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Border Festivals, Partitioned Communities and Practical Governance in West Africa

This project explores border festivals between divided populations on the Ghana/Togo and Cameroun/Chad borders

Across Africa, official pledges to mitigate the inconvenience associated with international borders hardly squares with the daily realities that populations confront. Despite the innumerable obstacles, border regions represent important sites of regional connectivity, as is apparent from flows between markets. This project focuses on border festivals that similarly connect divided populations as well as linking borders to other centres. It deploys two sets of festivals on the Ghana/Togo and Cameroun/Chad borders to investigate the manner in which they articulate with other cycles (including rotating markets), embody a process of reflection on historical and cultural linkages, and afford an opportunity for participants to engage with state functionaries. As moments of exception, festivals create a stage on which borderlanders can make their voices heard in ways that are not normally possible.

Principal Investigator: Professor Paul Nugent, University of Edinburgh

Project part of

Tackling the UK's International Challenges

The projects funded under this programme aim to bring new research ideas and methods to bear on understanding the UK’s international challenges – past, current and future.


We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.