Monthly Archives: March 2016

Legacy of slavery, citizenship and ethnic identity. The struggles of slave descendants in Sahelian Africa

Valerio Colosio //SCMR & Geography// Wednesday 16th March 2016//1-2pm//Arts C133


Slavery is the harshest and most enduring form of social subjugation in global history. Although now officially abolished everywhere, it still represents a current issue and has left a social legacy that represents a relevant topic for social science. The aim of my research is to assess the aftermath of slavery in Sahel, through the case of the Guera region, in central Chad.

I carried out my research with a group locally labelled as “slave descendant” in the Guera region. I am trying to understand what it means to be considered as a slave descendant; and how the recent decentralization reforms are affecting slave descendants’ situation. In this lecture, I will try to discuss some theoretical tools that I am reassessing on the basis of the evidences collected in the fieldwork. First, the category of slave descendant, whose meaning is often grounded in a particular context; then the policies of decentralization and the concept of local civil society; finally, in a broader sense, the idea of citizenship and its relationship with ethnic identities.


Valerio is a PhD candidate of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex. He is investigating how the legacies of slavery are affecting political life in the Guera region, in central Chad. This research forms part of a larger project funded the European Research Council grant 313737 “Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond. A Historical Anthropology” (, focusing on the legacies of slavery. The research is implemented by the University of Milan – Bicocca.

He has achieved an MA in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Milan – Bicocca in 2009 and an MSc in Anthropology and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2012. He has worked in different NGO projects in Chad between 2010 and 2013, spending there a total of 16 months. His main research interests are slavery in the Sahel area and its legacy on contemporary political life; local civil society and its capacity to foster marginal people participation to the social and political life.


Irregular Migrants in London and Barcelona: Between Local Integration and State Policies of Internal Immigration Control

Reinhard Schweitzer //SCMR & Geography// Wednesday 9th March 2016//1-2pm//Arts C133


Irregular migrants are defined as people who live in a country where they have no
formal right of residence. My research does not look at how (or why) they got there, but
how their immigration status affects some of their most fundamental relationships and
interactions with the societies in which they live.

While the recent advent of border controls and -fences tragically illustrates and
reinforces the confines of national territories, immigration control itself doesn’t stop at
the border. Instead, it increasingly targets irregular migrants’ integration in their places
of residence, often by rendering their various dealings with other individuals and
institutions unlawful. One of the consequences of this development is that the task to
control immigration – some say the most fundamental responsibility of the modern
nation state – is not (any more) carried out by border guards alone, but increasingly
involves all kinds of people and professions, including employers, health care staff,
social workers, bank clerks, landlords, and – if they are willing to participate – private

In this lecture I try to look at migrant irregularity from the perspective of those people
who in various ways and to very different degrees are becoming part of this immigration
control and to develop a framework for the comparative analysis of these relationships
across different contexts and sectors.

I think that looking at the local-level incorporation of those who are not supposed to
even be here, let alone to integrate into society, and who are thus (more or less explicitly
and effectively) excluded from many basic rights and services, can tell us a lot about the
integration of immigrants but also society as a whole, about policies that aim to enforce
or prevent it, as well as the meaning of migrant irregularity itself.


PhD candidate (3rd year) and research fellow at the Department of Geography, University
of Sussex.

Loonjorin: a Samburu community living and herding in the shadow of the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, Marsabit County, Kenya. An Entanglement of ethics

James Drew //Geography & Anthropology// Wednesday 2nd March 2016//1-2pm//Arts C133

Africa’s largest wind-farm is under construction in northern Kenya.  Samburu, Turkana and Rendile pastoralists have grazed livestock in this landscape for generations.  This presentation will explore how Samburu living around Mt. Nyiro in northern Kenya deal with different ‘worldviews’ and make them compatible in their lives in light of the unfolding Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) Development Project.  The presentation will highlight issues regarding land claims, lineage rights, and identities; and the (re-)creation of unities, divisions, and conflicts among and between ‘communities’.  This will enable an understanding of how moralities are continually negotiated and why the LTWP development is liberating to some and oppressive to others.


James Drew is a PhD student who straddles the Geography and Anthropology departments in the school of Global Studies at the University of Sussex.