Tribute to Professor Boubacar Barry and Professor Abdoulaye Bathily 23-24- 25 November 2023

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Call for papers

The History Department of the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar (UCAD) is organizing a symposium from 23 to 25 November 2023 to pay tribute to Professors Boubacar Barry and Abdoulaye Bathily. Boubacar Barry and Abdoulaye Bathily are children of the great River Senegal. As historians and academics, they are united by a strong friendship that dates back to the university benches where they spent more than half a century of their lives. From their far-flung hometowns of Dindéa in Guinea for Professor Barry and Tiyabou in eastern Senegal for Professor Bathily, they rose through the ranks of academia despite many challenges. Boubacar Barry, a Guinean refugee, and Abdoulaye Batilly, expelled from the University of Dakar after the May 68 strike, have trained and inspired generations of African and diaspora historians. Each in his own way has also worked for peace and economic development on the continent. Among his many notable works is Boubacar Barry's seminal work, Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade” (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998), originally in French and translated into many languages. He is the standard bearer of the Dakar School of History, a founding member of the Association of African Historians in 1972, and a visiting professor at the University of Hamburg and at the University of Michigan in 1996. He has also served as the Deputy Executive Secretary of CODESRIA from 1987 to 1990, and as a consultant for Africa at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the World Bank from 1990 to 1997. Professor Bathily has published extensively on imperialism, including, Les portes de l'or. Le royaume du Galam de l'ère musulmane au temps des négriers (Paris: Editions L'Harmattan, 1985). In his memoirs, Passion de liberté (Présence Africaine, 2022) ", he recounts his journey from his childhood in Tyabou to his struggles at the forefront of politics and civil rights. A figurehead of May 68 in Dakar, a trade unionist and a politician, Bathily has always fought for democracy and freedom in Senegal and in Africa. He was a candidate in the 1993 presidential elections, a member of the Senegalese National Assembly and a minister on several occasions. He currently holds the position of the United Nations Special Representative for Libya. The celebration dedicated to Almaami Barry and Tunka Bathily, asthey are known to close friends, will highlight their academic careers, crowned today by their well-deserved retirements in 2008 and 2012 respectively. Their commitment and struggle for social justice and African integration will also be highlighted. In addition, their openness makes it necessary to invite their fellow colleagues from the academic and political world in Dakar.

A cultural and festive component is planned throughout the conference with the participation of artists. The main axis of the symposium will be devoted to the internal dynamics around the Senegal River, whose history has been made understandable thanks in part thanks to their work which complements that of the late Oumar Kane, another icon of the history department of UCAD called the Grand Fullo. The symposium invites us to reflect on the issue from the political formations around the river, up to the nation states within the framework of the OMVS/OMVG, two water authorities that extend to Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and the Gambia. It will be interesting to see how the river has integrated or is still integrating the populations of Greater Senegambia, which have interacted with the pre-colonial political formations of Ghana, Mali, Songhay, and the empire of El Hadji Omar Tall.

The thematic axes below are not exhaustive. Main Topics

  • Senegambia in the West African space and its trans-Saharan relations
  • Wagadu/Ghana: history, archeology and memory of a West African medieval empire
  • Wars, crises and identities in Africa over the long term
  • The Senegal River Valley: a cultural melting pot and a long-term commercial artery
  • Senegambia as a factor in the history of the Mediterranean world and America
  • (West) African economies and societies: the long road to integration
  • The West African Sahel, between environmental pressures and security challenges
  • Democracy and social movements
  • Student movements and political struggles in colonial and post-independence Africa
  • The historian and civic engagement


Testimonies and life stories Those interested in the symposium are invited to submit an abstract for papers (in French, English and Spanish) or suggest cultural activities in their field by 30 June 2023. An abstract of approximately 300 words, accompanied by a short CV, should be sent to the following address:

Categories: CFP