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The Sahel is currently a site of intense securitization in response to the counter-insurgency priorities of several regional and global entities. This securitization is however built on a generalized misunderstanding of the broad evolution of the Sahel as a spatial reality that reflects and captures the flows and ruptures that define a deeper history and reveal deeply embedded and complex livelihoods that are currently under stress. This panel will seek to re-imagine the Sahel as a place that defies easy generalizations, challenges statist assumptions (with their heavy security narrative) and as a place that accommodates multiple temporal and spatial realities. The panel locates the Sahel as a connector in Africa and will use the historic role of endogenous knowledge in the region to illustrate this.