Welcome to Francophone Africa: beyond archives. Bienvenue sur le site du projet l’Afrique francophone : au-delà des archives. Nous espérons que ce message vous trouve sain et sauf. We hope you are staying safe and well. Project events are on hold for the time being but there are plenty of activities to engage with on the site.
News for researchers and professionals: our government-funded Global Challenges Research project on falling literacy levels among girls in the war zones of francophone Africa is accessible under Gender and Literacy on the RESEARCH page. The data examined at the recent Institute for Modern Languages Research training seminar in London are uploaded in the Gender & Literacy zone.
While are own live events are suspended we are posting on related events and decolonising initiatives.
Francophone Africa: beyond archives
l’Afrique francophone: au-delà des archives
Meet the team and learn about the origins of the project by clicking here.
You have arrived on a multidimensional digital platform holding a unique collection of historical and contemporary resources on a geographical area of Africa occupied by France during the colonial era.
These scholarly materials offer research and teaching opportunities for critical evidence-based evaluation of the impact of European colonisation in Africa in the past, and its enduring impact in our time. They include historical archives.
Archives are cultural objects where we uncover the silences as well as the dominant discourses that shaped colonial worlds and continue to shape the lives and the futures of populations living in the aftermath of empires. They are both historical and dynamic, both open to critical examination and a call to action.
Images serve as rich sources of information . Our homepage photo depicting a scout troop draws attention to key aspects in the making of the colonial world: its militaristic visual vocabulary, its gendered values, the nostalgic pull photos can exercise over current generations.
In this site, images provide a stepping stone into historical analysis and a window on to the legacies these highly organised colonial worlds hand down to us today. You will find an abundance of images, disturbing, subtle, powerful, and sometimes inspiring, including contemporary artworks, on this site.
A unique resource available here is the SAVINEAU REPORT, a digitised set of historical archives written by a white French woman about Black African women and families in the 1930s. These writings expose the extreme inequalities of gender and race in a colonial system. In addition to learning about life during colonisation, these archives also offer insights on how and why the inequalities of gender and race persist into the present day.
Gender inequalities, documented in the SAVINEAU REPORT, are recognised as one of the biggest development challenges facing the world today. They lie at the heart of the UN’s sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030. However, massive inequalities persist and not least in the countries Savineau visited in the 1930s. We return to these countries in the Gender & Literacy zone accessed through RESEARCH in the top menu.
The Gender & Literacy zone holds a new and unique set of infographics highlighting two important and negative trends in the 7 countries in our study : not only have the UN targets for gender equality in education and literacy been missed – by a mile – but also the situation for some girls and young women living in this region was already worsening before Covid-19 struck in 2020.
You are welcome to use the resources uploaded on the site citing as your source: Francophone Africa: beyond archives www.francophoneafricaarchive.org. Please use the CONTACT page to let us know if you found what you needed, and to get involved in debates around these topics en anglais ou en français. Veuillez consulter la page CONTACT pour échanger avec nous et, le cas échéant, proposer des ressources ou fonctionnalités supplémentaires en vue d’améliorer votre utilisation de ce siteweb et de ses ressources. Merci.
For a short introduction to the website from the project director click play below.
Malian writer and ethnologist (1901-1991) , first African scholar at the Institut français de l'Afrique noire (IFAN).
Amadou Ba met Denise Savineau in October 1937 in Bamako. She writes about their encounter in Report 1, describing Ba as well educated, a devout Muslim, and influential in the local Peul community. She also identifies the writers that occupy his bookshelves, noting that his books include works by Pascal, Dumas and A Thousand and One Nights.
Call the Midwife
Graduates from the 1939 intake of the Midwifery College in Senegal, French West Africa
Colonial Health Services
French health services in colonial times were first provided by the Navy, and then by a civilian service headed by male French doctors. Gradually African professionals were allowed entry in assistant positions. Initially women were excluded completely, but then midwives and community nurses gained access in the inter-war era, and, as Savineau reports, were making their mark in the 1930s.
One of the first African colonial administrators (1897-1940)
Dim Delobsom was the son of a local notable from Ouagadougou in the Mossi country. He was a published scholar and won a major prize for his book entitled ‘Les Secrets des sorciers noirs’ in 1934. He was also criticised in some quarters for strongly opposing the influence of the local, powerful Catholic mission. He died at a relatively young age, the cause of which is not entirely clear.