His16
Shaping hearts and minds : African elites' training from the colonial era to the present

Convenors:
Anton Tarradellas (Université de Genève)
Paulos Asfaha (University of Geneva)
Discussant:
Alexander Keese (Université de Genève) (first session); Pierre Guidi (IRD) (second session)
Stream:
History
Location:
David Hume, Lecture Theatre C
Friday 14 June, 8:45-10:30
Friday 14 June, 10:45-12:30

Short abstract:

This panel intends to discuss and explore elites' training in modern Africa. Focus will be placed on circulations, connections and transfers that happened through education. It also aims to tackle topics as development, soft power or globalization and welcomes contributions from all disciplines.

Long abstract:

Since the first contacts between Portuguese and Africans in the 15th century, outsiders arriving in Africa have sought to disseminate knowledge, moral values or technical skills. A significant number of these practice and know-how transfers was specifically intended to local elites or to reshape power structures by creating new leaderships. Four trends can be set. During the colonial era, missions and colonial powers have tried to mold elites loyal to their churches and states. Then, from the interwar period, African nationalists started using education to build a postcolonial leadership. Following independence, US and Soviet superpowers took part in the competition to influence Southern countries through student education, alongside initiatives of IOs and NGOs. Finally, the rise of new centers of influence in Asia and within Africa itself has increased the scope of training opportunities in the current globalization era. (Lulat 2005; Matera 2015; Guimont 1997; Muehlenbeck 2012). Foreign figures from missionaries to IOs' experts were key actors of this process, alongside aid-receiving individuals. They acted through channels that followed North-South and South-South dynamics and the connections thus created were used to maintain relations of domination, but also allowed disruptive or even liberating movements. This panel intends to discuss and explore these specificities of elites' training in modern Africa. The thematic focus will be placed on circulations, connections and transfers that happened through education at regional, national and global levels. It also aims to tackle topics as varied as development, soft power or globalization. The panel welcomes contributions from all disciplines.