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Prof. Dr. Wendy Wilson-Fall

Wendy-Wilson Prof. Dr. Wendy Wilson-Fall

Short Bio

Wilson-Fall is a social anthropologist, Associate Professor, and Chair of Africana Studies at Lafayette College. Formerly a Director of the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal from 1999-2004, she recently completed her tenure as President of the Board of the West African Research Association, where she remains ex-officio board member. She currently also serves on the boards of The Africa Network and ARED (Associates for Research and Education in Development), an organization that supports literacy in West African languages, with a focus on the Fulani (Pulaar; Fulfulde) language.  Wilson-Fall has published in academic journals and edited collections. Her research and writing concern themes of exclusivity, inclusion, marginalization, and difference. She has engaged these themes in West Africa and in the United States, with the latter looking at black ethnic identity locally and in the context of global conversations on Africanity.  Her book, Memories of Madagascar and Slavery in the Black Atlantic (2015 Ohio University Press) engaged these questions in relation to oral traditions and the archival story. She is a fellow of The Unit on Youth and Pastoral Mobility at the University of Gaston Berger in Senegal. Wilson-Fall has lectured at many public venues in the United States and abroad. She can be seen on YouTube on the WARA channel.

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Selected Publications

  • “Pastoralist societies in the Sahel: Persistence and adaptation,” in The Oxford Handbook of the African Sahel, ed. Leonardo Villalon, Oxford University Press, forthcoming October, 2021.
  •  “The Motive of the Motif: Tattoos of Fulbe Pastoralists.”  Spring 2014. African Arts, UCLA, Los Angeles, California
  • “Fulbe of the Dieri and the Ferlo."   La societe senegalaise entre le local et le global  Editor, Momar Coumba Diop. Karthala, Paris. 2002. Pp 286-306
  • The Family, Local Institutions and Education.  Drylands Research Institute. United Kingdom. 2000. Series on Senegal, Drylands Research Working Paper 20.
  • "Traditional African Conflict Medecine: The Fulbe Example." in Traditional African Conflict Medicine, ed. J. William Zartman. Johns Hopkins University. SAIS. 1999 pp 49 - 66

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Project Description

“Mobility, Youth, and Making Pastoral Futures: Young herders look forward in Senegal and Niger"

My research project priorities are to take advantage of the Africana Library at Bayeuth, and second, to engage in discussions with colleague researchers who are working on themes of relationality and reflexivity in the framework of the two RS units, Mobility and Knowledges. I will focus on ways to look at (un) mobility of things, persons, and ideas in the pastoral world, keeping in mind my geographic focus of Senegal and Niger. This approach engages the theme of ‘multiple,’ as I consider diverse and multiple ways of being and taking action in the context of pastoral actors and their interface or integration in various worlds of sedentary communities and people; whether they are sedentarized herders, extension agents, development workers, or government officials, foreigners or locals, to name a few.

I will work on a taxonomy of the variety of encounters, actors and institutions that my research data suggests are important. By looking at points of intersection I will be able to analyze moments and situations of relationality and reflexivity as they pertain to the lives of young pastoralists I have interviewed and observed. The first 2 weeks will involve a focus on the library.

In the third week of my fellowship, I will focus on meeting with members of the Mobilities and Knowledges groups in order to discuss my work and to learn about different perspectives held by members of these 2 working groups.

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