Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

The relation between communication and violence in the Guéra and Moyen –Chari regions (Chad) from 1940 to 2010

French title: Communication et violences dans le Guéra et le Moyen-Chari (Tchad) de 1940 à 2010. This research investigates the relationship between the introduction of new means of communication and violence experienced by the local populations in the Moyen-Chari and the Guéra regions in Chad from 1940 to 2010 and assess the impact of this violence in history on present day life in these regions.

2012 - 2016

Looking at the contemporary history of Chad we see that there were always difficulties posed on  communication in this vast country. Following the ways in which both states and rebel-groups have engaged with these challenges and tried to appropriate the means of communication we see that the introduction of new forms of communication repeatedly coincided with the use of violence against the population. This research project investigates the relation between the introduction of new communication technologies and violence in Chad in the period from 1940 to 2010.

The political history of Chad is characterized by a series of violent crises. From slave raiding  to colonization to multiple civil wars, the population of Chad, and in particularly the people from the Guéra and the Moyen Chari region, were deeply affected. Both regions have a specific position in colonial and post-colonial politics’ respectively with regards to the creation of infrastructures of communication and with regards to rebellions formed against the State. The creation of roads, in the colonial period, for strategic and economic purposes, provoked extraordinary violence towards the local population, for instance with regards to the recruitment of manual labour.

The effects of forced labour for the construction of the road infrastructure are  still vividly remembered. After independence, to repress the peasant revolts and armed rebellions, the battle for access to communication was integrated in military strategies and continued to play a role in the persisting violence experienced by the people. Recently new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) were introduced in the region. They played an important role in the organization of the latest rebellions, but also in oppression of the population. New ICTs therefore introduce new layers of violence in these regions. In this theses all these layers of violence are analysed in relation to each other and it is questioned how these help interpret today’s social fabric in the Guéra and Moyen-Chari.

Main methods used: oral histories, life histories, personal archives, colonial (military) archives, literature review.  

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