Category Archives: Uncategorized

Who’s getting Mali’s gold?

For the past few years, Mali’s industrial gold production (as reported by the Malian government in various press outlets) has been trending upward: This is surely good news: add rising production levels to the climbing value of gold on world … Continue reading

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The mirage of Malian democracy

Today marks 33 years since Mali embarked on its transition from single-party authoritarian rule to multiparty democracy. Many of us observing events in the country have presumed that throughout its two decades of multiparty, democratic rule beginning in the early … Continue reading

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Betting big on sovereignty

In ordering French troops to quit Malian soil “without delay,” Mali’s transitional authorities are making a high-stakes wager. Their bet seems to be that whatever price the evacuation of Operation Barkhane imposes on Malians in the short term, it will … Continue reading

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Making Mali great again?

Or, The Mali that can say “No” A dramatic shift has been taking shape in Mali, and two recent events suggest that it is now irreversible. One: the massive rallies in Bamako and dozens of other cities and towns throughout … Continue reading

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Cherchez la France: Mali’s complex postcolonial identity

There’s an old French expression cherchez la femme–literally, “look for the woman.” In the 1850s, novelist Alexandre Dumas used this phrase to convey his sense that whatever tensions or conflicts arose between people, somewhere at the root of them would … Continue reading

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Bamako’s mood: good for Goïta, bad for France…

Pollster Sidiki Guindo has just unveiled results from a phone survey of 1144 Bamako residents conducted between September 30 and October 3 (see full results here). The results will surely warm the heart of Mali’s president, Colonel Assimi Goïta, because … Continue reading

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A la recherche de l’avenir de Bamako : Un manifeste ethnographique

Au risque de paraître trop hâtif ou empressé, je voudrais aborder maintenant [le sujet] la question de mes prochaines recherches à Bamako. Le manuscrit de livre tiré de mes recherches passées reste bloqué pour le moment ; j’ai commencé ces … Continue reading

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Looking for Bamako’s future: An ethnographic manifesto

It is probably premature of me, perhaps even somewhat rash, to choose this time to write about my next research project in Bamako. After all, the book manuscript stemming from my current project (on the city’s changing contours of marriage … Continue reading

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Le taximan bamakois: A tribute

To give you a rough idea of the importance of taxis to my existence whenever I’m in Bamako, let me offer this number: in the field notes I wrote during my last research trip, a three-week visit to wrap up a decade-long study of urban marriage and polygamy trends, the word “taxi” appears 28 times–more often than the name of my wife who accompanied me, more often than “marriage” or “polygamy,” and nearly as often as “Bamako.” Continue reading

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Exploring risk and resilience in rural Mali

The year’s most notable book of Mali-focused research is, to my mind, Camilla Toulmin’s Land, Investment, and Migration: Thirty-Five Years of Village Life in Mali. Based on the author’s fieldwork in the community of Dlonguebougou (central Segou region, north of … Continue reading

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