratic institutions and practices are real, albeit imperfect. Building on Young’s interest in historical and contemporary analysis, or longue durée, this paper analyzes how the construction of two distinct states, and two distinct regime types, have transformed the meanings of ethnicity on both sides of the Mauritania-Senegal borderland over the last 60 years. This bifurcated trajectory may explain why, paradoxically, the Mauritanian side of Fuuta has become an incubator of democratic forces, whereas the Senegalese side has been mostly confined into a conservative phase.
GENDER AND POLITICS
Crawford Young included my essay, “Engendering Cultural Differences,” in his 1993 edited volume, The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism. It was remarkable to me that he invited this essay, because including work on gender was so rare. The index indicated that there may be 1 other mention of gender/ women in the book outside of Crawford’s and my essays. And unlike most edited volumes that included a single chapter on women, he did not place this chapter near the end, but as the first chapter other than his own. My essay argued that it is not possible to understand the development and expression of cultural difference without attending to how culture is gendered. I would like to write an essay that follows up 30 years later on what has changed in scholarly frameworks about engendering culture and enculturing gender.
Cameroon’s 1996 constitution mandated a decentralized state and the establishment of local authorities with administrative and financial autonomy; however, the government did not follow through on these commitments until December 2019. In response to the Anglophone crisis, the government initiated limited decentralization, creating new regional councils and allowing for the indirect election of mayors in 15 cities. The first (indirect) elections for these new institutions were held in December 2020.
This paper examines how the establishment of these new political institutions creates opportunities and/or barriers for women’s political representation. The new institutions are extremely male dominated. All newly selected presidents of regional councils (10) and mayors (15) are men. Under what conditions do crisis environments create openings for those historically excluded from political office? And under what conditions do they reinforce masculine political norms?
The paper connects with several themes explored by Crawford Young, particularly the legacies of the colonial state and the ways that these legacies affect salient political identities in postcolonial Cameroon.
The paper draws on a survey of Cameroonian politicians, government officials, and members of civil society to examine the gendered effects of economic and political crisis, particularly on these newly established regional and local political institutions.
Parliamentary primaries and general elections in Ayawaso West Wuogon, Ghana reveal lessons about the effort to attain greater representation and inclusion in Ghana’s parliament – and the many nuances that shape women’s access to participation in formal politics in Ghana, a country with one of the lowest representations of women in parliament in Africa and the world. What inspires women to run for political office? How have political parties sought to cultivate more women candidates (retained women’s seats, reduced filing fees) and what difference do incentives offered by political parties make? What methods are used to continue to keep women out of politics or sanction those who succeed? These questions are addressed in this chapter through profiles of three women aspirants, candidates and Members of Parliament from the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency. A descriptive case study, this paper relies upon multiple methods of data collection, including unstructured interviews and analysis of documents, news reports and social media posts; it is presented in narrative form, reflecting a feminist turn to story-telling.
In May 2021, Somaliland, a breakaway and unrecognized region of Somalia, held its first parliamentary (since 2005) and local elections (since 2012) of one person, one vote unlike Somalia’s indirect vote. In Somaliland’s local election, out of 552 candidates, only 15 women ran representing 3% of the candidates. At the parliamentary level, out of 246 candidates contesting for the 82 seats of the lower house, only 13 women ran. When the results were announced, only three women had been elected at the municipal level, while no women were elected to the parliament. For women in Somaliland, the lack of gender quota provided a partial explanation for the failure of women to get elected.
Later this year, Somalia is also having federal elections and women have again been promised 30% gender quota and hope to increase from their current 24% representation to a more modest ambitious number that is harder to predict. Whether this will take place depends on whether women activists and women’s groups are able to ensure the implementation of the gender quota, women’s access to financial resources and several other factors. This paper will examine the reasons for the different outcome between Somaliland and Somalia. It will also examine the role and impact of women’s movements in pushing for women’s political participation.
As colonial rule shaped and constrained education in Africa, it provided a model and frame for education research. Expanding, desegregating, and modernizing education, independent Africa largely maintained its organization, objectives, and orientations. So too for education research. The persisting framing, increasingly mediated through the foreign aid relationship, has been pervasive and consequential.
I am concerned with the intersection of foreign aid, education research, and the education policy process in Africa. Education research has become enmeshed in the web of the foreign aid relationship. The analytic challenges are to understand how that has happened and how to confront it.
Earlier I explored the direct consequences of the funding link. Here, I am concerned with embedded ideas. The analytic prism is framing, the generally unstated context that shapes how research problems are posed and how they are addressed, and then how research is applied to public policy. Through that prism I explore forms of framing in education research in Africa and their consequences.
How is that framing institutionalized? African universities’ organization and reward systems play an important role. Globalized higher education and African universities’ attention to the comparative quality assessments make the academic disciplines and the high-status academic journals specifiers of research methods and arbiters of research quality. Method validates findings, in turn addressed to public policy. Since the specification of science and rigor are shaped by context (think Galileo), “quality” becomes a framing tool that functions to limit sharply divergent ideas, innovative approaches, and critiques.
There have of course been sharp challenges, among them Fanon, Memmi, Mudimbe, Depelchin, and Mbembe, and for research, Mkandawire and Zeleza. Still, the framing endures. Activist education organizations have also challenged these forms of framing in Africa, with some gains for schools but little support to scholars and research. Indeed, regularly, the framing that guides research shapes the understandings and politics of education activists.
This analysis highlights several challenges for critical African scholarship. The first is to recognize the dominant frame and to address it critically, even as those who provide research funding insist on it. The second is to cross disciplinary borders. The third is to create opportunities for research deviance. Developing alternative framing requires space for scholars to be contrarian, to challenge academic authority, to take the risks and consequences of deviance, and to proceed without significant foreign funding. Making that possible requires researchers to be much more self-reflective and much more self-critical.
This book focuses on the hidden peoples of Uganda, an East African country that has been plagued by weak government, conflict, widespread civilian injuries and death since its independence in 1962. Although the focus of this book is on the East African country of Uganda, the concept of “hiddenness” is not unique to the African continent but can be seen in every corner of the globe from Asia, to the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. The Uganda case study can provide us with a better understanding of marginalization world-wide.
Hidden peoples are persons or groups of persons that have been relegated to the fringes of society. They include people deliberately cast aside due to different physical, social, economic, religious, ethnic or linguistic status, characteristics or conditions. Hiddenness occurs in both war and peace though with different parameters. This definition includes people of all ages and genders who are located across the country. In Uganda we see individuals and groups of people become hidden because of disabilities, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), deep poverty, and as a result of conflict-related violence perpetrated by both government actors and civilians (throughout Ugandan history and leadership/regimes).
In Uganda, targeted social division carried out by leaders directly led to the ethnic dehumanization of many groups and set the stage for extreme violence. Our story centers on the brutality of the northern Uganda rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict (1986-2008), the prior social conditions that caused it, and the hidden people who emerged out of it. This book casts light on the marginalization that defined Uganda prior to and throughout the civil war.
Marginalization often passes through generations, as hidden peoples reproduce, their children often inherit the physical, mental or social conditions of their mothers and fathers. Hiddenness can also occur during childhood. Children born during captivity in war, often the product of rape, face an uphill battle that varies based on the condition of one’s sex and ethnic identity. These brand children with symbolic scars that serve as constant reminders of the heinous actions of their fathers. These “bush babies” are seen by some as nothing more than a weapon of war, waiting for a time when they too can take up arms to create a “better” life. Others, namely the mothers of abducted girls, fail to view these children as anything other than “the grandchild I hate to love.”
In Uganda, marginalization is cumulative. Ugandans are excluded and subordinated for a variety of social, economic, and/or physical reasons. Over time it has created a host of human security issues. The condition of “hidden people” is worsened in conflicted societies such as Uganda, where pre-colonial and colonial conditions were further exacerbated by political, ethnic, and religious conflict. The social and political history of Uganda allows us to understand the nature of hiddenness and marginalization (including shunning).
The marginalized are often shamed and shunned as a result of their collective experiences and conditions. Although men, women, and children are all susceptible to marginalization, women and children are acutely vulnerable in times of civil war and identity-based conflict. The interconnectivity between physical and social status, disease, disability, and conflict-related violence further ostracizes hidden peoples from existing social norms, social systems, and access to justice.
