Lecture by Jeremiah O. Arowosegbe (Humboldt Foundation, Humboldt University Berlin)
Although ethno-territorial struggles affect the manner in which political authority is constituted and legitimised throughout the world, their impacts on the trajectories of power and the state in Africa have not received the attention deserved in the literature on political development and state building. Meanwhile, in majoritarian agrarian societies, land tenure, just like the granting of usufruct rights to water, shapes economic and political dynamics. Conflicts over land and struggles over access to the key resources of agricultural production––fertile soils, green vegetation, land and water––are widespread throughout Africa and are likely to intensify in the light of ongoing climate change-induced production constraints to agriculturalism and pastoralism. While the details of these issues are best appreciated by examining the contexts and experiences of individual states, land and land rights together with the contentions over land laws, land reforms and the struggles towards democratising land rights constitute a vantage point for understanding these societies. Drawing on archival and ethnographic data on the farmer-herder conflicts over land and water resources between Fulani pastoralists and Tiv agriculturalists in Tivland, North-Central Nigeria as well as Fulani pastoralists and Yoruba agriculturalists in Yorubaland, South-West Nigeria, this study establishes how the struggles over agricultural resources, governance and political power have shaped the violent transformations in colonial and post-colonial Africa. In carrying out this enquiry, comparative cases and illustrations are drawn from Abidjan, Cotonou, Dakar and Darfur among other contexts across the continent.
Jeremiah O. Arowosegbe is an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Experienced and Senior Researcher at the Department of History as well as the Department of Asian and African Studies at Humboldt University of Berlin. Germany. He holds academic degrees in History, Philosophy and Political Science. His areas of research interest and teaching specialization include African Development, African Intellectual History and African Studies as well as African Politics, African Political Thought, Political Theory and Political Thought. His home affiliation is the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Arowosegbe’s publications include Claude E. Ake: The Making of an Organic Intellectual, University of South Africa Press (2018). His current book entitled, Autochthony, Line Systems and State Building in Africa, discusses the impact of colonial practices of ethno-racial segregation on post-colonial understandings of citizenship, conflict and state building in Africa. The book examines the roles that recent dynamics and struggles based on autochthony play in the recent crisis of democratization in Africa.
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