On Trans-Saharan Trails: A New Approach to Writing African History

Ghislaine Lydon, UCLA Department of History

Monday, October 06, 2008
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
10th Floor
UCLA campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Based on her forthcoming book (*On Trans-Saharan Trails: Islamic Law, Trade Networks and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Western Africa," Cambridge University Press, 2009), Ghislaine Lydon will discuss the long-drawn history of exchanges among African Muslims of the North, the West and the Saharan regions of the continent, from the earliest of times until the more recent past. She also will consider the challenges involved in doing historical research across the Sahara that attempts to bridge the African divide. 

Ghislaine Lydon is Associate Professor of history at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in History from Michigan State University. She recently completed a study of the history of trans-Saharan trade in nineteenth-century Western Africa. Her work examined the organization of long-distance trade from the point of view of the logistics and the strategies that caravaners employed to outfit and launch regional and trans-Saharan caravans in present-day Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal and the Western Sahara.

Currently, she’s research on a project tentatively entitled "The Evolution of Women's Rights in Muslim West Africa." Working with French colonial archives, including those of the Tribunal Musulman in Saint-Louis (Senegal), and local Mauritanian and Malian legal sources that deal with women's civil rights, she is studying how Muslim African women carved out spaces of power by using both colonial and local institutions of the law in the nineteenth century, and following these developments to uncover how and why certain groups of women experienced an erosion of their rights in the course of the early twentieth century.

Cost : Free and open to the public

African Studies Center


Sponsor(s): African Studies Center