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Francophone Africa: beyond archives
l’Afrique francophone: au-delà des archives
You have arrived on a multidimensional digital platform holding a unique collection of historical and contemporary resources on regions of Africa occupied by France during the colonial era. It asks questions about how histories and futures are shaped by European colonial legacies and how cultures resist, reject and survive the legacies of colonisation.
In this resource we pay particular attention to the gendered experiences of life in the colony. Our resources reveal the influence of European colonial culture in shaping notions of gender. They uncover how these notions have persisted into the postcolony. They discuss how colonial beliefs in binary cisgender and fundamental gender differentiation between boys and girls, men and women created fundamentally different life chances and opportunities for citizens and resulted in gender injustices for girls and women in many aspects of their lives.
Gender injustices permeated the European colonies of Africa. At independence they did not disappear. These inequalities crossed the colonial divide and continued to undermine the efforts of girls and women to fulfil their potential in Africa, as they did in Europe and many other parts of the world. In Francophone African countries gender injustice has now taken on a particular urgency. Girls’ access to formal education and basic literacy skills is reportedly lower than in any other region of the world, and from our findings (see Gender and Literacy), the situation is worsening.
Our scholarly materials and archives are offered to researchers, particular those with a keen interest in gender discrimination, on open access to encourage critical evidence-based analysis of European colonisation in Africa and its enduring impact in our time.
Images serve as rich sources of information throughout this site. The pedagogic value of the colonial image is an invitation to explore beyond the scene. Our homepage desktop photo is an example; the scout troop parading through the streets of Dakar in 1930 draws the viewer’s attention to key aspects in the making of the colonial world: its militaristic visual vocabulary, its gendered values. Meanwhile the attractiveness of the image reminds us of the nostalgic pull photos can exercise over current generations when such images are left unchallenged. Our visual texts provide teachers with a stepping stone into historical analysis and a window on to the legacies these highly organised colonial worlds hand down to us today.
Teachers are invited to explore materials suitable for classroom activities in LEARN – which include resources selected for GCSE Geography, French, History curricula – and in ACTIVITIES. A list of websites, archives, and other resources of interest to teachers and researchers is accessible in LINKS.
Meet the team and learn about the origins of the project by clicking here.
For a short introduction to the website from the project director click play below.
The CONTACT page provides information on how to get in touch with us.
We hope you enjoy your time on this site and find resources of interest and value. You are welcome to use the resources citing as your source: Francophone Africa: beyond archives www.francophoneafricaarchive.org. Si vous voulez citer une source ou une information présentée dans le site, nous vous prions de bien vouloir citer notre siteWeb ainsi: Francophone Africa: beyond archives www.francophoneafricaarchive.org
Please let us know if you found what you needed, and do feel free to get involved in debates around these topics in English, French or in African languages. 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.
from the archive…
Amadou Hampaté Ba
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.