Accepted paper:

Between the Mission and the Colonial State: canton and village chiefs in the Lower Casamance region of Senegal during the French colonization.

Authors:

Eric Garcia-Moral (University Pompeu Fabra)

Paper short abstract:

This paper aims to point out the colonial creation of new leaderships - and the reshaping of power structures - in the Lower Casamance region of Senegal during the French colonization, as well as the relationship between chieftainship, Colonial State and Catholic missions.

Paper long abstract:

This paper aims to point out the colonial creation of new leaderships -and the reshaping of power structures- in the Lower Casamance region of Senegal during the French colonization, as well as the relationship between chieftainship, Colonial State and Catholic missions. The French administration struggled to find chiefs in the decentralized societies of the region. Hence, they decided to create two new leaderships: the village and canton chiefs. The French intended to confront them to the traditional authorities or, as they called them, féticheurs. Based on archival and oral sources, this paper will expose the process by which colonial administrators and missionaries tried to mold the local elites to their interests. ¿How they appointed the chiefs? ¿How they educated or, at least, tried to educate them? ¿Which were the functions of these chiefs? ¿How were they seen by their own societies? We will attempt to answer these and other questions by exploring the life and deeds of several chiefs.

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