His28
Mobility and the struggle for citizenship in colonial Africa. Connecting knowledge and social mobility in colonial Africa

Convenors:
Uoldelul Chelati Dirar (University of Macerata )
Stream:
History
Location:
David Hume, LG.06
Sessions:
Thursday 13 June, 10:45-12:15

Short abstract:

This panel seeks to investigate African experiences of territorial mobility connecting education, professional skills and social mobility. Social mobility through migration is suggested as a crucial step to understand the struggle for citizenship and the formation of modern African elites.

Long abstract:

In colonial Africa migration has often been the only alternative left to the youth looking for better educational opportunities and to those who wanted to make the best use of the education or professional skills they had achieved, in order to climb the social ladder. Through territorial mobility young Africans were able to escape from restrictive colonial regulations and to connect their educational or professional skills to the opportunities offered by the labour market outside their territories of origin. By physically dislocating themselves those people were both challenging colonial rules and struggling to affirm their right to become full fledged citizens and not anymore colonial subjects. At the same time the processes that they ignited, often, implied the disruption of existing social and economic models. This panel seeks to investigate, in a comparative perspective, African experiences of territorial mobility which connected education, professional skills and social mobility. Contributions should explore how, in different colonial contexts, the African agency was able to negotiate room for social mobility by making the best use of the knowledge acquired in colonial or missionary educational institutions. To this regard, social mobility through territorial dislocation is suggested as a privileged lens through which analyse the struggle for citizenship and the formation of modern African elites. The panel invites papers focusing on individual's or groups' case studies of migration trajectories activated, within and outside colonial Africa, by educated youth, youth looking for education, colonial troops, religious communities or professionals.