Yesterday's Slaves: Democracy and Ethnicity in Benin

Sunday, January 8, 2012: 12:00 PM
Clark Room (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Eric Komlavi Hahonou, Roskilde University
Slavery, emancipation process, democracy, citizenship and ethnic groups are some of the topics covered by this documentary film. Shot in Northern Benin (West Africa), the film traces the long march of man to freedom. His personal trajectory both singular and archetypical shows how the Gando emancipated from dominating groups. Gando group is a marginalized group that has seized the opportunity of the recent implementation of democratic decentralization in Benin to access to political representation and citizenship. The film looks at the same time a universal and complex process: the construction of collective identities. More specifically it illustrates the process through which the Gando have shifted from a status group of slave descendants to the status of an ethnic group among others.
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