African Studies Guinea
by
Mohamed Saliou Camara
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 November 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0135

Introduction

The land, societies, and cultures that constitute the present-day Republic of Guinea played an important part in the rich past of West Africa, including the founding of centralized states such as the Mali Empire (13th–15th century CE). Subsequent episodes of that history saw the place of Guinea become increasingly worthy of scholarly attention, including the introduction and expansion of Islam; varied interactions with European explorers and traders; the transatlantic slave trade (15th–19th century); the creation of Manden and Fulani Muslim states; and the European colonial conquest, partition, and occupation of the region (19th and 20th centuries). However, researchers became more interested in Guinea as a distinctive entity in the last years of French colonialism. Having been the only French colony to decisively reject General de Gaulle’s constitutional proposal for a Franco-African Community in 1958, the country attracted further attention as it gained independence and espoused a political and economic path combining Afro-Marxism, Pan-Africanism, and Islamic nationalism. The downfall of the Sékou Touré regime, which had led the anticolonial movement and ruled the country until 1984, opened an era of economic liberalization to which some political pluralism was added in the early 1990s. The available scholarship essentially reflects that itinerary and, explicably, has been largely dominated by publications in the French language. Each of the works listed in this article is a valuable source of pertinent information and analysis in at least one major field of research. Many of them are readily available in various academic libraries around the world; some are available in both print and electronic versions. Although researchers may find Sékou Touré’s extensive political writings useful in terms of understanding Guinea’s evolution in the context of Cold War politics, in the interest of balance and diversity, only a few of those writings are included in the present article.

General Overviews

The available general overview works on Guinea range from 18th-century traveler’s accounts to more in-depth narratives by European explorers and to more recent publications by noted researchers in various fields of scholarship. These have the merit of providing a broad view of present-day Guinea in the context of the gradual transformation of West Africa due to the complex interplay of dynamic forces, both endogenous and exogenous. Devey 1997 offers an overview of Guinea in terms of its land and people, cultural diversity, economic potentials, historical past, and political development from the time of medieval kingdoms to the late 20th century. Renaudeau 1978 contains visual representations of key aspects of Guinea’s economy, culture, and society during the first decades of independence. Suret-Canale 1970 presents a detailed narrative of Guinea’s landscape, ethnic makeup, administrative organization, and system of economic planning as of the late 1960s. Smith 1967 gives a mixture of traveler’s accounts and ethnological descriptions of Guinea’s geographical landscape and the customs and traditions of its people.

  • Devey, Muriel. La Guinée. Paris: Karthala, 1997.

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    The book provides a comprehensive overview of the natural environment, historical transformation, and political evolution of Guinea from the age of West African kingdoms (c. 10th century) to the late 20th century. It highlights paramount events through which historical transformation may be best understood within the wider West African context.

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    • Renaudeau, Michel. The Republic of Guinea. Paris: Éditions Delroisse, 1978.

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      An illustrated overview of Guinea’s landscape, social and cultural makeup, economic resources, and political leadership, the book showcases what the Guinean government believed to be the country’s most valuable assets and most determinant potential contribution to world civilization.

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      • Smith, William. New Voyage to Guinea. Psychology Press, 1967.

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        A detailed traveler account first published in 1744, the book describes the land, peoples, and customs of coastal Guinea in the context of the wider coastal West Africa. It essentially describes the natural environment and the customs of the people, including the soil, education, manual arts, agriculture, trade, employments, languages, ranks of distinction, habitations, diversions, and marriage traditions.

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        • Suret-Canale, Jean. La République de Guinée. Paris: Éditions Sociales, 1970.

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          The outcome of a long fieldwork, this book gives an insightful study of Guinea’s physical, economic, and sociocultural geography. It presents the contrast between the country’s abundant natural resources (agricultural and mineral) and rich human capital on the one hand, and its lack of economic development on the other.

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          Reference Works

          Bibliographical collections on Guinea are to date relatively rare, and research in the area has been rather slow, compared to other African countries. As a result, researchers are best advised to take good account of the bibliographical notes provided in the major publications listed here. As well, researchers will find extremely useful collections on professional websites like WebGuinée and its subsidiaries, and the electronic libraries of highly respected institutions of research and higher education such as Northwestern University, Stanford University (see the Africa South of the Sahara guide on the Stanford University site), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN), and many more. The work in Camara, et al. 2013 and Binns 1996 contain extensive bibliographies. Binns’s book was written by a trained librarian and provides a comprehensive compilation of primary- and secondary-source publications. Conrad 1993 offers an important listing of undergraduate theses written by Guinean students on a large array of topics. Hue 1993 contains bibliographies on Guinea as well as on broader topics, including Guinea. As a reference publication, Iffono 1992 is rich in entries dealing with facts and events, as well as places and people that have marked Guinea’s history.

          • Binns, Margaret. Guinea. Oxford: Clio, 1996.

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            An extensive bibliographical compilation of publications dealing with various aspects of Guinean studies in French, English, and other languages. Most items are divided under subject headings in line with the World Bibliographical Series standard layout, and within the subject sections they are arranged alphabetically by author, or by title. When appropriate, items are also arranged by chronological order.

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            • Camara, Mohamed Saliou, Thomas O’Toole, and Janice E. Baker. Historical Dictionary of Guinea. 5th ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2013.

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              Since its inception in the 1970s, the dictionary has offered an extended bibliography. In the fifth edition, nonetheless, that bibliography has been substantially revised, augmented, and updated, thanks to the increasing availability of scholarship written on Guinea by Guineans and non-Guineans alike.

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              • Conrad, David C. “Archival Research in Guinea-Conakry.” History in Africa 20 (1993): 369–378.

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                A useful, albeit incomplete, listing of the Mémoire de fin d’études supérieures, or undergraduate theses, written and defended at the Institut Polytechnique Gamal Abdel Nasser de Conakry (IPGANC) and the Institut Polytechnique Julius Nyerere de Kankan (IPJNK), Guinea’s main institutions of higher education.

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                • Fung, Karen. Guinea. In Africa South of the Sahara. Stanford University Libraries.

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                  The web page contains a sizeable collection of electronic sources on Guinea, ranging from historical and contemporary political and economic issues to US government reports and to reports and analyses by international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund, the International Crisis Group, and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

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                  • Hue, Pascal. Guinée: Bibliographie commentée. Paris: Ministère de la Coopération, 1993.

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                    Developed in collaboration with Guinea’s Centre de documentation universitaire scientifique et technique (CEDUST) and France’s Association IBISCUS, the book offers an extensive, annotated bibliographical listing of resources on various aspects of Guinea’s history, society, cultures, politics, and so on. Additionally, the book lists publications by Guineans on subjects not directly related to Guinea as well as other scholarly works available in the CEDUST.

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                    • Iffono, Aly Gilbert. Lexique historique de la Guinée. Paris: Harmattan, 1992.

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                      The volume contains pertinent entries documenting and explaining people, places, facts, and events that are key to understanding Guinea’s demographic makeup, social structures, religious heritage, cultural richness, and political trajectory from precolonial times to the present.

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                      • Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire.

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                        The IFAN website is the electronic entry to the historical archival collections of the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire established in 1936. Now an integral part of the University of Dakar (present-day University Cheikh Anta Diop) library system, IFAN-UCAD offers a wealth of primary-source information and other scholarly publications on Francophone Africa and beyond.

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                        • WebGuinée: Le Portail Internet de la Guinée.

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                          WebGuinée is a network of online bibliographical catalogues and digitized books and articles from a large array of sources on Guinea. Created and headed by Tierno Siradiou Bah, a Guinean anthropologist and former director of the Gamal Abdel Nasser Polytechnic Institute Library of Conakry, it has several subsidiaries. Among them, the Bibliothèque page is arguably the most pertinent to the present work.

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                          Journals

                          Journals specializing in Guinea are extremely rare, apart from Etudes Guinéennes, which was initially published by the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN) under the authority of the French administration.

                          • Etudes guinéennes. 1947–1955.

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                            Published by IFAN under the supervision of the governor of French Guinea from 1947 to 1955 (thirteen issues), the journal contained only articles deemed acceptable by the French colonial administration. Hence, the studies contained therein consisted mainly of geographical, ethnological, and anthropological descriptions of the country’s landscape, traditions, costumes, and economic activities designed to educate French administrators and settlers on that part of the colonial empire.

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                            Primary Sources

                            Primary sources on Guinea come mainly in the form of archival material, including French colonial archives found in Paris, Dakar, and, to a limited extent, Conakry and several other Guinean cities. Primary sources regarding the postcolonial period are yet to be systematically collected and organized. In the meantime, one can cite publications containing personal papers of historical figures or consisting of interviews of actors and/or witnesses of key events having marked the itinerary of Guinean society. The items listed in this section fall in those two categories. Some of the sources in need of systematic logging consist essentially of audio and audiovisual material (public speeches, plays, musical productions, films, and documentaries) and are compiled by the National Radio-Television Network of Guinea (RTG) and other such government-run agencies. Considered altogether, the publications listed in this section offer the most comprehensive collections of professionally logged material from Guinea’s National Archives. The first two volumes (Guinée 1962 and Guinée 1988) contain miscellaneous material catalogued in series A to N and in series W. The third volume (Guinée 1990) contains a catalogue of maps, handwritten blueprints, and iconographic material spanning the period of the 1890s to 1974. The last two volumes (Guinée 1992 and Guinée 1995) consist of digitized collections of official government acts and decrees from 1882 to 1957 and documents of economic nature from 1865 to 1968, respectively.

                            • Guinée: Direction nationale des archives. Premier répertoire des Archives nationales de Guinée. Série A à série N, 1720–1935, par Damien d’Almeida, chargé du service des Archives. Conakry, Guinea: Institut national de recherches et de documentation, 1962.

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                              As the first professional logging of Guinea’s national archives since independence, this volume contains items archived prior to independence under letters A to N. Although subsequent cataloging may have slightly altered the original version, the informative value of the work has remained.

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                              • Guinée: Direction nationale des archives. Cinquième répertoire des archives nationales: Série W (1958–1985)/sous la direction de Almamy Stell Conté. Conakry, Guinea: République de Guinée, Ministère de l’information, de la culture et du tourisme, 1988.

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                                By the time of this fifth professional logging, Guinea’s colonial archives had been fairly systematically reconstructed. Therefore, this particular collection contains only items archived under the letter W, which makes it a little more user friendly in some regards.

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                                • Guinée: Direction nationale des archives. Catalogue des cartes et plans manuscrits et documents iconographiques de la période coloniale à 1974 conservés aux archives nationales à Conakry: Série F I/par Seydouba Cissé; sous la responsabilité de Almamy Stell Conté. Conakry, Guinea: République de Guinée, Ministère de l’information, de la culture et du tourisme, 1990.

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                                  The volume was a follow-up on the work done previously under the coordination of archivist Almamy Stell Conté and, as explained earlier, contains a catalogue of maps, handwritten blueprints, and iconographic material spanning the period of the 1890s to 1974.

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                                  • Guinée: Direction nationale des archives. Répertoire numérique détaillé partiel de la série A=actes officiels, 1882–1957/par les stagiaires de la deuxième promotion du S.T.N.A. et la Direction des stages et séminaires. Conakry, Guinea: République de Guinée, Ministère de l’information, de la culture et du tourisme, 1992.

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                                    A digital catalogue of government decrees and other official acts enacted from 1882 to 1957, this particular volume was originally compiled by a team of interns. It contained a detailed catalogue of official documents archived under the letter A and originated in the central government in Paris, the office of the governor of French West Africa in Dakar, and that of the territorial governor of French Guinea in Conakry.

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                                    • Guinée: Direction nationale des archives. Répertoire numérique sommaire (partiel): Série Q; affaires économiques, 1865–1968/par Suzanne Bangoura. Conakry, Guinea: République de Guinée, Ministère secrétariat général de la présidence de la République, 1995.

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                                      Like the previous volume (Guinée 1992), this is a digital compilation of official government documents. This particular volume contains the references of documents dealing with economic policies from 1865 to 1968.

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                                      Letters and Narrative Accounts

                                      The works included in this section contain three genres of primary-source accounts, each of which representing a unique source of information on Guinea. Camara 2007 presents a selection of interviews of former political and administrative officials reflecting on their experience and the system in which they participated. Milne 1990 is a collection of letters from and to Kwame Nkrumah during his exile in Guinea. The book provides an insight into the life of the former Ghanaian leader and his influence on Guinean politics and policy.

                                      • Camara, Mohamed Saliou. Le pouvoir politique en Guinée sous Sékou Touré. Paris: Harmattan, 2007.

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                                        This annotated collection of interviews of former dignitaries of the regime of the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), with which President Sékou Touré ruled Guinea from 1958 to 1984, presents accounts of the regime’s political philosophy and approach to nation building, statecraft, and African unity.

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                                        • Milne, June. Kwame Nkrumah: The Conakry Years, His Life and Letters. London: Panaf, 1990.

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                                          The book contains a uniquely informative compilation of letters by Kwame Nkrumah during his years of exile in Guinea from 1966 to 1971. While reconstructing the life of the exiled former Ghanaian leader, it also sheds light on Nkrumah’s influence upon the maturation of President Sékou Touré’s Pan-Africanist views.

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                                          History

                                          Ranging from collections of oral traditions on the slave trade to colonial writings and to unpublished undergraduate theses produced at the University of Conakry and the University of Kankan, the literature on the general historical background of present-day Guinea is steadily improving and expanding through more in-depth publications, as the bibliographies listed earlier indicate. In particular, the large number of theses available in Conakry and Kankan offer information collected through oral history, which, despite its methodological limitations, does add value to the research. A comprehensive list of them can be found in the fifth edition of Historical Dictionary of Guinea (Camara, et al. 2013) and at Africa South of the Sahara (both cited under Reference Works). In fact, major publications listed in this article and many more are partly based on those theses.

                                          Precolonial

                                          Most of the available literature on precolonial Guinea revolves around the lives and struggles of rulers such as Bocar Biro and Alpha Yaya in the Futa Jallon and Samory Touré in the Mande-Wasulu, the most prominent among a score of lesser rulers. Thus, the works Barry 1976, Diallo 1984, Fofana 1998, and Person 1968–1975 provide an insight into the evolution of those regions in the decades preceding the colonial occupation of what was to become French Guinea. Although some of Samory’s kingdom and military campaigns expanded beyond the borders of present-day Guinea, his roots (he was born in Miniambaladugu) and the heart of the kingdom (the capital was established in Bisandugu) were indubitably in Guinea. While Fofana 1998 and Person 1968–1975 complement each other in the authors’ narrative of Samory’s place in Guinea’s precolonial history, the perspectives of the works differ in that Fofana’s is essentially based on local oral histories, whereas Person’s stems mainly from the accounts of French colonial officers who fought against Samory. Mouser 1971 documents earlier networks of interactions between the coastal Guinea region and European traders and analyzes the involvement of some local rulers in the slave trade and the opposition that others posed to it.

                                          • Barry, Boubacar. Bokar Biro: Le dernier grand almamy du Fouta-Djallon. Paris: Editions ABC, 1976.

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                                            A political biography of Almamy Bokar Biro Barry, with a focus on the power struggle that pitted the Soriya and Alfaya factions of the Futa Jallon ruling clan against one another and paved the way for French political intrigues and military campaigns, which resulted in the conquest of the region and its ultimate integration into French Guinea in the late 19th to early 20th centuries.

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                                            • Diallo, Thierno. Alfa Yaya: Roi de Labé (Fouta-Djalon). Paris: Nouvelles Editions Africaines, 1984.

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                                              This biography chronicles the life and politics of the ruler of one the major provinces of the Fulani theocratic state of Futa Jallon in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. The book attempts to scrutinize lesser-known aspects of the power struggle that opposed Alfa (or Alpha) Yaya and the central authority of the theocracy and opened the region to French intrigues.

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                                              • Fofana, Ibrahima Khalil. L’Almami Samori Touré, empereur: Récit historique. Dakar, Senegal: Présence Africaine, 1998.

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                                                Fofana’s book is a powerfully original narrative of the life and legacy of Samory Touré, as a warrior and a statesman, based on the most authoritative oral traditions gathered over the decades in Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Sierra Leone. This characteristic makes it an invaluable source for researchers interested in the precolonial history of Guinea and the greater Mande region.

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                                                • Mouser, Bruce Lee. “Trade and Politics in the Nunez and Pongo Rivers, 1790–1865.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1971.

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                                                  Stemming essentially from primary-source information, Mouser’s dissertation is a study of the multilayered commercial and political interactions between Europeans and Africans in the Rio Nunez and Rio Pongo basins of Upper Coastal Guinea. It analyzes, among other subjects, the extent to which some African rulers were involved in the slave trade and the extent to which others were opposed to it.

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                                                  • Person, Yves. Samori: Une révolution Dyula. 4 vols. Dakar, Senegal: IFAN, 1968–1975.

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                                                    Person’s work is to date the most comprehensive historical study of Samory Touré’s place in the evolution of present-day Guinea in the second half of the 19th century. It debunks entrenched myths in which French colonialists shrouded their military campaign against Samory, as well as those that the Sékou Touré regime erected around him as a means for its nation-building enterprise.

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                                                    Colonial

                                                    Some of the most insightful scholarship on Guinea’s colonial history is found in publications not specifically centered on that country but, rather, integrating it in the broader French West Africa, which, in many regards, functioned as a federation directly governed from Dakar. Moreover, due to Guinea’s relatively low impact on colonial affairs, compared to neighboring Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, for example, much of the Guinea-centered literature deals more with Guinean nationalism than it does with colonial history per se. Consequently, the works included in this subsection reflect that state of affairs. Agence Économique du Gouvernement Général de l’Afrique Occidentale Française 1927 offers an official quantitative comparison between the economic worth of French West Africa as a whole and its constituent territories and the colonial resources being invested. Coquery-Vidrovitch and Goerg 1992 takes a regional view of colonial history as well. However, the authors’ work goes beyond the one-sided quantitative assessment of economic output and discusses other fundamental aspects of the colonial encounter, including the mismatch of colonial geographical boundaries and ethnocultural and political identities of indigenous Africans. Echenberg 1991 studies the role that conscripts from French West Africa played in the various wars in which France was involved between 1857 and 1960, including, most notably, World War I, World War II, the Indochina War, and the Algerian War. Barry 1997 presents an analysis of the colonial conquest and occupation of the Futa Jallon region concomitant with the disintegration of its theocratic state due to multiple in-fights and foreign intrigues. Charles 1997 focuses on the changing of power relationships between the French colonial administration and the nascent self-governing elite in French Guinea. Hayden 2008 explores a little-studied aspect of French colonialism, namely mass smallpox vaccination and its effects on traditional medicine, as well as its influence on the re-creation of sociopolitical entities in Guinea and Senegal. Last, the book Schmidt 2007 offers a representation of anticolonialist nationalism in Guinea as an outgrowth of an ideological struggle between local left-wing and right-wing militants for control of the political agenda.

                                                    • Agence Économique du Gouvernement Général de l’Afrique Occidentale Française. Afrique Occidentale Française. Paris: Librairie Larose, 1927.

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                                                      As an official publication of the French colonial government, the book presents a thorough quantitative assessment of the economic productivity of French West Africa as a whole and that of each constituent territory, weighed against the investments incurred by French government agencies and private companies. Key sectors covered include budgeting, trade, mining, agriculture, transport, communication, fisheries, and taxation.

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                                                      • Barry, Ismaël. Le Fuuta-Jaloo face à la colonisation: Conquête et mise en place de l’administration en Guinée. Paris: Harmattan, 1997.

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                                                        This is an in-depth historical study of the French military “pacification” of the Futa Jallon through intrigue in the power struggle within the ruling family and between the confederation’s central authority and provincial rulers. The study explains the process through which the French marginalized Fulani rulers and established a system favorable to their colonial goals.

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                                                        • Charles, Bernard. “La transformation des relations de pouvoir entre le Gouvernement général, le Ministère de la France d’Outre-Mer et la Guinée (1956–1958).” In AOF: Réalités et héritages; Sociétés ouest-africaines et ordre colonial, 1895–1960. Edited by Charles Becker, Saliou M’baye, and Ibrahima Thioub, 101–114. Dakar, Senegal: Direction des Archives du Sénégal, 1997.

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                                                          In this primary-source-based book chapter, Bernard Charles analyzes the gradual transfer of power from the French colonial government to the semiautonomous territorial government of French Guinea instituted under the Loi-cadre Defferre of 1956. The chapter provides a detailed explanation of the rapid political and administrative changes that took place between 1956 and 1958 and led to Guinea’s successful bid for independence in September–October 1958.

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                                                          • Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine, and Odile Goerg. L’Afrique occidentale au temps des Français—Colonisateurs et colonisés (c. 1860–1960). Paris: Éditions la Découverte, 1992.

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                                                            The book gives an incisive historical study of far-reaching ways in which French colonialism impacted West Africa. Those include the effects of colonial partition on the political and cultural identities of the region’s peoples, the imposition of a European system of administration in lieu of the precolonial states, and the creation of extroverted economic systems to meet European industrial needs.

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                                                            • Echenberg, Myron. Colonial Conscripts: The Tirailleurs Sénégalais in French West Africa, 1857–1960. Portsmouth, NH: Heinmann, 1991.

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                                                              A historical study of the participation of West Africans in France’s wars, including World War I, World War II, the Indochina War, and the Algeria War. The book also documents the racial discrimination and humiliation that the so-called Senegalese Sharpshooters endured, despite the remarkable soldiering for which they came to be known. The contribution of each colony is examined, including that of French Guinea.

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                                                              • Hayden, Christopher Ellis. Of Medicine and Statecraft: Smallpox and Early Colonial Vaccination in French West Africa (Senegal-Guinea). Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest, 2008.

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                                                                This published dissertation examines the early period of French campaigns of mass vaccination that ultimately led to the eradication of smallpox in French West Africa. It also analyzes the mechanism through which the campaigns helped form new social and political entities in Guinea and Senegal, thereby helping to redefine territorial and demographic boundaries for the purpose of political and administrative rule.

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                                                                • Schmidt, Elizabeth. Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946–1958. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2007.

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                                                                  In this book Schmidt contends that the nationalist action that culminated in Guinea’s decolonization in 1958 was fueled by a struggle among local militants and political leaders for control of the political agenda that erupted in the decade preceding independence. Using external Cold War considerations, the book represents the Guinean nationalist elite of that period in terms of left-wing/right-wing militants and leaders.

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                                                                  Postcolonial

                                                                  Research on Guinea’s postcolonial history has produced a remarkable amount of scholarship, and the works cited here exemplify the diversity of that scholarship. The books Adamolekun 1976 and Ameillon 1964 document and analyze the country’s trials and tribulations of the first years and decades of independence in terms of nation building, economic development, and the influence of Cold War world ideologies. In that same context, Attwood 1967 provides a unique perspective on Guinea’s Cold War predicaments as the country found itself caught between a hostile former colonizer (France) and the two Cold War superpowers and archrivals (the Soviet Union and the United States). As US ambassador to Guinea and later to Kenya, Attwood gives a useful comparative analysis of the relationships of those two countries’ political leaderships with the Soviet Bloc. Although the works Kaké 1987 and Lewin 2009–2010 can be best described as biographies of Sékou Touré, Guinea’s first president (1958–1984), they contain insightful documentation and analyses of crucial aspects of the country’s evolution during that particularly eventful period. MacDonald 2009 gives an incisive analysis of some of the facets that most characterized the political philosophy and policies under which Guinea was governed in the first decades of independence and describes how that philosophy and those policies impacted, both positively and negatively, the country’s international relations. Yansané 1984 contrasts Guinea’s path to independence and that of Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire in an effort to explain the demarcation between the three countries in terms of economic development, as of the mid-1980s.

                                                                  • Adamolekun, Lapido. Sékou Touré’s Guinea: An Experiment in Nation Building. London: Methuen, 1976.

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                                                                    This book offers a balanced assessment of the theory and practice of African socialism as a developmental path and a nation-building tool through the design and implementation of the political, economic, and sociocultural program of the Democratic Party of Guinea. It analyzes the mixture of Afro-Marxism and Pan-Africanism in efforts to mobilize the Guinean masses with the hope of transcending tribalism and building a viable nation.

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                                                                    • Ameillon, Bernard. La Guinée: Bilan d’une indépendance. Paris: Maspero, 1964.

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                                                                      Ameillon offers an overview of the domestic, continental (African), and international background to Guinea’s emergence to independence, after being the only French colony to vote “no” in General de Gaulle’s referendum of September 1958. He describes the deterioration of French-Guinea relations and its implications for each country, and gives an insightful assessment of Guinea’s first six years of independence.

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                                                                      • Attwood, William. The Reds and the Blacks. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.

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                                                                        This former US ambassador to Conakry (1961–1963) describes Guinea’s efforts at consolidating its independence in the face of General Charles de Gaulle’s determination to isolate President Sékou Touré’s government from the West. The book gives an American perspective of how the mineral-rich nation-state was caught up in the rivalries between the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc for global dominance during the Cold War era.

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                                                                        • Kaké, Ibrahima Baba. Sékou Touré: Le héros et le tyran. Paris: JeuneAfrique Livre, 1987.

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                                                                          This was the first truly historical biography of Sékou Touré. In it, Kaké uses local chronicles, colonial archival accounts, and more recent publications to reconstruct the social-political and economic evolution of Guinea in conjunction with Touré’s unionist and political activities. The author demonstrates that Touré was both a hero, for daringly defying Charles de Gaulle and leading Guinea to independence, and a tyrant, due to the repressive nature of his regime.

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                                                                          • Lewin, André. Ahmed Sékou Touré (1922–1984): Président de la Guinée. 8 vols. Paris: Harmattan, 2009–2010.

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                                                                            In this biography, the architect of Guinea’s diplomatic rapprochement with West Germany and France follows the personal and political evolution of its first president as he emerged to the public arena and to the presidency of the Republic. The collection is to date the most expansive single narrative of Touré’s career and a good source on Guinean politics and diplomacy.

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                                                                            • MacDonald, Mairi Stewart. “The Challenge of Guinean Independence, 1958–1971.” PhD diss., University of Toronto, 2009.

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                                                                              MacDonald’s published dissertation offers an in-depth historical study of key areas in which Guinea’s assertion of its right to independence challenged the assumptions of powerful Western nations about the nature of African sovereignty. It explores the Guinean leadership’s political and ideological use of the concept of “independence” as a means of rallying support and gaining and exercising control within the new nation-state.

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                                                                              • Yansané, Aguibou. Decolonization in West African States with French Colonial Legacy: Comparison and Contrast; Development in Guinea, the Ivory Coast, and Senegal, 1945–1980. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman, 1984.

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                                                                                Aguibou Yansané compares the trends of economic development that materialized in Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and Senegal as a result of the political circumstances under which each country gained independence from France and the nature of bilateral relations that each government had with that of France.

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                                                                                Geography

                                                                                Although a small country of 245,857 square kilometers, Guinea encompasses four distinct ecoclimatic zones, which, in many regards, exemplify West Africa’s diverse natural environment: a substantial coastal belt, a mountainous mixture of semiarid and meadow land, a large flat savanna, and a dense rainforest. Scholarship on the country’s geographical characteristics, including its rich and diverse environment and ecology, has been increasing in recent decades, thanks in large measure to the collaborative actions of Guinean public agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and international partners centered on environmental protection. The watersheds of the Futa Jallon region and the Nimba-Bossou-Simandou axis of Forest Guinea seem to have attracted more attention from national and international scholars. Black, et al. 1996 examines the impact of the massive influx of refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia on Guinea’s environment, while Fairhead and Leach 1966 attempts to show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, forest areas have been increasing at the expense of savanna in recent times, especially in and around the Kissidougou region. Diallo 2010 provides a more inclusive view of Guinea’s geography by presenting and analyzing the physical, demographic, ecological, and economic characteristics of each of the country’s four ecoclimatic regions; and Jarrett 1961 does the same, but extends the author’s study to the entire West African region. Matsuzawa, et al. 2011 uncovers the behavioral flexibility of the chimpanzees of Bossou and discusses the need for aggressive policies to preserve the primates’ environment. Szlachetko and Kowalkowska 2007 offers a standard study of a large variety of specimen selected from Guinea’s abundant flora.

                                                                                • Black, Richard, Faya Jean Milimouno, and Mohamed Sessay. Refugees and Environmental Changes: The Case of the Forest Region of Guinea. Brighton, UK: University of Sussex School of African and Asian Studies, 1996.

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                                                                                  This concise study offers an enlightening assessment of the multifaceted environmental consequences of the massive flux of refugees from war-torn Liberia and Sierra Leone into the southern and southeastern forest region of Guinea in the 1980s and 1990s. It sheds light on generally overlooked aspects of prolonged violence as it relates to the panicky concentration of overwhelming numbers of refugees.

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                                                                                  • Diallo, Abdoul Goudoussi. Géographie de la Guinée. Paris: Harmattan, 2010.

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                                                                                    This work offers an in-depth study of Guinea’s physical, human, economic, and regional geography. It presents the country’s diverse ecoclimatic landscape, from the Atlantic coast of Lower Guinea to the mountainous region of Middle Guinea and to the savanna of Upper Guinea, down to the rainforest of Forest Guinea. Also analyzed are the corresponding sociocultural identities and economic resources and activities.

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                                                                                    • Fairhead, James, and Melissa Leach. “Enriching the Landscape: Social History and the Management of Transition Ecology in the Forest-Savanna Mosaic of the Republic of Guinea.” Africa 66.1 (1966): 14–36.

                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/1161509Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      The authors challenge scientific and policy orthodoxy and present historical evidence from Kissidougou, which shows that forest areas have been increasing at the expense of savanna in recent times. The article outlines the local agroecological practices and examines how the observed course of vegetation change can inform the articulation of these practices with political, economic, demographic, and climatic changes.

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                                                                                      • Jarrett, Harold Reginald. A Geography of West Africa: Including the French Community, the Republic of Guinea, Portuguese Guinea, and Liberia. London: J. M. Dent, 1961.

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                                                                                        The book contains a study of the physical geography of continental Western Africa as a natural bloc without losing sight of the ecoclimatic variations. It also contains an examination of the subregion’s human geography with a focus on its ethnocultural diversity.

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                                                                                        • Matsuzawa, Tetsuro, Tatyana Humle, and Yukimaru Sugiyama, eds. The Chimpanzees of Bossou and Nimba. Tokyo: Springer, 2011.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1007/978-4-431-53921-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Through uncovering the complexity of the mind and behavioral flexibility of the chimpanzees of Bossou in Guinea and explaining how this unique community of primates displays an exceptional array of tool-use behaviors and behavioral adaptations to coexistence with humans, the book reveals the necessity for ongoing efforts to conserve chimpanzees and their environment in the region.

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                                                                                          • Szlachetko, Dariusz L., and Agnieszka Kowalkowska. Contributions to the Orchid Flora of Guinea, West Africa. Kraków: Polish Academy of Sciences, 2007.

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                                                                                            A standard study of Guinea’s flora that treats fifty-four genera and 153 species based on the examination of 1258 herbarium specimens. The book examines each genus in detail with literature references, a formal description, and general statements about its size and distribution. Also, it discusses each species by providing literature references, type citations, a formal description, and information on ecology and distribution.

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                                                                                            Society and Culture

                                                                                            The diversity and richness of Guinean cultures have consistently fascinated researchers and visitors and is amply reflected in the breadth and variety of the related literature available in both fiction and nonfiction genres. The sociopolitical complexity of Guinean society has not escaped researchers either, and the number of publications exploring the historical, anthropological, economic, and political dimensions of that complexity testifies to the matter. Azarya 1978 offers a comparative analysis of the diverse ways in which Fulani aristocracies coped with changes that profoundly altered their precolonial powers and privileges in colonial and postcolonial Guinea, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Kouyaté 2003 explains the origins and sociological significance of the friendly clan feud known in the Mandenka language as Sanakuya, which is a mechanism of alliance building and conflict prevention/resolution that originated in Mande and spread throughout West Africa, and is also unique to the region. As a direct descendent of the most powerful Mande griot family of Guinea (royal chroniclers and advisers), Kouyaté brings a unique perspective into the discussion of this part of Guinea’s ages-old tradition that is as vivid today as it was after the adoption of the Kurukanfuga Pact in the 13th century. McGovern 2013 discusses the ways in which the religious beliefs and practices of animist societies of Forest Guinea were affected by the policy of the Guinean government under Sékou Touré, aimed at abolishing key aspects of those beliefs and practices in the name of “cultural demystification.” McNaughton 1993 provides an in-depth explanation of the craftsmanship of the West African blacksmiths, including its epistemological dimensions and the metaphysical powers associated with it. Although the study covers the broader Mande cultural sphere, it is keenly relevant to Guinea because of the unique social role that Mande and Mande-descended blacksmith families played and continue to play in Guinean society. Straker 2009 describes the different mechanisms through which the Guinean Democratic Party utilized popular culture, education, and similar elements of society’s inner values in order to harness the energy of the Guinean youth, a turning into the spearhead of Guinea’s anticolonialism nationalism in the 1950s.

                                                                                            • Azarya, Victor. Aristocrats Facing Change: The Fulbhe in Guinea, Nigeria, and Cameroon. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978.

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                                                                                              In this book Azarya presents a meticulous comparative study of the social-political changes that European colonialism and postcolonial national sovereignty brought upon traditional Fulani aristocracies in Guinea, Nigeria, and Cameroon with a focus on the various ways in which each community responded to those changes.

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                                                                                              • Kouyaté, Siriman. Le cousinage à plaisanterie: Notre héritage commun. Conakry, Guinea: Éditions Ganndal, 2003.

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                                                                                                The work is a study of a uniquely influential dimension of West African kinship and a sociopolitical alliance-building mechanism known in the author’s native Maninka language as “Sanakuya.” Kouyaté explains the origin, workings, and role that this system of friendly family feuding played in precolonial West African societies that adopted Sanakuya, and continues to play throughout the region, including conflict prevention and conflict resolution.

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                                                                                                • McGovern, Mike. Unmasking the State: Making Guinea Modern. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                  An anthropological discussion of the “demystification” policy of the regime of the Democratic Party of Guinea and the ways in which it affected the religious traditions of the ethnic communities of Forest Guinea. The policy contained a major paradox in that it purported to ban animist sacred-forest rituals and Africanized Muslim soothsaying while emphasizing the promotion of African cultural values.

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                                                                                                  • McNaughton, Patrick. The Mande Blacksmiths: Knowledge, Power, and Art in West Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                    The book explains the extraordinary craftsmanship of the West African blacksmiths and goes deeper into the epistemological dimensions of that craftsmanship and unveils the metaphysical powers associated with it. It stresses that in addition to smelting metal ore and making domestic tools and weapons, the traditional West African blacksmith is also a healer, a hunter, an artist, and much more.

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                                                                                                    • Straker, Jay. Youth, Nationalism, and the Guinean Revolution. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                      Using political party records, state press, novels, poems, plays, photographs, and personal histories, Straker offers an alternative view of the cultural mobilization of the Guinean youth in the context of the political struggle of the Democratic Party of Guinea for nation building. He argues that the party attempted to reshape popular attitudes and youth consciousness through education, the arts, and sports.

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                                                                                                      Ethnic Groups

                                                                                                      The works cited in this section tackle ethnicity in Guinea from several topical perspectives. Bangoura 1996 looks at the subject through the mixture of adaptation and self-preservation that Baga art experienced over the centuries as that community coped with Muslim and European influences while attempting to maintain the core of its identity. Derma 1973 and Sow 2007 explore the role devoted to Islam in the building of the Fulani theocratic state of Futa Jallon and the system of serfdom upon which it rested. Sow’s work in particular offers an analysis of the use of Islam as a means to sharpen Fulani self-identification as an ethnic entity. Højbjerg 2007 provides a detailed study of the Toma people’s struggle to preserve the integrity of their ethnic and spiritual identity against the policy of the Democratic Party of Guinea geared toward creating a uniform national culture in the 1960s and 1970s. Lestrange 2006 places the Coniagui and Bassari ethnic groups in their double context as marginalized ethnic minorities in Guinea and as a borderland ethnic linkage between Guinea and neighboring Senegal.

                                                                                                      • Bangoura, Lamp F. Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention. New York: Museum of African Art, 1996.

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                                                                                                        A description of the material and immaterial art of the Baga of coastal Guinea with an emphasis on the variations it has experienced through the centuries due to outside influences (European, Muslim, Soso, and so on). The study addresses the limited transition that Baga material art (masks, sacred clothing, and ceremonial ornaments) has made from ancestral animism to modern artistry.

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                                                                                                        • Derma, William. Serfs, Peasants and Socialists: A Former Serf Village in the Republic of Guinea. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973.

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                                                                                                          In this volume Derma William explores the complex world of Fulani serfdom as it loosely survived after its official abolition in the late 1950s by the regime of the Democratic Party of Guinea. Using a typical village of serfs as a case study, the author provides a useful description of this system of sociopolitical and economic subjugation, based on ethnic considerations and justified through Islamic theocracy.

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                                                                                                          • Højbjerg, Christian Kordt. Resisting State Iconoclasm among the Loma of Guinea. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic, 2007.

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                                                                                                            This is an anthropological study of the struggle of the Loma, or Toma, community of Guinea for the preservation of its religious tradition in the face of the cultural policy of the Democratic Party of Guinea aimed at “emancipating” Guinean societies from what it perceived as outdated ancestral mystification.

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                                                                                                            • Lestrange, Monique de. Les Coniagui et les Bassari: Guinée française. Paris: Harmattan, 2006.

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                                                                                                              Lestrange’s study considers the Coniagui and the Bassari ethnic communities not only as integral components of French Guinea’s social and cultural makeup, but also as components of broader societies spread out in West Africa. By doing so, the study provides an understanding of the uniqueness of borderland populations in the historical and demographic dynamics of West Africa’s societies.

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                                                                                                              • Sow, Alpha Mohamed Loppé. Ethnies et société islamique en Afrique, un paradoxe? Le cas du Fuuta Dyalöö guinéen, du XVIe au XXe siècles. Paris: Harmattan, 2007.

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                                                                                                                In this work Sow scrutinizes the assumption that Islam is inclusive enough to mitigate the effects of ethnic differences within the community of believers. He demonstrates that the case of Futa Jallon does prove that ethnicity is an integral part of Muslims’ self-identification, more so in Africa, and has played a role in the history of theocratic states throughout West Africa.

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                                                                                                                Women and Gender

                                                                                                                Scholarship on the gender relations in West African political leadership has noticeably grown in recent years due, in part, to the effects of civil wars and the decisive role that women’s organizations played in conflict resolution programs. That combined with the widespread victimization that women have endured during the numerous conflicts that have plagued the region since the late 1980s has raised the level of the debate on women and gender. Thus, although the works Réseau Guinéen des Femmes Africaines Ministres et Parlementaires 2000 and Steady 2011 each explore the question from a unique standpoint, both discuss the changing role of women in national and regional leadership. Guinea being an active member of both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Mano River Union, within the frameworks of which these studies were conducted, it stands to reason that Guinean women are an integral component of the entities studied. Osborn 2011 presents a more localized study of the historical transformation of women’s sociopolitical status in what is present-day Upper Guinea and concludes that French colonialism was responsible for undermining that status. Yoder, et al. 1999 looks at yet another facet of female victimization in Guinea, namely what the authors call female genital cutting, which is the practice conventionally known in the literature as female genital mutilation (FGM).

                                                                                                                • Osborn, Emily Lynn. Our New Husbands Are Here: Households, Gender, and Politics in a West African State from the Slave Trade to Colonial Rule. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                  The central question in this work is: Why did the pivotal place that women frequently held in the political narratives of precolonial West Africa disappear during the colonial era? Osborn investigates the history of statecraft and the organic relationship of the household to the state in Upper Guinea. She concludes that French colonialism altered that history and weakened that relationship.

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                                                                                                                  • Réseau Guinéen des Femmes Africaines Ministres et Parlementaires. Implication des femmes dans la prévention et la gestion des conflits en Afrique de l’Ouest: Conférence sous-régionale sur l’implication des femmes dans la prévention et la gestion des conflits en Afrique de l’Ouest, Conakry du 24 au 26 janvier 2000. Conakry, Guinea: Éditions Ganndal, 2000.

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                                                                                                                    This is a summative assessment of the contribution of regional women’s organizations within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the prevention and resolution of conflicts in West Africa. Conflicts covered in the study include the civil wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau, as well as lesser-known ones.

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                                                                                                                    • Steady, Filomina Chioma. Women and Leadership in West Africa: Mothering the Nation and Humanizing the State. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1057/9781137010391Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      Taking the Mano River Union countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as case studies, the book explores factors that give rise to different types of female leadership in West Africa. The book emphasizes the civil wars that destabilized the subregion in recent decades as one such factor and presents a compelling African theoretical framework for understanding female leadership.

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                                                                                                                      • Yoder, P. Stanley, Papa Ousmane Camara, and Baba Soumaoro. Female Genital Cutting and Coming of Age in Guinea. Calverton, MD: Macro International, 1999.

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                                                                                                                        The book is a sociological study of the practice of FGM in traditional Guinean societies as an integral component of the rite of passage from girlhood to womanhood. The authors explain the risks associated with the practice, weigh them against the socioreligious beliefs attached to it, and call for sustained education of women as a potent approach to the problem.

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                                                                                                                        Economy

                                                                                                                        Although often focused on particular aspects of Guinea’s national economy, the bulk of the international literature places a heavy emphasis on the conspicuous paradox between the country’s immense agricultural and mineral resources on the one hand, and its striking lack of economic development on the other hand. Beyond the various speculations offered in a way of explaining the paradox, most authors concur with one another that inadequate economic policies, corruption, and political instability are to blame for this regrettable state of affairs. Meanwhile, the official national literature generated under the regime of the Democratic Party of Guinea posited the regime’s socialist path as the most viable way forward while, by the same token, holding Western capitalist imperialism principally responsible for Africa’s economic difficulties. Against that backdrop, the following works have been selected for the light they shed together on the historical paradoxes explained above, without a clear understanding of which it would be hard to make sense of the state of the early-21st-century Guinean economy. Thus, whereas the book by Touré 1974 can be described as a treatise of the political economy of the Guinean regime at the time, which was centered on state-controlled collectivization, the works Clapp 1997, the International Monetary Fund 2012, and the World Trade Organization 2012 assess crucial aspects of the economic liberalization and globalization introduced soon after the fall of that regime.

                                                                                                                        • Clapp, Jennifer. Adjustment and Agriculture in Africa: Farmers, the State, and the World Bank in Guinea. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1057/9780230372450Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Published in the height of what observers have termed the second phase of Guinea’s post–Sékou Touré crisis, Clapp’s book examines the dramatic change in economic and agricultural policies that the country experienced with the adoption of the World Bank–sponsored structural adjustment program (SAP) in the mid-1980s. The author insists that Guinea’s SAP-related experience illustrates some of the most pressing problems facing African countries pursuing foreign-induced economic reform.

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                                                                                                                          • International Monetary Fund. Guinea: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—Annual Progress Report. IMF Country Report 12/61. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2012.

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                                                                                                                            Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) are prepared by member countries in consultation with stakeholders and the World Bank and the IMF. Annual progress reports describe the country’s macroeconomic, structural, and social policies as they relate to growth and poverty reduction. PRSPs also assess associated external financing needs and major sources of financing.

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                                                                                                                            • Touré, Ahmed Sékou. Pour une économie populaire et révolutionnaire, Tome XX. 2d ed. Conakry, Guinea: Imprimerie Nationale “Patrice Lumumba,” 1974.

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                                                                                                                              In this twentieth volume of his writings, President Touré explained in detail his government’s political economy and the new phase of its implementation through agricultural, commercial, and industrial collectivization. He further explains the corresponding fiscal and banking system, as well as the role that international organizations and other foreign partners are expected to play in the country’s socialist economic development.

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                                                                                                                              • World Trade Organization. Trade Policy Review: Guinea 2011. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Bernan, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                As part of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM), this volume provides information on the trade policies, practices, and macroeconomic situations of the Republic of Guinea. The WTO describes the TPRM as a mechanism designed to contribute to improving adherence by all member states to rules, disciplines, and commitments made under the Multilateral Trade Agreement (MTA).

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                                                                                                                                Politics and Government

                                                                                                                                The subject of politics and government in Guinea has been generally treated from four chronological/contextual perspectives, presenting the country as (1) a small territory with limited political significance within the French colonial empire, (2) a hotbed of nationalism from which French colonialism in Africa was fatally wounded, (3) a potentially wealthy nation-state under the rule of a repressive single-party tyranny, and (4) a country in perpetual political turmoil that oscillates from military dictatorships to an incompetent elected civilian autocracy.

                                                                                                                                Colonial

                                                                                                                                Politics and government in French Guinea is addressed in the following works from a dual standpoint. On the one hand, Benoist 1982 and O’Brien 1965 consider the matter from the perspective of colonial France’s efforts at maintaining firm control over her West African colonies while introducing political, legal, and administrative changes aimed at relaxing certain aspects of pre–World War II policies. On the other hand, Charles 1992, Johnson 1970, and Kéita 1995 focus on the development of political life in French Guinea and its impact upon that colony’s relationships with the French administration in the post–World War II period.

                                                                                                                                • Benoist, Joseph-Roger de. L’Afrique Occidentale Française de la Conférence de Brazzaville (1944) à l’indépendance (1960). Proceedings of Conférence Africaine Française de Brazzaville, Congo, 30 January–8 February 1944. Dakar, Senegal: Nouvelles Éditions Africaines, 1982.

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                                                                                                                                  A thoroughly documented analysis of the political evolution of French West Africa (AOF) from the French Brazzaville Conference, which reasserted France’s colonial hegemony over her African “possessions,” to the effective decolonization of the region in 1960. The book documents in detail the political changes that marked each colony and highlights those changes that set Guinea apart as it alone chose independence in 1958.

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                                                                                                                                  • Charles, Bernard. “Le rôle de la violence dans la mise en place des pouvoirs en Guinée.” Paper delivered at the conference “La France et les indépendances des pays d’Afrique noire et de Madagascar,” held in Aix-en-Provence, France, 26–29 April 1990. In L’Afrique noire française: L’heure des Indépendances. Edited by Charles-Rober Ageron and Marc Michel, 361–372. Paris: Editions CNRS, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                    The article documents the use of violence as an instrument for the establishment of self-rule under the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG) between 1947 and 1958. It analyzes the escalation of political and ethnic violence with the enactment of semiautonomous rule in 1957 under the Loi-cadre Defferre. The author argues that although the PDG came to power democratically in 1957, it maintained itself in power through violence.

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                                                                                                                                    • Johnson, R. Wayne. “The Parti Démocratique de Guinée and the Mamou ‘deviation.’” In African Perspectives: Papers in the History, Politics and Economics of Africa Presented to Thomas Hodgkin. Edited by Christopher Allen and R. Wayne Johnson, 347–368. London: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

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                                                                                                                                      Johnson presents a balanced examination of the inner strengths and weaknesses of party politics in French Guinea in the 1940s and 1950s with a focus of the occurrence and repercussions of a far-reaching dissidence within the PDG. He demonstrates the critical part that trade unions played in that crucial period as political parties appeared to falter.

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                                                                                                                                      • Kéita, Sidiki Kobélé. Esquisses biographiques des premiers députés guinéens. Conakry, Guinea: Editions Universitaires, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                        The book chronicles the careers of Guinean members of the French National Assembly and the implications of their legislative activities in Paris for the political and legal evolution of French Guinea in particular and French Africa in general. Also documented is the transformation of the Territorial Assembly of French Guinea into the first National Assembly of the Republic of Guinea in 1958.

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                                                                                                                                        • O’Brien, Donald Cruise. “The Limits of Political Choice in French West Africa, 1956–1960.” Civilisations 15.2 (1965): 206–220.

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                                                                                                                                          In this article O’Brien examines the provisions of the Loi-cadre Defferre, its implementation in the French colonies, and the effects it had on the struggle for political emancipation in West Africa. He analyzes the semiautonomous status granted to each colony under the law and the ensuing dislocation of the French West Africa federation.

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                                                                                                                                          Nationalism and Independence

                                                                                                                                          Even though the works included in this subsection intersect in some regard with those cited under History: Postcolonial, they stand apart due to their focus on the evolvement of the anticolonial nationalist movement and its culmination into the birth of the independent and sovereign nation-state of present-day Guinea. The book Camara 2013 provides a comprehensive study of the political development from the time French West Africa joined the Allies and General Charles de Gaulle’s Free France movement in World War II to the early 21st century. It scrutinizes the politics and policies of the various regimes that ruled the country since independence and the responses of the outside world to them. Goerg, et al. 2010 revisits the events that led to Guinea’s rejection of General de Gaulle’s constitutional project in 1958 and its aftermath. The authors attempt to debunk what they perceive to be political myths surrounding that critical phase in France’s colonial history. Kaba 1989 also revisits the events, but does so from a structural perspective, arguing that de Gaulle’s project was rejected by Guinea as an aspiring nation and not by one man (Sékou Touré) or one political party (the Guinean Democratic Party), contrary to widespread assumptions. The research in Rivière 1977 and Schmidt 2005 concentrates on the ways and means that the Guinean Democratic Party rallied its political troops between 1947 (the date of its creation) and 1957 (when it assumed the leadership of French Guinea under the Loi-cadre Defferre) and led the country to independence in 1958.

                                                                                                                                          • Camara, Mohamed Saliou. Political History of Guinea since World War Two. New York: Peter Lang, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                            This book offers an in-depth examination of the political evolution of Guinea from c. 1942 to 2013. It does so through the incorporation of a substantial amount of primary-source information, including colonial and postcolonial public archives, the personal papers of active participants in and close witnesses of that history, and interviews with a large array of knowledgeable Guineans, Africans, and foreigners of various backgrounds.

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                                                                                                                                            • Goerg, Odile, Céline Pauthier, and Abdoulaye Diallo. Le non de la Guinée (1958): Entre mythe, relecture historique et résonances contemporaines. Paris: Harmattan, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                              The authors of this work attempt a deconstructionist examination of General Charles de Gaulle’s referendum of 28 September 1958, the circumstances surrounding Guinea’s lone “no” vote, and its political and economic impact on the historical evolution of the country, as well as its resonance in recent history beyond Guinea’s geopolitical borders.

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                                                                                                                                              • Kaba, Lansiné. Le “non” de la Guinée à de Gaulle. Paris: Éditions Chaka, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                In this book Kaba posits the confrontation between Charles de Gaulle and Sékou Touré as the epitome of a clash of nationalisms rather than a simple incompatibility between two men. By the same token, the author rejects the assumption that Guinea’s independence was the outcome of the actions of Sékou Touré’s party alone.

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                                                                                                                                                • Rivière, Claude. Guinea: The Mobilization of a People. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977.

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                                                                                                                                                  The book contains a broad overview of the social and cultural characteristics of Guinean society and an explanation of the ways in which the political elite was able to harness those diverse characteristics in the struggle for independence. It also explores the socialist political economy of the regime that governed the country since independence and the effects that internal contradictions had on the institutional effectiveness of the national elite.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Schmidt, Elizabeth. Mobilizing the Masses: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939–1958. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                    In this social history study, the author argues that the Democratic Party of Guinea’s political success was due to its ability to mobilize military veterans, urban workers, peasants, and women, whose grievances against the colonial establishment fueled the nationalist agenda and whose energies drove the struggle for independence.

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                                                                                                                                                    Postcolonial

                                                                                                                                                    The works Touré 1964, Kéita 2002, and Camara 2005 offer analyses of the nature and political itinerary of the regime of the Guinean Democratic Party, which ruled Guinea from independence in 1958 until 1984. Each tackles the subject from a revealing angle: the regime’s political philosophy, its enduring power struggles with domestic opponents and foreign detractors, and the use and misuse of mass communication in nation building and statecraft. Skurnik 1968 extends the analysis beyond the national context and onto the Pan-African level through a comparative study of the political thoughts of Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, and Sékou Touré. Alata 1976 and Bah 1996 extend the scholarship to yet another revealing area, namely the pattern of suppression of dissent that characterized the political behavior of the regime of the Guinean Democratic Party. Finally, Bangoura, et al. 2006 assesses the deepening political and economic crisis that besieged the country beginning in the mid-1990s and speculates about the proper role that Guinea’s civil society and international partners should play toward solving the crisis.

                                                                                                                                                    • Alata, Jean-Paul. Prison d’Afrique. Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1976.

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                                                                                                                                                      A former French colonial functionary, political activist, and adviser to President Sékou Touré, Alata narrates his experience as a political prisoner in Guinea’s Camp Boiro. Being the first publication of its kind, the book sheds light on the repressive nature of Touré’s regime by giving detailed accounts of the gross violations of human rights that occurred in that detention camp.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Bah, Thierno. Mon combat pour la Guinée. Paris: Karthala, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                        In this narrative, the author, who was among the leaders of a group of Guinean exiles/self-exiles opposed to Sékou Touré’s regime, characterizes the activities of that group as a patriotic plight against tyranny, whereas the Guinean government denounced them as acts of treason.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Bangoura, Dominique, Mohamed Tétémadi Bangoura, and Moustapha Diop, eds. Quelle transition politique pour la Guinée? Paris: Harmattan, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                          The book offers a critical assessment of Guinea’s political crisis and a comparative analysis of the different scenarios developed by various components of the national political class. It then examines the roles that the authors believe Guinea’s civil society and the international community should play if the country is to transition toward a sustainable system of democratic governance.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Camara, Mohamed Saliou. His Master’s Voice: Mass Communication and Single-Party Politics in Guinea under Sékou Touré. Trenton, NJ: Africa World, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                            This is a historical study of the role that mass communication played in the establishment of single-party rule in independent Guinea. In this study, the concept of mass communication is envisioned in its broadest sense, including traditional mass media, but also mass communication through organized religion; youth as well as women’s and workers’ rallies; and ideological messaging through academic education, as well as sports and organized artistry.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Kéita, Sidiki Kobélé. Des complots contre la Guinée de Sékou Touré (1958–1984). Conakry, Guinea: SOGUIDIP, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                              Incorporating accounts from French writers and former French secret forces operatives as well as former African leaders, Sidiki Kobélé Kéita, a longtime historiographer of the Democratic Party of Guinea, attempts to prove that the Sékou Touré regime was the target of a “perennial plot” orchestrated by French-backed renegade Guineans.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Skurnik, Walter A. E., ed. African Political Thought: Lumumba, Nkrumah, Touré. Denver, CO: University of Denver Press, 1968.

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                                                                                                                                                                Skurnik explores in depth the political philosophies of first-generation revolutionary nationalist leaders Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sékou Touré of Guinea, highlights their similarities and differences, and scrutinizes the adversities that they faced, individually and collectively, due to their conspicuous lack of conformity to Western Cold War views. The work has the merit of putting Touré’s political thought in a Pan-African perspective.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Touré, Sékou. Guinean Revolution and Social Progress. Cairo, Egypt: SOP, 1964.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Among the earliest volumes of what would grow to become a large collection of political writings by the then-president of the Republic of Guinea, the book explains the political philosophy and political economy of the ruling party, the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), the structural organization, and the functioning of the national government in terms of domestic and foreign policies.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Religion

                                                                                                                                                                  The longstanding coexistence of indigenous religions with Islam and Christianity in West Africa in general and Guinea in particular has generated a wealth of publications tackling these religious traditions from a variety of perspectives. Whether authored by members of any of the religious establishments or by secular researchers, the literature tends to highlight the predominance of Islam, the perseverance of Christianity, and the resilience of African values, thereby making Guinean society as a whole a relatively cosmopolitan people.

