Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

From Empires to NGOs in the West African Sahel
The Road to Nongovernmentality

$35.99 (P)

Award Winner

Part of African Studies

  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107602526

$ 35.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book looks beyond the familiar history of former empires and new nation-states to consider newly transnational communities of solidarity and aid, social science and activism. Shortly after independence from France in 1960, the people living along the Sahel – a long, thin stretch of land bordering the Sahara – became the subjects of human rights campaigns and humanitarian interventions. Just when its states were strongest and most ambitious, the postcolonial West African Sahel became fertile terrain for the production of novel forms of governmental rationality realized through NGOs. The roots of this “nongovernmentality” lay partly in Europe and North America, but it flowered, paradoxically, in the Sahel. This book is unique in that it questions not only how West African states exercised their new sovereignty but also how and why NGOs – ranging from CARE and Amnesty International to black internationalists – began to assume elements of sovereignty during a period in which it was so highly valued.

    • The first historical account of the rise of NGO power in West Africa
    • Places the crisis in Mali and the Sahel in its historical context
    • Links leftist and black politics in the US and France to political activism in West Africa
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Gregory Mann gives us a thought-provoking, nuanced, deeply researched exposition of what sovereignty does and does not mean in the context of the decolonization of French West Africa and the inability of African states to meet the hopes of most of their citizens. He explores Africans’ immersion in different forms of connection across space, conflicting claims of African states and the French government to regulate cross-border migration within Africa, controversies over the rights of former citizens from Africa to work and live in France, and the effects of NGO interventions on how Africa is governed."
    Frederick Cooper, author of Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945–1960

    "While the rise of NGOs has too often been treated as a simple product of "neoliberalism", Gregory Mann here argues that, at least in the Sahel, it was international interventions during an earlier period of supposedly strong state sovereignty that laid the foundations for "nongovernmentality". An original and important contribution."
    James Ferguson, Stanford University, California

    "Driving across the Sahel, but refusing stereotypes, Gregory Mann discovered that it was anticolonialists who opened borders to nongovernmental organizations, which ‘reprogrammed’ their hosts but in a complex pattern of coexistence. A new sort of politics was created, with the rise of neoliberalism … Cutting across space and time in an original way, the book magnificently complicates so many familiar stories that it makes crucial reading for anyone interested in the makings of our times."
    Samuel Moyn, Harvard University, Massachusetts

    "This well-researched and written book surveys the pursuit and practice of sovereignty in the Sahel, notably Soudan/Mali … This innovative and insightful book includes maps and deserves inclusion in research university libraries. Summing up: highly recommended."
    P. C. Naylor, Choice

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107602526
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 3 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Knowing the post-colony
    2. A new republic
    3. 'French' Muslims in Sudan
    4. West Africans as foreigners in postimperial France
    5. Governing famine
    6. Human rights and Saharan prisons.

  • Author

    Gregory Mann, Columbia University, New York
    Gregory Mann is Associate Professor in the History Department at Columbia University, specializing in the history of Francophone West Africa. Mann's articles have appeared in the American Historical Review, Comparative Studies in Society and History, the Journal of African History, and Politique Africaine.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2015

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.