Sarah F. Hardin

  • Fellowship year:2010-2011
  • University: University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: Africa
  • Dissertation Title: Developing the Periphery: Cotton Cultivation, Pesticides, and the Marginalization of Southeastern Senegal over the Twentieth Century
  • After independence from France in 1960, the Senegalese government strove to build the new nation by contracting a French cotton company to diversify its sources of revenue and to integrate the southeast, a remote corner of the country, into the formal economy. This dissertation uses environmental history to assess whether pesticides or world market prices influenced farmers decisions more. It uses a vast array of sources, including previously un-examined colonial documents, difficult to obtain, post-independence government reports and court records, Pulaar literacy textbooks and radio broadcasts produced by the nationalized cotton company, and in-depth oral histories collected during extensive field work in Senegal and France. From this eclectic documentation, references to divorce and ethnicities help to explain how the Fulani ethic group became disproportionately with cotton and poverty. The dissertation concludes that the effort to integrate the southeast into the Senegalese core actually marginalized it further from the national center while connecting it more to the region and world. By looking at the international circulation of pesticides, technicians, and cotton, the dissertation provides a new lens through which to understand the impacts of so-called economic globalization in modern African history.