Cameroon: Legacies of violence and prospects for peace. New impulses from research

Responding to a growing need to anchor analysis of the current violent crises in historical perspectives, the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI) organized a workshop on 16 and 17 June 2021 that had to be held as a webinar due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Eight papers were presented and discussed; offering food for thought to a broad audience of quite different disciplinary background. Studies on Cameroon slowly begin to expand (again). Academic and non-academic interest has been growing recently - mostly due to the “Anglopone crisis” which is clearly the focus of the mini-series of Working Papers proposed here.

The workshop organisers had opted for a long-term view spanning from 1) the precolonial to German colonial period, via 2) the British and French mandate rule until decolonization/reunification (1961), and 3) the Ahidjo and Biya years until today. Compared to other African countries of approximately the same size, Cameroon’s violent history has for a long time received at best a fair share, but certainly not a high scholarly attention. Recently, a good number of Ph.D. and larger research projects were started and some of the webinar’s participants are themselves active in creating international networks of researchers. Some of those individuals, both senior and junior, used the opportunity to share their research results and discuss promising avenues for further research.

The conference organisers had identified a number of gaps in the academic literature on Cameroon’s legacy of violence including a lack of a gender-lens on violence and contestation; i.e. female activists, female organisations and female victims of violence are not well covered in academic production. Furthermore, during the last decades relatively little has been published on the British UN mandate period, though more archival material should be available today. Finally, Cameroon is rarely compared to other countries, and is particularly absent in larger debates on violence, conflict-mitigating institutions or ‘state failure’, arguably because the current level of violence is still regarded as below the level of a ‘major crisis’. Digging deeper into the history, consequences and lateral aspects of the current violent conflict between Anglophone separatists and the government remains an important task and the contributions of the series – all inspired by the 2021 workshop at ABI – provide exactly this.

Photo by Youssouf NCHETKOU NDAM on Unsplash


Externe ProjektbearbeiterInnen: 
Denis M. Tull, Miriam Glund