SEMINAR - WEB EVENT: Life without Authority: Frontier Violence in West Africa

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Via Zoom
  • Lecturer: Michael John Watts, Non-resident Long-term Fellow for Programmes on the Political Economy of Development and Development Policy, SCAS. Senior Global Horizons Fellow, SCAS. Class of ‘63 Professor of Geography, University of California, Berkeley
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Klas Holm
  • Seminarium

Michael John Watts, SCAS and University of California, gives a seminar on "Life without Authority: Frontier Violence in West Africa". The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

Abstract

What might it mean to leave outside of legitimate systems of public authority? And under what conditions might that arise? In this lecture I examine two insurgencies that arose in Nigeria -  Africa's most populous state and a major producer of oil and gas for world markets - during the 2000s, each markedly different in character and form and arising in contrasting regions of the country: one draped in the language of Islam, restoration and the Caliphate, the other in the language of secular nationalism. I shall argue that the conditions of possibility for these two contrasting forms of armed non-state violence can best be understood through the intersection of three processes: space (what I shall call the frontier), public authority (the decay and illegitimacy of modern and customary institutions), and generation (the category of youth politics). All three were in turn shaped by the political logic, or ordering of power, within Nigeria's petro-capitalism.

For more information and the webinar link, please see http://www.swedishcollegium.se/subfolders/Events.html.