Rethinking the History of Military Governments in Africa Stream at ASAUK24
Posted on 7th November, 2023 in News
Rethinking the History of Military Governments in Africa
Following independence, states in Africa were gripped by a ‘coup contagion’. Between 1963 and 1984 the continent averaged three successful coup d’état per year. Coups and army rule, in their various permutations, formed an integral part of Africa’s post-independence history. With the end of the Cold War the number of successful coups sharply declined, with military rulers ousted from power or civilianising their regimes. It was hoped military rule would remain a thing of the past. But the recent spate of successful coups in Africa has demonstrated the necessity of re-engaging with the history of military governments, questioning their broader social, political and economic impact.
This thematic stream calls for papers on the broad topic of military governments in Africa, especially those which rethink, recontextualise or destabilise traditional narratives on army rule. It seeks to bring different disciplinary perspectives together, uniting the often-disconnected literature by political scientists, anthropologists and historians on coups and army rule. This stream is particularly interested in case studies from across the continent, aiming to develop a comparative perspective on military rule which appreciates national and regional contours. How and why did small numbers of soldiers manage to regularly seize control of entire states? How did soldiers legitimise their rule after taking power, striking a balance between ruling through the barrel of the gun and engaging with civilian groups? How did military governments develop and implement policy, ranging from domestic projects to international diplomacy? How did men and women experience military rule differently, and how did women in particular find ways to navigate the undemocratic and overwhelmingly male structures of military governments? And how can academics study military rule when archival evidence is limited and interviews problematic to conduct? These key questions have both historical and contemporary significance, reflecting recent literature re-examining Africa’s military past.
Please send queries about this stream to Ryan Colton at RXC906@student.bham.ac.uk.