Mobility in the Greater Senegambian Region: Migrations, Politics, and Popular Culture

Babacar M'Baye's picture
October 2, 2021
United States
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, Black History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies, World History / Studies

Senegambian Studies Group Virtual Conference

Mobility in the Greater Senegambian Region: Migrations, Politics, and Popular Culture

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Held virtually

The greater Senegambian region is one of the major hubs in the Euro-Mediterranean migrant/refugee crisis, and scholarship from across the social sciences and humanities have deeply engaged with questions of migration, the factors driving it, and the multiple transformations that people who experience the journey and the cultures they carry go through. Senegambian mobility has always been a norm rather than exception, as shown by historians like Boubacar Barry, Ousmane Kane, and others. From the forced and inhumane mobility of the Atlantic Slave Trade to the phenomenon of nawettan, from the region’s role as a “gateway to Sudan,” as Barry put it, to the importance of international tourism, Senegambia has always been a place where people come, go, and sometimes stay. Senegambians themselves are mobile both within and outside the region, as seen, for example, in the robust diasporic enclaves in places from New York City, Atlanta, and Paris to Rome.

At the same time, people are not the only things that move since ideas and elements of culture travel as well. From the global stardom of Youssou N’Dour to the transnational origins of the Baye Fall movement and the renown of Senegalese film, Senegambia is a place of cultural generation and innovation whose products have moved across the world. There is, of course, a dark underbelly of mobility as well, as seen in recent seizures in Dakar and Banjul of illegal narcotics smuggled from Latin America on their way to Europe. Furthermore, mobility—of ideas, people, money, etc.—is not always encouraged by national and international actors as seen most vividly in visa regimes and, at the time of a global pandemic, border shutdowns due to public health.

We are looking for papers from any discipline that engage in creative and insightful ways with the idea of mobility in Senegambian studies and in the Senegambian region (broadly understood to include not just Senegal and the Gambia but also Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry and parts of Mali and Mauritania). We accept proposals both for individual paper submissions as well as for fully formed panels of no more than three papers (Note: not sure about this—I guess we need to discuss the parameters over email).

Please email paper proposals of no more than 250 words to Niklas Hultin (, Babacar M’Baye (, and Mariame Iyane Sy ( no later than April 10, 2021. Accepted presenters will be notified by May 10, 2021.

Contact Info: 

Babacar M’Baye, PhD

Department of English

113 Satterfield Hall

Kent State University

PO Box 5190, Kent, Ohio, 44242-0001

Tel: (Office) 330-672-1742
Fax: 330-672-3152

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