Friday, January 14, 2011
Fulbright scholar to discuss current border issues of African nations By Katie Land, news editor
National troubles and the current state of political borders in Africa is the central theme of an upcoming lecture by Dr. Pierre Englebert, Fulbright scholar and professor of political science at Pomona College in California.
As part of this year’s College of Arts and Sciences theme, “Frontiers and Borders,” Dr. Englebert will present his lecture, “Whose Borders are they? The Case against the African State,” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, in Banquet Room A of the Oakland Center.
“Besides his status as an international recognized expert on African politics, Dr. Englebert was selected because his research embodies the spirit of the "Frontiers and Borders" theme,” said Mathew Fails, assistant professor of political science and event organizer. “He has consistently focused on thought-provoking and potentially controversial questions that address the very fundamental nature of political borders in today's interconnected world.”
In his lecture, Dr. Englebert will explore the history of the arbitrary borders that divide the African continent into individual nations. He will examine the nature, impact, and consequences of European colonialism and discuss whether or not a new political map could assuage some of the political, economic and social troubles that have plagued the continent in recent decades.
As part of his presentation, Dr. Englebert will raise the controversial question of whether failing African states that are unable to provide basic necessities for their citizens should be "de-recognized" by the Western world by withdrawing diplomatic relations, ceasing financial aid, and expelling the nations from international organizations such as the United Nations.
This topic is particularly timely as the Sudan, Africa's largest country, is currently in the process of determining if a portion of the country should break away and form a new nation.
“I hope that students will recognize the real-world relevance of their studies after this presentation,” Fails said. “Also, the event will be successful if it encourages people to think more seriously about Africa as a region, since it is so often marginalized in today's world.”
Currently, Dr. Englebert is a visiting Fulbright scholar at the University of Bordeaux, France. As a recognized scholar on African politics, Dr. Englebert has published four books and several dozen articles, book chapters and newspaper editorials.
“At OU, students have a great opportunity to connect with prominent visiting scholars and explore issues that are not otherwise covered in the standard curriculum,” Fails said. “Events such as these are also a great opportunity for scholars outside of the region to learn more about the great work and curious minds that we have here at OU.”
The lecture is sponsored by the Political Science Department, the Department of History, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, as well as the Center for International Programs at OU. For more information about Dr. Englebert’s lecture, view the flyer.
To learn more about events in this year’s CAS theme, view the website at oakland.edu/frontierandborders.