African Studies Seminar - Week 5

Sardine Politics, Staged Marches, and a Phantom President:

Anti/Imperial Politics and the Activist Pursuit of Social Justice in Cameroon 

Conveners: Prof Miles Larmer and Dr Doris Okenwa

Speaker: Amber Murrey (University of Oxford)


This seminar will look at calls for and against forms of international intervention in Cameroon from various publics and unpack their significance in the context of global coloniality. Appeals for and against foreign intervention—visible via activist campaigns, social media posts, open letters, political commentaries, and disinformation campaigns—reveal some of the tense contestations between the ruling party and dissenters, while simultaneously illuminating the snares and ruses of coloniality. Against President Paul Biya’s established approach of image management via overt silence, non-presence, and staged marches, Cameroonian political activists increasingly deliberately platform their protests within international spaces and territories, including Cameroonian Embassies abroad, international hotels, and online transnational forums. The speaker draws upon the geographies of postcolonial responsibility, decolonial resistance studies, and scholarship on the imperial formations of authority and legitimacy within authoritarian states to emphasize the longevity of coloniality in restricting sovereignty—including within the spectrum of imagined sovereignties—in Cameroon. Doing so reveals the ongoing imperative to move beyond iterations of political possibilities that centre agency and responsibility in the Global North, including through delinking and transnational solidarities.  


Amber Murrey is a decolonial political geographer, ethnographer, and educator. Her research on resistance and social change in Africa is empirically grounded and integrates the political geographies of environmental and socio-political struggles with decolonial thought and resistance studies.  She is the editor of 'A Certain Amount of Madness': The Life, Politics and Legacies of Thomas Sankara (2018) and co-author (with Patricia O. Daley) of Decolonizing Development Studies: Learning Disobedience (2023). Amber is an Associate Professor of Political Geography at the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow at Mansfield College. She has taught at the American University in Cairo, Clark University and Boston College in Massachusetts, and Jimma University in Ethiopia. 


Teams link - please click here

This presentation will be livestreamed on Teams, but it will not be possible for online attendees to participate in the discussion.