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Border Festivals, Partitioned Communities and Practical Governance in West Africa

Paul Nugent and José-Maria Muñoz are leading a new 18-month project on“Border Festivals, Partitioned Communities and Practical Governance in West Africa” under the British Academy’s funding call, “Tackling the UK’s International Challenges”.

The project compares a series of festivals along the Ghana-Togo and Chad-Cameroun borders. It investigates the manner in which these articulate with other cycles (including rotating markets), embody a process of reflection on historical and cultural linkages, and afford an opportunity for participants to engage with state functionaries and to make their voices heard in ways that are not normally possible. The project will compare successive iterations and support local efforts to document and archive the events. The project will also generate a small travelling exhibition consisting of photographs and the material culture generated by the festivals such as commemorative cloth and brochures.

 The project is an international collaboration involving Dr. Samuel Ntewusu Aniegye and Dr. Edem Adotey of the Institute of African Studies (IAS) at the University of Ghana, Dr. Elaine Peña of George Washington University and Dr. Isabella Soi of the University of Cagliari as Co-Investigators. The team will also include staff from the Université de Lomé and from Cameroun. The project is hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology in Edinburgh. The team participated its first festival, Deza at Dzodze (Ghana), in October 2019.

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