The Métis of Senegal
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Mixed-race elites in a West African coastal community

The Métis of Senegal is a history of politics and society among an influential group of mixed-race people who settled in coastal Africa under French colonialism. Hilary Jones describes how the métis carved out a niche as middleman traders for European merchants. As the colonial presence spread, the métis entered into politics and began to assert their position as local elites and power brokers against French rule. Many of the descendants of these traders continue to wield influence in contemporary Senegal. Jones's nuanced portrait of métis ascendency examines the influence of family connections, marriage negotiations, and inheritance laws from both male and female perspectives.

Introduction: Urban Life, Politics, and French Colonialism
1. Signares, Habitants, and Grumets in the Making of Saint Louis
2. Métis Society and Transformations in the Colonial Economy (1820-1870)
3. Religion, Marriage, and Material Culture
4. Education, Association, and an Independent Press
5. From Outpost to Empire
6. Electoral Politics and the Métis (1870-1890)
7. Urban Politics and the Limits of Republicanism (1890-1920)
Appendix: Family Histories



Publié par
Date de parution 18 mars 2013
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9780253007056
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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The M tis of Senegal

The M tis of Senegal

Hilary Jones
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
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Bloomington, Indiana 47404-3797 USA
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2013 by Hilary Jones
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Jones, Hilary, [date]
The m tis of Senegal : urban life and politics in French West Africa / Hilary Jones. pages cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-253-00673-8 (cloth : alkaline paper)
ISBN 978-0-253-00674-5 (pb : alkaline paper)
ISBN 978-0-253-00705-6 (eb)
1. Racially mixed people-Senegal-Saint-Louis-Social conditions-19th century. 2. Sociology, Urban-Senegal-Saint-Louis. 3. Assimilation (Sociology)-Senegal-Saint-Louis. 4. Elite (Social sciences)-Senegal-Saint-Louis. 5. Metropolitan government-Senegal-Saint-Louis-History-19th century. 6. Political leadership-Senegal-Saint-Louis-History-19th century. 7. Saint-Louis (Senegal)-Social conditions-19th century. 8. Saint-Louis (Senegal)-Politics and government-19th century. 9. France-Colonies-Africa-Administration. I. Title.
DT549.9.S24 J66
1 2 3 4 5 18 17 16 15 14 13
For Janet, Virgil, and Alyson, and in memory of Estelle Bailey Webster .
1 Signares, Habitants, and Grumets in the Making of Saint Louis
2 M tis Society and Transformations in the Colonial Economy (1820-70)
3 Religion, Marriage, and Material Culture
4 Education, Association, and an Independent Press
5 From Outpost to Empire
6 Electoral Politics and the M tis (1870-90)
7 Urban Politics and the Limits of Republicanism (1890-1920)
Appendix: Family Histories
This study would not have been possible without the generosity of many people and agencies. My initial research for this project came about with the assistance of a Social Science Research Council International Pre-Dissertation Award. A Fulbright-Hays fellowship allowed me to carry out field research in Senegal and France. The Dubois-Rodney-Mandela postdoctoral fellowship from the Center of Afro-American Studies at the University of Michigan afforded me the space for me to begin to conceptualize the book. A Graduate Research Board summer award from the University of Maryland facilitated research in the Library of Congress and financial support from Macalester College permitted me to conduct additional research at the Spiritains archives in France. I am grateful for the support of people at these institutions as well as the intellectual communities that shaped my thinking and encouraged the development of this study. I owe a debt to the Africana Studies program and the History Department at the University of Notre Dame as well as colleagues at Macalester College and the University of Maryland, College Park.
I benefited enormously from Senegalese teranaga or hospitality. Many people welcomed me, responded enthusiastically to my project, and patiently helped me to navigate unfamiliar terrain. The staff of the National Archives, especially directors Saliou Mbaye and Boubacar Ndiaye as well as Mamadou Ndiaye, assisted me by asking the right questions of the archival collections and affording me access to key documents. At University Cheikh Anta Diop, historians Penda Mbow, Ibrahima Thioub, and Boubacar Barry provided valuable guidance. I also benefited from conversations with Charles Becker, Fatou Sow, Pathe Diagne, Fadel Dia, and Souylemane Bachir Diagne. I am indebted to Wilma Randle, Marie Florence Diokh, Ibrahima Thiaw, and Marieme Diawarra for their friendship. The staff of the West African Research Center in Dakar provided important logistical support. My first lessons in Wolof language and culture came as a student at the Baobab Center in Dakar. I am grateful to the administrative staff and instructors who provided me with a firm foundation to build upon.
