Accepted paper:

Oblivion of the archives? Dahomeyans expulsions in 1958 Côte d'Ivoire through the lens of the scouting archives.


Claire Nicolas (Université de Lausanne - SciencePo Paris)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation sheds light on the expulsions and attacks of Dahomeyans in Côte d'Ivoire in 1958. Using associative archives from the Ivorian scout movement, I question the making of the contours of the new Nation-State.

Paper long abstract:

The recent conflicts in Côte d'Ivoire shed light on a historically rooted issue, that of autochthony. As underlined by Jean Pierre Dozon in 2000, we may trace this back from the 1930s, as Ivoirians natives were feeling pushed aside from power positions by the administrative colonial federal authority for the benefit of Senegalese and Dahomeyans. Two decades later, as the colony was reaching autonomy, attacks were launched against Dahomeyans working in Abidjan in 1958. It notably affected the nascent Ivoirian scouting movement, led by Christian Dahomeyans and Togolese. This intervention will focus on the archives of this event. As State archives remains difficult to access in Côte d'Ivoire, apparently genuine archives may inform us about the violent making of a thoroughly delineated nation: that of a self-proclaimed benevolent, apolitical and peaceful organization, but also an imperial youth movement, i. e. the scouting movement of the Eclaireurs de France in Côte d'Ivoire. This presentation will contrast interviews (conducted in Côte d'Ivoire in 2016), blacked out private archives from a former French Scout chief (collected in France) and administrative archives of the movement (collected both in France and Senegal). Following the archives "along the archival grain" (Stoler, 2009), I wish first to inquiry how the expulsions were dealt and acknowledged by the Ivoirian Scouts, as the movement was reasserting its identity as a federal and francophile movement. Secondly, I wish to question the way these West-African origins were recollected and reminisced (or, more precisely, obliviated) in the immediate aftermath, as the territorial autonomy was chosen in 1960.

panel His20
Who belongs to the new nations? Inclusion, expulsion and xenophobia in early post-independence West Africa (1957-1973)