Author Archives: IC_UGC

Waiting for COVID-19 in Makeni, Sierra Leone, by Susan Shepler (2020)

This is the third time I’ve fled Sierra Leone because of a crisis. The first was in May of 2000 during the tail end of the war, when RUF rebels took UNAMSIL peacekeepers hostage. The second was July 2014, during Ebola time, just as people in Freetown were starting to take the virus seriously. And […]

Land and tears: the political economy of deforestation on the Freetown Peninsula, by Anais Menard (2019)

For some years now, at the height of Sierra Leone’s rainy season, heavy floods have struck the country’s capital city, Freetown, leaving behind them damaged infrastructure and devastated housing.[1] This year, again, floods claimed several lives in Freetown and paralyzed the city for days. Nearby towns on the Peninsula, like Wellington and Tombo, were also […]

Some thoughts and observations on the Liberian presidential and representative elections, by Maarten Bedert (2018)

The second day of Christmas saw the birth of a new President in Liberia. Former football player and current Senator for Montserrado County, George Weah won the presidential run-off against former Vice-President Joseph Boakai. The election was a memorable one for several reasons. It marked the end of the second term of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and […]

Acceleration: The Key Feature of Twenty-First Century Globalization? A Review of ‘Overheating: An Anthropology of Accelerated Change’, by Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Pluto Press, by David O’Kane (2016)

‘It’s the global’: these were the words which miners in Sierra Leone used to explain the global economic slowdown of 2007, the event which would lead to the global economic crisis of 2008, and to the continuing crises which flowed out from it. These words stand, very effectively, for the ways in which crisis at […]

Remnants of Ebola: Contemporary Repercussions at a Former Centre of the Outbreak, by Anita Schroven (2017)

Field notes from Kailahun and Kpemalu. The road network in Sierra Leone has much improved in recent years, especially since the first time I travelled to the Eastern Province in 2004. Today, the tarmac ends in Pendembu, a town 17 miles from the district headquarter town of Kailahun. The district is the most eastern part […]

In the Heart of the City: The Case of Long-Term Refugees in Dakar, Senegal, by Agathe Menetrier (2017)

Worldwide, the majority of refugees now lives in urban areas. Refugee camps have long since become the hallmark of prolonged refugee crises, so that researchers and aid organisations now increasingly focus on urban spaces. Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is a good example of such an urban haven. Central to the issue are the questions […]

The Morning After: Anthropology and the Ebola Hangover, by Anne Menzel and Anita Schroven (2016)

The morning after a long night a well-deserved hangover can be treated with a variety of potent remedies. There is black coffee with lemon, raw egg with Tabasco, or just staying in bed and waiting for the hangover to pass. These antitoxins work for the alcohol-induced hangover. However, some anthropologists specialised in West Africa or […]

Review of Danny Hoffman’s ‘The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia’, by Jacqueline Knörr (2014)

Hoffman, Danny (2012): The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Critique of Anthropology 34: 124 (2014). Hoffman’s book looks at the lives of young men who participated in the Sierra Leonean (1991-2002) and Liberian (1989-1996, 1999-2003) wars, which, in his view, were so closely […]

The Frontier in Sierra Leone: Past Experiences, Present Status and Future Trajectories, by David O’Kane and Anaïs Ménard (2015)

Igor Kopytoff revolutionised our thinking on the origins of African ethnic identities by arguing that such identities were formed by and through frontier processes. These were the political and economic processes that came into play when groups splintered from existing populations and migrated into new zones on the edges of, or between, existing population groups […]

Towards ‘Audit Culture’ in Sierra Leone? Understanding ‘Quality Assurance’ at the University of Makeni, by David O’Kane (2014)

Audits and audit-like mechanisms have been as important in the colonial and postcolonial past of Sierra Leone as they are today, and yet their social consequences in this West African state have always been contested and unpredictable. Contemporary anthropologists of policy tend to see the present, global wave of auditing as part of a world-wide […]