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A tribute to Stephen Ellis

03 jun 2016 08:45 - 18:00
Institut d'études avancées de Paris
Hôtel de Lauzun
17 quai d'Anjou
75004 Paris

Workshop organized by Solofo Randrianja (Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris), Pierre Boilley (Institut des Mondes AFricains, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Didier Nativel (Université Paris-Diderot) and Samuel Sanchez (IRD).


The historiography of Madagascar and Africanism have lost one of their illustrious contributors. Stephen Ellis (13 June 1953 - 29 July 2015) has passed away.
While he was completing his work on the Menalamba in Oxford in the late 1970s, Françoise Raison-Jourde’s seminar at University Paris VII – one of the few places for doctoral training on the history of Madagascar in Paris – ofered him an opportunity to present his work and confront a historiography dominated by Malagasy and French researchers. These exchanges were of course part of the zeitgeist, thanks to the pioneering work of Jean-François Bayart who drew on Anglophone scientific literature well before internet platforms like JSTOR made the works more accessible.
Unlike previous generations of researchers, the new lines of research that Stephen Ellis was opening led him, by chance as well as by inclination, to embrace different geographical areas and disciplines. But he always did so with a desire to make his own open and critical contribution, imbued with the commitment of a man of faith. Season of rains, Africa in the world, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu, is one example. This approach was only made possible thanks to a deep knowledge of complex African realities, far from the intellectual fashions of the time.
A specialist of Southern and Western Africa, Stephen Ellis has nonetheless never forsaken Madagascar. This interest is reflected in the book Madagascar, a short history, written with Solofo Randrianja. It was considered an important contribution, in English, to the history of Africa and the Indian Ocean, and referred to by its authors as the combination of fifty years of experience of professional historians.
The workshop organized at the Institute for Advanced Study is an opportunity to revisit the many areas of expertise of Stephen Ellis, an erudite and prolific historian and political scientist whom the African Studies Center at Leyden considers the most prominent of its researchers.


8h45 : welcoming of participants

9h-9h15 - Introduction
Solofo Randrianja, Didier Nativel, Samuel Sanchez

9h15-10h45 - Round Table 1 : Passé et présent
Rafael Thiebaut : «’New light from old sources’, les travaux de Stephen Ellis sur Madagascar avant le XIXe siècle »
Samuel Sanchez : « Stephen Ellis et l’histoire de Madagascar dans la longue durée. Périodisations et approches transrégionales »
Didier Nativel : « Enquêter sur l’ANC. Démarche et échos »
Discutant(e) : Solofo Randrianja

10h45-11h - Break

11h-12h30 - Round Table 2 : Le pouvoir du religieux
Gerrie ter Haar : « Spirits and Power: Religion and Politics in the work of Stephen Ellis »
Marie Miran-Guyon : « Begré, gloire et mort d’un dieu africain, ou l’"action rituelle" comme source historique »
Françoise Raison-Jourde : « Les dimensions religieuses du mouvement menalamba »
Discutant(e) : Chibuike Uche

12h-30-14h - Break

14h-15h30 - Round Table 3 : Questionner l’Etat
Pierre Boilley : « L’arbitraire en question, Etats et frontières en Afrique »
Solofo Randrianja : « Le passage de la royauté concentrique à l’Etat wébérien, un non-dit de Madagascar, a short history »
Jean-François Bayart : « Entre criminalisation de l'Etat et guerres civiles : Stephen Ellis, un homme de sources »
Discutant(e) : Richard Banegas

15h30-15h45 - Break

15h45-17h15 - Round Table 4 : Présentation du dernier ouvrage de Stephen Ellis, This Present Darkness. A History of Nigerian Organized Crime, Hurst, 2016
Gerrie ter Haar, Solofo Randrianja, Jean-François Bayart, Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, Chibuike Uche (ASC Leiden), Richard Banegas, Laurent Fourchard

17h15 - Conclusion de la journée
Présentoir de Hurst et de Karthala avec vente de livres

Date dépassée
Vernacular Forms of Governance And Democracy in Africa
01 October 2015 - 30 June 2016
30 June 2016
03 Jun 2016 18:00
Solofo Randrianja
Conferences and workshops
Contemporary period (1789-…)
Sub-Saharan Africa