In recent years the popularity of service learning and study abroad programs that bring students to the global South has soared, thanks to this generation of college students' desire to make a positive difference in the world. This collection contains essays by undergraduates who recount their experiences in Togo working on projects that established health insurance at a local clinic, built a cyber café, created a microlending program for teens, and started a local writers' group. The essays show students putting their optimism to work while learning that paying attention to local knowledge can make all the difference in a project's success. Students also conducted research on global health topics by examining the complex relationships between traditional healing practices and biomedicine. Charles Piot's introduction contextualizes student-initiated development within the history of development work in West Africa since 1960, while his epilogue provides an update on the projects, compiles an inventory of best practices, and describes the type of projects that are likely to succeed. Doing Development in West Africa provides a relatable and intimate look into the range of challenges, successes, and failures that come with studying abroad in the global South.
Contributors. Cheyenne Allenby, Kelly Andrejko, Connor Cotton, Allie Middleton, Caitlin Moyles, Charles Piot, Benjamin Ramsey, Maria Cecilia Romano, Stephanie Rotolo, Emma Smith, Sarah Zimmerman
Since the end of the cold war, Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new political and religious phenomena, including an eviscerated privatized state, neoliberal NGOs, Pentecostalism, a resurgence in accusations of witchcraft, a culture of scamming and fraud, and, in some countries, a nearly universal wish to emigrate. Drawing on fieldwork in Togo, Charles Piot suggests that a new biopolitics after state sovereignty is remaking the face of one of the world’s poorest regions.
In a country where playing the U.S. Department of State’s green card lottery is a national pastime and the preponderance of cybercafés and Western Union branches signals a widespread desire to connect to the rest of the world, Nostalgia for the Future makes clear that the cultural and political terrain that underlies postcolonial theory has shifted. In order to map out this new terrain, Piot enters into critical dialogue with a host of important theorists, including Agamben, Hardt and Negri, Deleuze, and Mbembe. The result is a deft interweaving of rich observations of Togolese life with profound insights into the new, globalized world in which that life takes place.
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