In Saint Louis, I aimed to get a sense of life in the town during its heyday by talking with long term residents and seeking out little known sources. I am grateful for the assistance of former director of CRNS, Abdoul Haidir A dara, Anne and Youssef Coulibaly, faculty at University Gaston Berger, as well as Monseigneur Pierre Sagna and the staff of the Catholic diocese of Saint Louis. Many doomu Ndar (sons and daughters of Saint Louis) were instrumental in my thinking, including Rabi Wane, Aminata Dia, Paul Ouattara, Moustapha Crespin and family, Marie Madeline Diallo, Aicha Fall, Madeline Thiouth, and Ibrahima Diallo. I am especially grateful to Louis Camara for sharing his connection to the historic city and assisting me with identifying and interviewing key subjects. Other informants, mentioned by name in the bibliography, offered me a window into m tis society and valuable insight into their family histories. Several individuals passed away during the course of completing this work. I am grateful to Almamy Mathieu Fall, Andr Guillabert, Georgette Bonet, Alfred d Erneville, and Sarita Henry for their insights.
This book also draws on archival sources from France. The staff of the Archives Nationales d Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence, the Biblioth que Nationale in Paris, the Spiritains Archive, the Gironde Departmental Archives, the Bordeaux municipal archives, and the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce assisted in my research. I am also grateful to Yves Pehaut and Roger Pasquier for alerting me to key resources in France.
A number of people read all or part of this manuscript at various stages. Their critiques and comments proved invaluable. My thanks to David Robinson, Darlene Clark Hine, Leslie Moch, Martin Klein, and Ray Silverman as well as Heran Sereke-Brhan, Cheikh Babou, Ghislaine Lydon, Kalala Ngalamulume, Emily Osborn, Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Lorelle Semley, Wendy-Wilson Fall, and Fiona McLaughlin. Mamadou Diouf, Elsa Barkley Brown, Madeline Zilfi, Ira Berlin, and Valerie Orlando read the work at critical points and offered invaluable suggestions. The two anonymous reviews of the book helped enormously in shaping the final product, as did the patient and diligent work of Dee Mortensen, the editor at Indiana University Press, who shepherded this work to completion. Two copyeditors, Catherine Siskos and Elaine Durham Otto, polished the final product. Don Pirius of made the maps for this book. The images have been reprinted with generous permission from Georges Crespin, Christian Valantin, and the Senegal National Archives. A. Dolidon transcribed recorded interviews. Ultimately all of the words and ideas put forth here are my own as are any mistakes, omissions, or oversights.
My family and friends have been a great source of support and encouragement. Alyson and Janet Jones have seen this work through from its very beginning. Words cannot express the depth of my gratitude. I must thank my network of friends and family in Detroit, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., who listened to me, commiserated with me, and inspired me.
Finally, this study would never have been conceived without Carolyn Jones s insistence that I study francophone Africa as a student at Cass Technical High School, and had it not been for the guidance of teachers at Spelman College, especially Margery Ganz and Michael Gomez. Estelle Bailey Webster planted the seed with her love of African history and culture, before I was old enough to remember. This work is dedicated to her.
The M tis of Senegal
In 1960, when Senegal achieved independence from France, several descendants of mixed-race families who traced their roots to Saint Louis, the colonial capital, assumed prominent roles in the new nation. The first president, L opold S dar Senghor, appointed members of these families to ambassadorships in Paris, London, and the Vatican. Some served as the first generation of lawyers, magistrates, journalists, and educators. Andr Guillabert became minister of foreign affairs and ambassador to France. Prosper Dodds became the first Senegalese bishop to preside over the Catholic diocese of Senegal and Gambia. Others served among the country s first high-ranking military officers. Still others held elected office in the cities, towns, and the National Assembly. Although some left Senegal for France, others remained to play important roles in the new country. 1
For those familiar with Senegal s modern political history, the role of the m tis in the postcolonial nation comes as no surprise. Indeed, the political history of Senegal s nineteenth-century colonial towns is a history of the m tis. Descendants of African women called signares and European merchants or soldiers who resided in the fortified coastal depots, the m tis formed a self-conscious group in mid-eighteenth-century Senegal. Saint Louis, an island port located where the Senegal River meets the Atlantic, became the nexus of m tis society, although the m tis also trac

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