Recent AI Events

Recent AI Events

Rapid-fire military takeovers in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger; Wagner — the Kremlin’s proxy force — moving into the region while the French army is moving out amidst a groundswell of hostility against France’s postcolonial presence; and the fastest-growing Jihadist insurgency in the world… Of late, the swath of arid land stretching across Africa south of the Sahara has been much in the news. Five experts will engage in a timely conversation about the Sahel. 

Speakers: Leif Brottem (Grinnell College), Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos (IRD, Paris), Alioune Sow (University of Florida), Felwine Sarr (Duke), Stephen Smith (Duke) 

Leif Brottem is Associate Professor of Global Development Studies at Grinnell College in the state of Iowa.  He holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has been doing grassroots work and scholarly research in West and Central Africa for the past twenty years.  He currently advises the World Bank on peacebuilding work in littoral West Africa and the United Nations Development Program on resource conflict dynamics on the African continent.  His recent scholarly publications include Pastoral Resource Conflict in the Context of Sudano–Sahelian Security Crises, Gendered livelihoods and land tenure: The case of artisanal gold miners in Mali, West Africa, and The Geography of the bottom billion: rural isolation and basic service access in the Republic of Mali.  His editorials on development and security in rural Africa have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, and the World Politics Review.

Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, a Doctor in political science, is a Senior Researcher at the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD),. He taught as a Professor at the French Institute of Geopolitics in the University of Paris 8 and was a fellow at Chatham House in 2013-2017 and at PRIO (Peace Research Institute, Oslo) in 2015-2020. A specialist on armed conflicts and humanitarian aid in Africa South of the Sahara, he graduated from the Institut d’études politiques in Paris (IEP), where he also taught, and lived during several years in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. He has published some eighty articles and books, including Le Nigeria (1994), Violence et sécurité urbaines (1997), L’aide humanitaire, aide à la guerre ? (2001), Villes et violences en Afrique subsaharienne (2002), Diaspora et terrorisme(2003), Guerres d’aujourd’hui (2007), Etats faibles et sécurité privée en Afrique noire (2008), Les humanitaires dans la guerre (2013), La tragédie malienne (2013), Crises et migrations (2014), Boko Haram: Islamism, Politics, Security, and the State in Nigeria (2015), Violence, statistics, and the politics of accounting for the dead (2016), Violence in Nigeria: A qualitative and quantitative analysis (2016), Un développement humanitaire ? Les ONG à l’épreuve de la critique (2016),L’Afrique, nouvelle frontière du djihad ? (2018), Déconstruire la guerre. Acteurs, discours, controverses (2018), Une guerre perdue : la France au Sahel (2020), L’islam d’Afrique : au-delà du djihad (2021) and Un djihad sans foi ni loi, Ou la guerre contre le terrorisme à l’épreuve des réalités africaines, Paris, PUF (2022).

Alioune Sow is a joint appointment in French and African Studies at the University of Florida. He is the Director of the France Florida Research Institute. His research interests include democratic transition and cultural forms in francophone West Africa, focusing especially on memoirs, theater and films in Mali, as well as migration and theater practices in France. His current book project entitled Transitional memoirs, examines the interplay between letters, politics and the cultures of memory in post military Mali and in the Sahel. His articles on confessions and testimonies in democratic Mali, refugee theater in Bamako, political intuition in autobiographies of childhood, Malian cinema and military, Malian television serials and democratic experience, have been published in Critical InterventionsSocial Dynamics, African Studies Review, Biography. He has also edited special issues of Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines and Etudes Littéraires Africaines. Vestiges et Vertiges appeared with Artois Presses Université in 2011. He has a PhD from the Sorbonne.

Stephen W. Smith, Ph.D., teaches African Studies at Duke with a research focus on conflict analysis, demography/population age structure and Franco-African postcoloniality. A former West Africa correspondent for Reuters, he became the Africa Editor first of Libération (1988-2000) and then Le Monde (2000-2006). He has published seventeen monographs on Africa as well as country reports for the International Crisis Group (ICG) and contributes to The London Review of Books. His latest book — The Scramble for Europe. Young Africa on its Way to the Old Continent was released in 2019 and translated into Spanish, Italian, and German. In November 2021 (February 2022 for the French translation), he co-authored with Richard Cincotta, a demographic study for the Atlantic Council (What Future for The Western Sahel? The region’s demography and its implications by 2045).

Friday, October 20, 2023 at 11:30 am EST15:30 GMT, 17:30 Europe 

Please join ENTANGLEMENT: ECOLOGIES OF KNOWLEDGES for the hybrid event “Re-reading Senghor,” a roundtable discussion convened by Felwine Sarr on the themes of culture, emancipation, vital impulse, and political philosophy in Senghor’s work to examine why we re-read Senghor today and how his thought can help us to rethink critical contemporary issues. 


  • Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Professor of French and of Philosophy, and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University)
    “On the Civilization of the Universal” 
  • Fatoumata Seck (Assistant Professor of French and Italian at Stanford University)
    “Senghorian Negritude as Ideological Independence” 
  • Beata Stawarska (Professor of Philosophy at University of Oregon)  “Senghor’s Relational Ontology” 
  • Cheikh A. Thiam (Professor of English and Black Studies at Amherst College)
    “Negritude, Endogeneity, and Decolonial African Studies” 


  • 11:30 am – 1 PM, Presentations 
  • 1 PM – 2 PM, Lunch 
  • 2 PM – 4 PM, Discussion 

RSVP for lunch: 

Zoom registration: