Venue - SOAS
SOAS, Brunei Gallery, University of London Thornhaugh St, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
The ‘Legacies of Biafra’ conference seeks to explore the on-going impact of the war locally and globally, considering how the first civil war in independent Africa has influenced the perception of the continent internationally as well as its impact on the political and social structures within Nigeria. As 2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the outbreak of war, this conference will provide a timely reflection on the war as a watershed moment in contemporary African history.
The Nigeria-Biafra war was the first civil war in post-independence Africa, and sparked strong reactions from around the world. British participation in the war was informed by the desire to maintain the colonial entity that they had created, as Biafra’s declaration of independence presented a challenge to the legitimacy of African nations created during the colonial era. Global media coverage presented the first images of children starving in Africa, which became the dominant visual representation of the continent in the international press.
One of the lasting impacts of the war is apparent in the images of Africa presented in our contemporary media. The conference seeks to explore the consequences of the war in relation to Nigeria’s social and political structures, Western intervention in conflict zones and developments in humanitarian assistance (i.e. the birth of Médecins Sans Frontières came as a result of relief work in Biafra)....