Call for Panelists
A Private Escape?
A Critical Examination of the Relationship Between Lagos and Eko Atlantic
The 5th Annual Lagos Studies Association Conference
Theme: Postcolonial African Cities at 60: Continuities and Discontinuities
June 25-27, 2020
Organizers: Elizabeth Cobbett (University of East Anglia, UK) and Lynn Schler (Ben-Gurion University, Israel)
The new development of Eko Atlantic, built inside the Great Wall of Lagos, creates chic, expensive, exclusive, “smart-city” urban space. Eko is a completely 100% private city built on land claimed from the Atlantic Ocean. What began as an effort to address an environmental crisis to save Victoria Island has morphed into gated enclave for international capital and the super wealthy. Marketed as a “global-hub,” the project reflects current trends of financial and political elites retreating to fortresses where they are protected from both rising seas and political turmoil through “Free Zone” status and privatized infrastructure. But at what price for Lagos?
This panel seeks to engage in a broad and critical examination of Eko Atlantic and its multifaceted relationships to Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa, Africa and the global. We invite submissions to this panel from a variety of disciplines and research angles. Below are questions shaping this dialogue and research:
What are the political, financial, material and social power structures/apparatuses in place that provide the privileged of Eko Atlantic with a refuge from Nigeria?
What implications do these power structures and apparatuses have on politics and governance in Nigeria at all scales?
What are the political, economic, social, and cultural implications of this gated city that has reclaimed and privatized what was once Lagos’ most popular coastline?
How will Eko Atlantic engage with, disrupt or enhance the global flows of people, workers, artists, money, ideas, tech, goods, food, and transport that have come to define Lagos as the epicentre of Nigeria and West Africa?
How are Lagos’ citizens experiencing and interpreting the behemoth of private capital and power rising in plain sight but beyond their reach?
How can we situate Eko Atlantic in broader trends of global elites shielding themselves from climate change?