This anthology reflects the complex processes in the production of historical knowledge and memory about Sierra Leone and its diaspora since the 1960s. The processes, while emblematic of experiences in other parts of Africa, contain their own distinctive features. The fragments of these memories are etched in the psyche, bodies, and practices of Africans in Africa and other global landscapes; and, on the other hand, are embedded in the various discourses and historical narratives about the continent and its ...
This anthology reflects the complex processes in the production of historical knowledge and memory about Sierra Leone and its diaspora since the 1960s. The processes, while emblematic of experiences in other parts of Africa, contain their own distinctive features. The fragments of these memories are etched in the psyche, bodies, and practices of Africans in Africa and other global landscapes; and, on the other hand, are embedded in the various discourses and historical narratives about the continent and its peoples. Even though Africans have reframed these discourses and narratives to reclaim and re-center their own worldviews, agency, and experiences since independence they remained, until recently, heavily sedimented with Western colonialist and racialist ideas and frameworks. This anthology engages and interrogates the differing frameworks that have informed the different practices–professional as well as popular–of retelling the Sierra Leonean past.
In a sense, therefore, it is concerned with the familiar outline of the story of the making and unmaking of an African “nation” and its constituent race, ethnic, class, and cultural fragments from colonialism to the present. Yet, Sierra Leone, the oldest and quintessential British colony and most Pan-African country in the continent, provides interesting twists to this familiar outline. The contributors to this volume, who consist of different generations of very accomplished and prominent scholars of Sierra Leone in Africa, the United States, and Europe, provide their own distinctive reflections on these twists based on their research interests which cover ethnicity, class, gender, identity formation, nation building, resistance and social conflict. Their contributions engage various paradoxes and transformative moments in Sierra Leone and West African history. They also reflect the changing modes of historical practice and perspectives over the last 50 years of independence.
In an ethos of endemic corruption, an ethnic-based politics, degraded educational structures, environmental pollution, and praetorian ambiguity, this anthology identifies the way to renewal. It plumbs the disquieting tensions of the trenches, gives voice to the marginalized, and rescues us from the cynical narratives of elite interests and personages. We see grassroots potential for relevance and verve, and our editors supply a long-felt need for interpretations of complex phenomena of gender, race, ethnicity, and social class.
Sylvia Ojukutu-Macauley is professor of history at Truman State University. She is also the director of the Ronald McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program at Truman. Ojukutu-Macauley has also taught at Fourah Bay College—University of Sierra Leone and the University of Ghana-Legon.
Ismail Rashid, is professor of history at Vassar College. He is the coeditor (with Adekeye Adebajo) of West Africa’s Security Challenges (2004).
Chapter 1: Introduction
Sylvia Ojukutu-Macauley and Ismail Rashid
Chapter 2: Rebellious Subjects and Citizens: Writing Subalterns into the History of Sierra Leone
Chapter 3: Clapping With One Hand: The Search for a Gendered ‘Province of Freedom’ in the Historiography of Sierra Leone
Chapter 4: (Re) envisioning the African Diaspora: Historical Memory and Cross-fertilization in Post-colonial Sierra Leone
Chapter 5: Historical Memory, Pan-Africanism and National Identity
Chapter 6: The Chalmers Commission and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Sierra Leone Official Inquiries as Historical Memory
Chapter 7: Decolonization and the Rise of Krio Separatism
Chapter 8: The Roots of Military Praetorianism in Sierra Leone
Chapter 9: History and Memory in Contemporary Sierra Leone: Re-inscribing Fragments from an Atlantic Past
Chapter 10: History, Memory and Post-Colonial Sierra Leone
Chapter 11: Sierra Leone at Fifty: Confronting Old Problems and Preparing for New Challenges
Chapter 12: They Hold Up Half the Sky: Prospects and Challenges for Sierra Leonean Women in the 21st Century and Beyond