The political developments in Libya, Tunisia, Chad, and northern Mali represent the renegotiation of the post-colonial political order. Saharan borderlands have turned into spaces of uncontrolled transgressive practices operated by trans-local actors.
Researchers have pointed out the manifold connections inside and across the Sahara, linking groups, places, and regions to another and shaping thus identities, social life, politics, economy or culture of the entities being connected. However, the current political developments in Libya, Tunisia, Chad, and northern Mali stand for a very particular and challenging time. They represent nothing less than the renegotiation of the post-colonial political order. The toppling of authoritarian regimes (in Libya and Tunisia) and the subsequent disintegration of Libya in adversary post-revolutionary camps and regions, the continuing Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali, accompanied by the rise of transnational Islamist and Jihadist forces have led, among other things, to the fragmentation of state structures, to more heterogeneity in politics, and to the emergence of non-state power groups which gain relevance on the complex political stage. The Saharan borderlands have turned into spaces of almost uncontrolled transgressive practices mostly operated by trans-local actors who rely on older connectivities or have been able to establish new ones. However, the Sahara has also turned into a globalized space in which international actors try to lay their hands on the Local, by imposing regimes of migration control, fight wars against terrorism, or seek to stabilize post-colonial states by military interventions. The panel seeks to address these processes. It also aims to tackle methodological and ethical questions related to research in the context of danger zones.