                                                                                                                                                                  Traditional

                                                                                                                                                                  In spite of the aggressiveness with which Islam and Christianity penetrated the various communities that compose present-day Guinea, traditional religious systems have survived and, in some cases, thrived. The publications included here reflect this state of affairs. Doumbia and Doumbia 2004 explores critical areas in which indigenous spiritual beliefs and cognitive traditions have survived in West Africa and coexist with Islam or Christianity. Gaisseau 1954 and Holas 1952 document such traditional beliefs and practices as observed in the Toma and Kisi communities of Forest Guinea, respectively. Rivière 1969 offers an interdisciplinary approach to the policy of cultural demystification of the Guinean Democratic Party, whose target included traditional religious beliefs and practices, and its implications for the ideal of national unity in Guinea in the 1960s–1970s.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Doumbia, Adama, and Naomi Doumbia. The Way of the Elders: West African Spirituality & Tradition. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                    The Doumbias discuss key elements of the spiritual heritage of the Mande people of Guinea and elsewhere. They provide an insight into the fundamental belief in the One Spirit or Supreme Deity and the sociospiritual rituals accompanying it, including sacred offerings and reverence for ancestors, along with the multifaceted values of village life, sacred music and dance, marriage, childbirth, initiation, death, and funerals.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Gaisseau, Pierre Dominique. The Sacred Forest: Magic and Secret Rites in French Guinea. Translated by Alan Ross. New York: Knopf, 1954.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Originally in French. The book presents a narrative of the author’s travel through the Toma region and his first-hand experience of that community’s religious practices, ranging from the making of sacred masks and burying the dead to performing divinatory rituals. It discusses the normative value of these practices as they relate to the moral principles upon which the entire Toma spiritual superstructure rests.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Holas, Bohumil. “Pratiques divinatoires Kissi (Guinée Française).” Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Afrique Noire 14.1 (1952): 272–307.

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                                                                                                                                                                        The article describes the use of religious artifacts, as well as profane household items, in major divinatory rituals among the Kissi of Kissidougou and Gueckédou. It highlights the cultural influence of the Kouranko, the Kissi’s neighbors to the North, widely known for their ancestral practices of sociospiritual divination.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Rivière, Claude. “Fétichisme et démystification: L’exemple guinéen.” Afrique-Documents 102–103 (1969): 131–168.

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                                                                                                                                                                          In this interdisciplinary study, Rivière scrutinizes the regime of the Guinean Democratic Party’s “demystification” policy aimed at freeing Guinean society from social and spiritual beliefs and practices that it considered to be archaic superstitions and a distraction to the revolutionary education launched under the 1968 Cultural Revolution. Rivière gives a detailed description of some of the beliefs and practices thus targeted.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Islam

                                                                                                                                                                          Introduced through trade and peaceful scholarship in the Mande area and coastal Guinea, and mainly through “holy war” in the Futa Jallon, Islam is the predominant religion in Guinea (estimated at 78 to 85 percent). The works Hopewell 1958 and Saint-Martin 1970 retrace the introduction of various Islamic movements into different areas of present-day Guinea and neighboring countries. Marty 1921 contains a detailed ethnological study of the integration of Sunni Islam into the personal and public lives of members of the Fulani ethnic community of Guinea, and Sarró 2009 explains the penetration of the then-animist/Christian Baga community of coastal Guinea by iconoclastic Islam during the French colonial period.

                                                                                                                                                                          • Hopewell, James F. “Muslim Penetration into French Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia before 1850.” PhD diss., Columbia University, 1958.

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                                                                                                                                                                            In this thesis Hopewell explores the introduction and propagation of Islam in the present-day countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia through a complex process combining trade, education, war, and political alliances. The author highlights the crucial roles that established religious brotherhoods and organized merchant caravans played in the process.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Marty, Paul. L’Islam en Guinée. Paris: Editions Ernest Leroux, 1921.

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                                                                                                                                                                              In this book Paul Marty takes the view that the social role of Islam in Black Africa cannot be fully understood unless it is examined from an ethnological perspective, because each practicing ethnic entity impresses its cultural stamp on the religion. The book presents theocratic Futa Jallon through its major religious centers, orders and sects, and the influence of Moorish and North African scholars.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Saint-Martin, Yves. L‘Empire toucouleur, 1848–1897. Paris: Livre Africain, 1970.

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                                                                                                                                                                                A monograph retracing El Hadj Omar Tall’s jihad and the founding of his Tukulor kingdom in Dinguiraye (northern Guinea) under the impetus of the Tijjaniya order. The work scrutinizes Tall’s legendary pilgrimage to Mecca, his religious and political relations with the theocracy of Futa Jallon and other surrounding polities, and the spiritual and clerical reforms that he and his successors established in the region.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Sarró, Ramon. The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast: Iconoclasm Done and Undone. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  This book examines an iconoclastic religious movement initiated by a Muslim preacher among coastal Baga farmers in the French colonial period. It also offers an analysis of the traditional culture of the Baga and the changes it underwent as a result of European influence and the impact of the interface between Islam, traditional religions, and Christianity in West Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Christianity

                                                                                                                                                                                  Some of the insightful studies of Christianity in Guinea are by former clergy members or longtime followers of the dominations predominating Christian activities in the country. Vieira 2005 presents an extensive analysis of the Roman Catholic Church’s sour relationships with the regime of the Guinean Democratic Party, based on church archival documentation. Lonah 2012 and Loua 2008 retrace the history of church activities in two regions where Christianity has had some of its most enduring presence. The book Congrès National sur l’Evangélisation de la Guinée 1990 documents the revival of Protestant fervor in Guinea following decades of torpor due to multiple political predicaments.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Congrès National sur l’Evangélisation de la Guinée. La Guinée pour Christ: Deuxième Congrès national sur l’évangélisation de la Guinée tenu du 19 au 25 Novembre 1990 à Conakry. Conakry, Guinea: Eglise Protestante Evangélique de Guinée, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    This collection of the proceedings of the second national congress of the Protestant Church in Guinea deals with the rebirth of evangelical activities in the country, since the fall of the regime of the Democratic Party of Guinea, under which Christianity was severely marginalized.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lonah, Clément. Le centenaire de la mission catholique d’Ourous (1912–2012). Conakry, Guinea: Imprimerie Mission Catholique, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      The book chronicles the one hundred years of the Catholic mission of a small outpost located in Guinea’s northwestern region of Koundara. It describes the mission’s trials and tribulations, in conjunction with the power struggle that characterized the relations between the Catholic Church and the regime of the Democratic Party of Guinea under Sékou Touré.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Loua, Zaoro Hyacinthe. Le Christ en Guinée-Forestière: Evangélisation et actes des premiers Chrétiens Kpellè. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Éditions du CERAP, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        A detailed description of the first decades of Christianization of the Kpellè people of Forest Guinea also known as Guerzé, the book also documents the role that the first cohorts of converts played in the integration of aspects of Christianity into the local culture.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Vieira, Gérard. L’Église catholique en Guinée à l’épreuve de Sékou Touré (1958–1984). 3 vols. Paris: Éditions Karthala, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          As a former member of the Roman Catholic clergy in Guinea, Vieira was a participant in the power struggle between Guinea’s single-party regime and the Catholic Church. In this study he explains that struggle, including the sudden expulsion of the French archbishop of Conakry, the regime’s nationalization of church property, the closing down of missionary schools, and so on.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Language

                                                                                                                                                                                          Even though Guinea’s ethnolinguistic landscape encompasses over a dozen languages and dialects, most language studies reflect the dominance of Fulani (or Pular), Mandenka (or Malinké), and Soso (or Soussou), followed in some cases by Kisi (or Kisie), Toma (or Loma), and Guerzé (or Kpèlè), alongside French, the country’s international lingua franca. Accordingly, included in this section are works focused on sociolinguistic study and promotion of Fulani with Leroy and Baldé 2002 and Doumbouya 1998, of Mandenka with Camara 1999, and of Soso with Touré 2004. Diallo, et al. 1999 documents aspects of the incorporation of French words and phrases into Guinean colloquial parlance and popular culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Camara, Mamadou. Parlons Malinké. Paris: Harmattan, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            The author proposes an interactive pedagogical approach to learning the Malinké language that includes a basic-to-intermediate understanding of the cultures of broad communities like the Mandenka, Bambara, and Jola (or Jula). It also offers detailed linguistic descriptions of the major variants of the language spoken in present-day Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Sierra Leone.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Diallo, Alpha Mamadou, Marcel Tamba Millimouno, Alpha Oumar Diallo, and Ansoumane Camara. Le français en Guinée: Contribution à un inventaire des particularités lexicales. Vanves, France: Edicef, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Although Guinea does not have a Creole like Haiti or a clearly distinguishable Franco-African dialect like Côte d’Ivoire, there are lexical particularities that can be safely attributed to Guinean French speakers with intermediate formal education. In this informative work, Diallo and his colleagues offer an extended analytical inventory of those particularities.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Doumbouya, El Hadj Mamadou Béla. Syllabaire Adjami. Conakry, Guinea: Éditions Gandal, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Published in Fulani and French using harmonized Arabic alphabet, Syllabaire Adjami is designed as a beginner’s manual for Fulani speakers learning how to read and write. The book can also be useful to non-Fulani speakers who possess intermediate-to-advanced knowledge of the Arabic language and are interested in learning Fulani.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Leroy, Anne, and Alpha Oumar Kona Baldé. Parlons pular: Dialecte du Fouta Djalon. Paris: Harmattan, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  The authors attempt to provide a sociolinguistic manual for teaching and learning the Fulani language of Futa Jallon. In doing so, they incorporate anecdotal descriptions of the customary values behind some of the fundamental characteristics of the language, including the transformation of the Fulani community from a nomadic entity into a sedentary one and the influence of the Mande and Arabic languages.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Touré, Aboubacar. Parlons Soso: Langue et culture du peuple de la Guinée Maritime. Paris: Harmattan, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Aboubacar Touré combines a linguistic description of the Soso language and an analysis of its historical evolution from the original Mande Fu to the modern language it has become with a host of words and phrases borrowed from European, Asian, and other African languages. This approach makes the book a useful tool toward an understanding of the language and the society that speaks it.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Literature

