Hello, I’m a historian and grad student at Michigan State University, focused on Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea.
My research focuses on the movement of Fulbe and other people in southern Senegambia, a region encompassing southern Senegal, eastern Gambia, eastern Guinea-Bissau, and northwestern Guinea. I argue this movement allowed southern Senegambians to create transnational communities in the face of colonial and post-colonial governments looking to restrict and monitor movement.
Southern Senegambians moved throughout the twentieth century for a variety of reasons. However, most of the discussion of African migration focuses on either people fleeing genocide, civil war, etc., or people fleeing African countries for the United States and Europe. However, most migrants in Africa move within the continent, sometimes within countries, but also across national borders. Are these migrants considered immigrants? How do they integrate into new communities and countries? Creating a broader understanding of African migration helps us understand the complexity of the African continent.
I decided to catalogue the individual journeys highlighted in this project because academic work too often leaves little space for the personal narratives of individuals, especially if those individuals did not leave a large mark in the historical record. However, their stories, which at times contradict each other, give us an idea of the lived reality of life in twentieth century Senegambia. These interviews discuss many tragic events, but also give us an idea of the interconnectivity of southern Senegambia, and the ways in which people have made and remade networks in the face of adversity.