Stereotypic vision: The "moral character" of the senufo in colonial and postcolonial discourse

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The most enduring legacy of the colonial ethnographic literature on the Senufo of northern Côte-d'lvoire has been its weakest and ideologically most suspect feature: descriptions of the "caractères intellectuels et moraux" of the people in question. Such considerations, absent as such from the literature of exploration, were first elaborated by Maurice Delafosse in the first decade of the twentieth century and repeatedly invoked throughout the colonial period. Paradoxically, the direct heirs to this questionable legacy have been certain Senufo intellectuals. By examining the various avatars, colonial and postcolonial, of the "Senufo character", we can trace not only the formation of a particular "ethnic" discourse but its recuperation and ultimately its transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-292
Number of pages22
JournalCahiers d'Etudes Africaines
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999


  • Colonial ethnology
  • Ethnicity
  • Ethnies
  • Ethnographie
  • Ethnography/côte-d'ivoire
  • Ethnololgie coloniale
  • Mote-clés: Côte-d'lvoire
  • Senufo
  • Sénoufo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Development


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