Statements about influence of Crawford on research
Edmond J. Keller at the M. Crawford Young Symposium 2022
When I first arrived at UW-Madison in 1969 I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in Urban Politics, particularly as that related to the African American experience. However, early in my studies I became fascinated with the possibility of a doctorate with an African Politics concentration. At the time, the field of African Studies was rapidly emerging, and the campus was blessed with several leaders in the field which included Crawford Young. Crawford was involved in ongoing research on African development policies, and just beginning to do work on Ideology and development. Originally, following the work that Crawford was involved in, I was to do a dissertation on the politics of agricultural development in Uganda. But, because of a political crisis in Uganda, I switched to a study of the political economy of education in Kenya. Not until I did a postdoc in Ethiopia in 1976-77, however, did I become most interested in not only the connection between ideology and development policies but also in the importance of identity politics in the new Ethiopia. Today, I am most identified with the study of ideology, and the political economy of development in Ethiopia as well as Africa in general. Throughout my career, Crawford Young has always been there for me, carefully reading and commenting on drafts of manuscripts of journal articles and even book manuscripts. He also introduced me to relevant theoretical perspectives that might be useful, and to major players in the African Studies academy. This was invaluable in helping my career. Most importantly, he was my irreplaceable mentor-friend.
My first encounter with Crawford Young’s scholarship was in reading his first major book, Politics in the Congo: Decolonization and Independence (1965). Having arrived in the United States only two years following this independence, I was really impressed by his analysis of the rise of nationalism in the Belgian Congo, together with its entanglement with ethnicity. Crawford initiated me in research on cultural pluralism when I served as his research assistant in the fall 1969 semester, during which I read the classics on precolonial and colonial Dahomey (now Benin), including works by Melville J. Herskovits, I.A. Akinjogbin, and Jacques Lombard. Five years later, when I was writing my Ph.D. dissertation in Madison and Crawford was in Lubumbashi as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the National University of Zaire, he asked the University of Wisconsin Press to have me proofread the galleys for his outstanding book on ethnicity and politics in a comparative perspective, The Politics of Cultural Pluralism (1976). In addition to this having been a great honor for me, I did learn a lot from Crawford Young’s brilliant analysis of issues that took a long time to become part of the conversation worldwide, namely, identity and diversity.
It was from this foundation that I became interested in writing and publishing scholarly papers on the national question. One of my major articles on the subject was chosen in 1969 to be developed into a book-length publication for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book manuscript once I got involved in Congolese politics following the liberalization of April 24, 1990. My proposed paper for the Young symposium will focus on a topic I developed as a keynote speaker in February 2011 at a conference of the Abuja-based Centre for Democracy and Development and the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, a federal government agency, on the theme of “Citizenship and Indigeneity Conflicts in Nigeria.”
Health in Africa today, the COVID crisis
Below is the information for the Graduate Hotel Madison.
Phone #: (608)257-4391
We have a block of 20 self-pay rooms on Thurs. 3/31, Fri., 4/1, and Sat., 4/2. The rate for these rooms is $189 per night. The name of the event on our contract is “African Studies – International Program.”
The venue for the event is Memorial Union (Old Madison and Tripp Commons).
For additional information on what to see and do while in Madison:
- Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Welcome Center
21 N. Park St., Madison
- Wisconsin Department of Tourism
In connection with the event, and to honor Crawford’s memory, we are also launching the M. Crawford Young Fellowship in African Politics Fund. The purpose of the fund is to support graduate students who are doing original field research on African politics. We aim to sustain Crawford’s legacy of producing insights into African politics through his deep engagement with place-based fieldwork. The Fund will also help to insure that the legacy of excellent research in African politics at Wisconsin, a legacy that Crawford helped build, will continue. The Fund currently has a matching gift of $25,000, which means that any dollar you or a colleague would give would be matched dollar for dollar for up to $25,000. We have already raised closed to $46,000. You may contribute to the Fund here, or contact Scott Straus at any point.
In case you missed the ASA memorial of Crawford, watch it here.