Northwestern Events Calendar


PAS L+L: Kwame Onoma - Xenophobia’s Contours During an Ebola Epidemic

When: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: 620 Library Place, room 106, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Program of African Studies   847.491.7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Ato Kwamena Onoma, Senior Program Officer, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)

Xenophobia’s contours during an Ebola epidemic: Proximity and the targeting of Peul migrants in Senegal


This presentation will map and explain targeting patterns during epidemic-era xenophobic outbursts with a focus on the 2013-2016 West African Ebola Virus Disease outbreak. I argue that long histories of close interactions between Senegalese and Peul migrants from Guinea in the Senegalese commune of Pikine led people to scapegoat geographically distant Peul as health threats while continuing to interact in intimate and convivial ways with their Peul neighbors. I demonstrate the limited extent to which epidemics influence the micro-dynamics of xenophobic outbreaks during these public health crises and conclude that epidemics reinforce long-standing patterns of social exclusion instead of inflecting intergroup relations.


Ato Kwamena Onoma is a senior program officer at the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). He holds degrees in Philosophy (University of Ghana, Legon) and Political Science (Northwestern University). He is the author of The politics of property rights institutions in Africa and Anti-refugee violence and African politics. His current work uses epidemics and interment practices to explore intercommunal relations in Africa.

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