New perspectives in historical research: debating the History of Borno and archival material with Vincent Hiribarren
On Thursday, 13th of April, 2017, IFRA Nigeria was very happy to host Dr. Vincent Hiribarren for a book presentation and a documentary debate.
About Dr. Hiribarren
Dr. Hiribarren is Lecturer in African History at King’s College, London, UK, and a specialist of Northern Nigeria. His work stresses on spatial and borderland dynamics in an original diachronic perspective. He has done archival and field research in various locations of Northern Nigeria, including Kaduna and Maiduguri. He is also very familiar with colonial archives in Paris, London and Berlin. Additionally, Dr. Hiribarren has developed an interest in “digital methodologies” for research in social sciences and humanities, as exposed in his personal website.
Book presentation: A History of Borno. Trans-Saharan African Empire to Failing Nigerian State
Early in the morning, Dr. Hiribarren presented the main findings of his recent book, A History of Borno. Trans-Saharan African Empire to Failing Nigerian State (Hurst Publisher, 2017), now available at the IFRA library. Drawing on a wide-range of sources in Africa and Europe, the book offers a contrasted analysis of the territorial and political evolutions of Borno over the past 200 years. It portrays a complex history that goes way beyond the current bleak reputation of this Nigerian state where the Boko Haram insurgency is taking place.
The book critically pays attention to the borderland transformations and controversies that made Borno a crucial Trans-Saharan crossroad in the latest centuries. The presentation was followed by a vivid session of Q&A that demonstrated the acute interest for Borno and broader Northern Nigeria within the University of Ibadan. Lecturers and students from the Institute of African Studies (IaS), but also from the history and archaeology departments among others, picked up with several key points of the book.
Thursday Film Series: Capitaine Thomas Sankara
In the evening, the Thursday Film Series movie club, in collaboration with IFRA Nigeria, screened the documentary Capitaine Thomas Sankara released in Switzerland in 2014 and directed by Christophe Cupelin. Based on outstanding archival material, the film turns to the presidency and assassination of Thomas Sankara, iconic head of state of Burkina Faso from 1983 to his fall in 1987.
Dr. Hiribarren, who has also conducted archival research on President Sankara’ killing, moderated a post-screening debate notably revolving around the role of archival resources in historiography, related difficulties and political obstacles. Access to archives has been very topical in the discussions around the circumstances of Sankara’s death in 1987 due to potential involvements of foreign powers. The audience was particularly attuned to the issues of archival censorship and the role of historians in African societies, linking up grey areas in the faith of Thomas Sankara to Nigerian politics.
Vincent Hiribarren developing key points of his research
Numerous lecturers and students debating the History of Borno
Our Thursday Film Series audience captivated by Capitaine Thomas Sankara