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The works presented in this section exemplify the general subdivision of Guinean literature into traditionally inspired literature and activist literature (or littérature engagée). Camara 1985 and Sow 1968 fall under the first category, whereas Barry 2002, Diallo 2009, Sassine 1985, and Monénembo 2010 represent slightly different subcategories of the second. The genre known as traditionally inspired literature corresponds to what some would call “oral literature” in that it stems from indigenous African oral traditions as well as describes and dramatizes multiple facets of African folklore. Activist literature, in this context, refers to literary works aimed at expressing, promoting, and defending political or ideological causes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Barry, Alpha Ousmane. Pouvoir du discours et discours du pouvoir: L’art oratoire chez Sékou Touré de 1958–1984. Paris: Harmattan, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      In this volume Barry attempts a literary scrutiny of the oratory prowess of Sékou Touré with a focus on the unique ways in which the political leader designed and delivered his public speeches in efforts to persuade the most skeptic audience. Barry highlights Touré’s manipulation of concepts drawn from Marxism, Islam, Pan-Africanism, and Guinean popular culture through his captivating oratory performance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Camara, Laye. The Dark Child. Translated by James Kirkup and Ernest Jones. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Originally in French. This book makes the author’s 1954 autobiography titled L’Enfant noir accessible to the English-speaking readership. The seminal work presents crucial aspects of West African culture through the personal experience of a young Mandenka boy and his eventful and inspiring growth to manhood in his native Guinea, supplemented by an advanced Western education in France.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Diallo, Boubacar. Réalités et roman guinéen de 1953 à 2003. 4 vols. Paris: Harmattan, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          This four-volume novel describes the relationship between Guinean writers and their political and sociocultural environment. Volumes 1 and 2 present rural Guinea as this pristine environment where creative writers have often found their most authentic inspiration. Volume 3 depicts urban Guinea as a morally polluted environment, and Volume 4 discusses the perspectives of Guinean writers on the problematic transformation of their society.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Monénembo, Tierno [ Thierno Saïdou Diallo]. The King of Kahel. Translated by Nicholas Elliott. Las Vegas, NV: AmazonCrossing, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Originally in French and cited under the pen name used by Tierno Saïdou Diallo. Loosely based on the adventures of 19th-century French explorer Olivier de Sanderval, the novel is a story of colonialism through a French child’s fantasy of becoming the king of a faraway land. The story, indeed, mirrors the life of Sanderval, whose dream to rule the Futa Jallon was foiled when French colonial forces “pacified” the region.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Sassine, Williams. Le Zéhéros n’est pas n’importe qui. Paris. Présence Africaine, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              In this introspective novel, the prolific writer and longtime Guinean exile takes advantage of the fall of Sékou Touré’s regime and attempts to reconnect with his native Guinea. Just like the author, the novel’s main character, Camara, rises from the “zero” he had been convinced to be by that regime to a real “hero,” hence the title neologism “Zéhéros.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Sow, Alfâ Ibrâhîm. Chroniques et récits du Foûta Djalon. Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1968.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                The volume contains a literary representation of miscellaneous stories from the Fulani community of Futa Jallon, chronicling the accepted historiography and mythologies of that community. It reflects the Fulani’s collective self-perception as a stratified community of Muslim pastoralists and builders of one of the several 18th–19th-century West African theocracies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oral Literature

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Guinea’s cultures offer a rich body of oral traditions that researchers and novelists have compiled in a variety of formats and literary genres. Caldera and Conrad 2011 presents a rare collection of audio recordings by Guinean historian Djibril Tamsir Niane containing interviews, radio broadcasts, and much more. Holas 1975 presents a collection of folktales from one of Guinea’s ethnic minorities whose folklore otherwise gets little attention. Marité 1976 provides a selection of folk stories from different corners of the Mande culture that deal with numerous aspects of Mande culture and mythology. The books Salvaing, et al. 1985 and Touré 2005 contain annotated collections of folk stories from the Fulani of Futa Jallon and from the Soso, Baga, and Nalu of coastal Guinea, respectively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Caldera, Mary, and David Conrad, comps. Djibril Tamsir Niane Audiotapes Documenting Guinean Oral Traditions. Manuscripts and Archives MS 1935. Reel-to-reel. Yale University Library, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A collection of audiotapes containing interviews, oral histories, radio broadcasts, and epic tradition and musical performances of several ethnic groups, particularly the Baga and Maninka, recorded by historian Djibril Tamsir Niane from 1969 to 1971.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Holas, Bohumil. Contes kono: Traditions populaires de la forêt guinéenne. Paris: G. -P. Maisonneuve et Larose, 1975.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A collection of folk stories from one of the smaller ethnic communities of Forest Guinea with interpretations emphasizing the Kono people’s views on the physical and metaphysical relations of humans and their natural environment as well as the spiritual value of normative social hierarchy and expectations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Marité, Ibrahima Khalil. La saga des séréwas: Les dits de nul et de tous; Recueil de récits folkloriques. Conakry, Guinea: Permanence Nationale du Parti-Etat de Guinée, 1976.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An anthology of folktales, the book contains stories epitomizing the creative collective imagination of the Mande people, going as far back in the historical and mythical past as folklore allows. The subtitle of the book, which can be translated as “The sayings of no one and every one,” denotes the fact that the featured stories reflect the collective conscience of an entire community and can be attributed to no one source.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Salvaing, Bernard, Amadou Korka Bah, and Boubakar Bah. Contes et récits peuls du Fouta Djalon. Paris: Conseil International de la Langue Française, 1985.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In this stimulating anthology of folk stories from the Futa Jallon, the reader is faced with the revolving ambivalence with which members of the Fulani community of Guinea tend to philosophically posit their collective identity between “Africanity” and Islamic heritage.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Touré, Jean-Marie. Le lion et l’homme, et autres contes de Guinée. Paris: Harmattan, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The novel is a collection of folk stories narrating various Guinean ethnocultural communities’ representations of the primordial relations between humans and the animal kingdom. The collection celebrates the diversity of Guinean cultures while, by the same token, promoting cultural unity as a fundamental prerequisite to successful nation building.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Music and Performance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Despite Guinea’s richness in music and performance, scholarship on these sectors has yet to do them justice. Apart from official state promotional publications and scholarly works encompassing the whole of parts of West Africa in which Guinea may or may not constitute a focal point, one is most likely to find writings on the subject matter in specialized magazines or blogs hardly fit for a bibliography such as this. The book Charry 2000 is precisely one of those West Africa–centered studies in which Guinea’s traditional and modern music occupies a meaningful place, chiefly because of the centrality of Mande music and performance in the country’s artistic landscape. Arguably, the greatest merit of the book is its successful deterritorializing of Mande musical traditions, which allows the reader to see the bigger historical and cultural context of Mande creativity and adaptability. The Democratic Party of Guinea’s publication of the Commission Culturelle du Comité Central 1983 belongs in the category of official promotional literature aimed at giving music and performance a political undertone and touting it as a nationalistic form of expression. As a cultural veteran and a sociologist, respectively, Justin Morel Jr. and Souleymane Kéita (in Morel and Kéita 2011) provide a unique approach to the field by focusing on one of the most iconic groups to have represented Guinea’s musical values.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Charry, Eric. Mande Music: Traditional and Modern Music of the Maninka and Mandinka of Western Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Charry offers a comprehensive source on one of Africa’s richest music cultures. Building on early Arabic travel accounts, oral histories, archival research, and his own extensive studies in Mali, Guinea, Senegal, and the Gambia, Charry explores the evolution of each of the principal musical genres, the types of instruments used, the major artists, and how each genre relates to the others.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Commission Culturelle du Comité Central. Guinée—Festival. Conakry, Guinea: Imprimerie Nationale “Patrice Lumumba,” 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              With commentaries and visual illustrations by playwright Wolibo Doukouré (aka Grand-père), the book showcases Guinea’s political evolution since independence, her immense natural resources and economic potential, and the fascinating artistic prowess of her youth.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Morel, Justin, Jr., and Souleymane Kéita. Bembeya Jazz National: Cinquante ans après, la légende continue . . . Paris: Harmattan, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The book chronicles the fifty-year history of one of Guinea’s most celebrated musical bands, from its inception in the southeastern locality of Beyla in 1961 to the tragic death of its lead singer Aboubacar Demba Camara in 1973, and to the post-Demba trials and tribulations of this monument of Guinean music.

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