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In recent years, Fulani pastoralists have been identified as a security risk in several African countries. This roundtable will discuss the effects of widespread generalisations that impact not only the perception of pastoralists in the Sahel but also our professional practices.
Over the past decade, insecurity in the Sahel has become a pervasive topic. More recently, Fulani pastoralists have been identified as a security risk in several countries, similar to the Tuareg earlier. They have been portrayed as prone to radicalisation and instrumentalisation and as actively involved in (counter)insurgencies. Several authors have taken issue with such generalizations and have provided detailed analyses of concrete conflict situations (e.g. Benjaminsen/Ba 2021, Köhler 2021), interrogated the construction of the Fulani as a “suspect community” (e.g. Ejiofor 2021, Moritz/Mbacke 2022), and developed conceptual approaches to understanding pastoralists’ engagement with insecurity (e.g. de Bruijn 2019). Nonetheless, the narrative of the Fulani as a (potential) security threat remains a looming theme.
This roundtable will address the effects of widespread generalisations that impact not only the perception of pastoralists in the Sahel but also our professional practices:
- How useful are sophisticated scholarly analyses if limited to academic journals?
- Who is supposed to speak on whose behalf? Where are the local scholars of pastoralist/minority background and how can we support them to participate in public and scholarly discussions?
- In the face of dominant narratives, how can we strengthen pastoralist/minority voices and generate acceptance for more diverse interpretations (also among local scholars)?
- When faced with challenging research conditions in conflict regions, how can we avoid the risk of methodological shortcomings and shorthand analyses?
The roundtable will bring together established scholars and analysts and will address professional challenges that apply beyond the case of Fulani pastoralists.
Accepted contributions:Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -
Mohomodou Houssouba (University of Basel)
Emmanuel Chidozie (Leuven Catholic Univerity, Belgium)
Sten Hagberg (Uppsala University)
Mirjam de Bruijn (Leiden University)
Jean-Herve Jezequel (International Crisis Group)