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Amateur enthusiasms and colonial museum policy in British West Africa
Paul Basu

As one gazes up at the monumental cotton tree that stands at the symbolic centre of Freetown it is easy to miss the unprepossessing little bungalow that it both literally and metaphorically overshadows. Once a telephone exchange, and before that a railway station, since 1957 this inconspicuous building has housed Sierra Leone’s National Museum. With its antiquated displays and chaotic storerooms, the museum is little visited today and barely has resources to pay the meagre salaries of its few staff members, let

in Curating empire
The global reconciliation discourse and its local performance
Judith Renner

The global reconciliation discourse performs in particular on the local level as it is here, in post-conflict societies, that the reconciliation discourse is deployed as a tool of post-conflict peacebuilding. This chapter focuses on the example of Sierra Leone in order to explore how the global reconciliation discourse is brought to new local contexts and how it performs there. In particular, it aims to

in Discourse, normative change and the quest for reconciliation in global politics
Stephen Benedict Dyson

4 The Kosovo and Sierra Leone interventions ‘There is only one person arguing for ground troops’ to go into Kosovo, commented a senior NATO official as the alliance pondered its options, ‘and that is Tony Blair’.1 Blair was indeed alone during late April and May 1999 in pushing forcefully for an invasion of Kosovo to halt Serbian ethnic cleansing operations, and his stance, which was judged by some to be close to ‘messianic’,2 provoked high anger from President Clinton, ‘widespread bafflement’ from the French,3 and a questioning of his judgment from some cabinet

in The Blair identity
Bronwen Everill

ethnic – understandings of British identity in the empire further complicate the story of the British world. Black loyalists who fought with the British in the American Revolution and were resettled in Nova Scotia and then Sierra Leone; black South Africans who fought with the British in their imperial wars; ‘Afro-Victorians’ who served in colonial administrations and ran the empire in Africa; and the

in The cultural construction of the British world
A Focus on Community Engagement
Frédéric Le Marcis
Luisa Enria
Sharon Abramowitz
Almudena-Mari Saez
, and
Sylvain Landry B. Faye

and negotiated through localised encounters. 1 We present three ethnographic cases based on first-hand, epidemic-related field observations of community engagement and local resistance. The authors were involved in diverse ways in Sierra Leone (Luisa Enria), Liberia (Almudena Mari Saez 2 ) and Guinea (Frédéric Le Marcis and Sylvain Landry B. Faye) and as part of the global response coordination (Sharon Abramowitz). These case studies, directly observed by the authors

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

This book offers a new and critical perspective on the global reconciliation technology by highlighting its contingent and highly political character as an authoritative practice of post-conflict peacebuilding. After retracing the emergence of the reconciliation discourse from South Africa to the global level, the book demonstrates how implementing reconciliation in post-conflict societies is a highly political practice which entails potentially undesirable consequences for the post-conflict societies to which it is deployed. Inquiring into the example of Sierra Leone, the book shows how the reconciliation discourse brings about the marginalization and neutralization of political claims and identities of local populations by producing these societies as being composed of the ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ of past human rights violations which are first and foremost in need of reconciliation and healing.

In pursuit of the good state

Africa was a key focus of Britain's foreign policy under Tony Blair. Military intervention in Sierra Leone, increases in aid and debt relief, and grand initiatives such as the Commission for Africa established the continent as a place in which Britain could ‘do good’. This book critically explores Britain's fascination with Africa. It argues that, under New Labour, Africa represented an area of policy which appeared to transcend politics. Gradually, it came to embody an ideal state activity around which politicians, officials and the wider public could coalesce, leaving behind more contentious domestic and international issues. Building on the story of Britain and Africa under Blair, the book draws wider conclusions about the role of ‘good’ and idealism in foreign policy. In particular, it discusses how international relations provide opportunities to create and pursue ideals, and why they are essential for the wellbeing of political communities. The book argues that state actors project the idea of ‘good’ onto idealised, distant objects, in order to restore a sense of the ‘good state’.

Creole interventions in Sierra Leone
Richard Philips

An editorial printed in the Artisan , a Creole newspaper published in Sierra Leone, suggests the generative power of ordinary colonial geographies – the real and imagined worlds of colonial subjects rather than government officials or metropolitan travel writers – within imperial sexuality politics. Here in the numerous dark approaches are imparted and received many first lessons in a course of error, hard to be removed, if even repented of. Perhaps unadvisedly, young and inexperienced

in Sex, politics and empire
British policies, practices and representations of naval coercion

The suppression of the Atlantic slave trade has puzzled nineteenth-century contemporaries and historians. The British Empire turned naval power and moral outrage against a branch of commerce it had done so much to promote. This book deals with the British Royal Navy's suppression of the Atlantic slave trade. It traces the political debates which framed policies for the British state's waning but unbroken commitment to slave-trade suppression. If protectionists failed to stop free trade and anti-coercionists failed to withdraw the cruisers, then they did both succeed in reshaping domestic debates to support labour coercion. The book examines details of the work of the navy's West Africa Squadron which have been passed over in earlier narrative accounts. The liberty afforded to the individuals who entered as apprentices into Sierra Leone cannot be clearly distinguished from the bonded labour awaiting them had their enslavers completed the voyage to the Americas. The experiences of sailors and Africans ashore and on ship often stand in contrast to contemporaneous representations of naval suppression. Comparison of the health of African and European sailors serving on the West Africa Station provides insight into the degree to which naval medicine was racialised. The book discusses the anti-slave trade squadron's wider, cultural significance, and its role in the shaping of geographical knowledge of West Africa. It charts the ways in which slave-trade suppression in the Atlantic Ocean was represented in material culture, and the legacy of this commemoration for historical writing and public memory in the subsequent 200 years.

Lessons from the MSF Listen Experience
Jake Leyland
Sandrine Tiller
, and
Budhaditya Bhattacharya

meningitis vaccination efforts, which had been successful in the past ( Karsou, 2021 ). In Sierra Leone, MSF staff witnessed how rumours about rogue travellers delivering lethal COVID-19 injections under the guise of vaccinations were changing the health-seeking behaviour of communities. Presentation rates for routine vaccinations for children under five dropped as a result ( MSF, 2020 ). Over this period, the MSF Listen team conducted eight interviews with

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs