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Accepted Paper:

Rhythm and relation in the Sine-Saloum Delta, Senegal  
Sandro Simon (University of Cologne)

Paper short abstract:

This paper inquires different temporalities in the Sine-Saloum Delta and how frictions and resonances between them effect, manifest themselves in and get mediated by the practice of mollusc gleaning.

Paper long abstract:

Life across the islands of the hypersaline Sine-Saloum Delta, Senegal, unfolds along an array of interlocked temporalities such as seasons, rising sea level, tides, mbissa's, days and nights, prayer times, feasts or election periods. Each temporality is both rhythmic and arrhythmic, (re)configured by humans or non-humans and again reverberating into the other temporalities.

Mollusc gleaning is a millennia-old, predominantly female practice where one moves with/in moving water. It takes place in the dry season during mbissa, the week long period when the tides' low points occur during the day. Mbissa sets the pace and (in)forms not only the days of the gleaners but also their relationships with buyers, creditors, authorities, spirits and relatives. Commonly, it is only interrupted by mourning periods in the case of a death, but more recently, as molluscs get smaller and fewer due to the increased exploitation (relating to rising prices) and the advancing sea that hardens and shifts sandbanks and impairs mangrove growth, it also gets suspended during the three months rainy season. This suspension builds on the harmonisation of rules and dates across the many islands, but is challenged by the historically grounded centralisation of state power and the sociocultural diversity of the delta dwellers as well as the increasingly irregular rains that shift, cut short or prolong the rainy season. Gleaning is thus a knot in the meshwork of different temporalities and human-human as well as human-non-human relations.

Panel Env05
Volatile waters, improvised worlds: hydrosocial transformations and the making of orderly flows [P+R]
  Session 1 Tuesday 16 April, 2019, -