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African Studies Association Annual Conference; Novemer 29-December 1, 2018

Panel: “Re-Theorizing the “Resource Curse” in an Age of Energy Transitions: Case Studies from Africa and the Caribbean”

The GEDS directors Dr. Kairn Klieman, Mr. Tom Mitro, and Dr. Rebecca Golden Timsar will join Dr. Stephen E. Armah (Ashesi University College, Ghana) and Dr. Ryan Jobson (University of Chicago) to present a panel on the topic of “Re-Theorizing the “Resource Curse” in an Age of Energy Transitions: Case Studies from Africa and the Caribbean” at the 61st Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association in Atlanta Nov. 29-31, 2018. Drawing upon the conference themes of “Energies: Power, Creativity, and Afro-Futures,” the panel will focus on the impact that current energy transitions (U.S. shale production/LNG exports, UN Climate Change Accords, increasing adoption of renewable energy sources) are having on the present and futures of African and Caribbean oil and gas producers. By thinking through these problems from a 2018 perspective, the panel presenters will also call into question some of the fundamental precepts of “Natural Resource Curse Theory” as expounded by policy experts of the 1990s/early 2000s.


Panelist Abstract: Rebecca Golden Timsar - Amnesty: A New Violence in the Niger Delta

Description: Hoping to quell a violent insurgency against at the Nigerian government and the oil industry in the Niger Delta, the Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua implemented an unconditional amnesty in 2009, offering a clean slate to militants demanding resource control, environmental justice, and sustainable socioeconomic development. Consequences of the uprising included loss of life, displacement, infrastructural compromise, further environmental destruction, and production disruption. Although the amnesty precipitated a cessation of hostilities against the federal government and the oil industry, the results are fraught with the makings of new violence. The amnesty was originally designed to last only five years, but has remained in effect for almost a decade morphing into cash-for-peace transactions. This paper elaborates potentialities of the amnesty regarding the reintegration of approximately 30,000 ex-combatants and the mimesis of state power: reinforcement of militant hierarchies and commodification of violence; substitution of militancy for criminality and ongoing communal tensions; and professionalization of illegal lifting of Nigeria’s crude and refined production. Lack of comprehensive remediation and reintegration generate altered contestations. Here, the spaces of severe environmental degradation and occluded futures disconnect with global climate change initiatives and green investment narratives.