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African Studies Lecture: Elizabeth (Betsy) Schmidt

October 20, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Elizabeth (Betsy) Schmidt
Photo Credit: Chris Singlemann

“The 2013 Intervention in Mali: A 21st Century Iteration of France’s ‘Back Yard'”

Elizabeth (Betsy) Schmidt
Professor Emeritus of History
Loyola University Maryland

Wednesday, October 20, 2021
12:00-1:00 PM

In the aftermath of World War II, African populations in France’s overseas territories mobilized for political reforms, and eventually, independence. Despite the formality of state sovereignty, France continued to treat Africa as its privileged domain, signing military cooperation agreements with its former colonies and engaging in more than three dozen military interventions in sixteen African countries during the first three decades of independence. This presentation focuses on a recent iteration of this pattern—France’s 2013 intervention in Mali to quell a secessionist movement and infiltration by violent extremists, which undermined an African-led initiative, intensified a jihadi insurgency, and contributed to widespread destabilization in the region.


Elizabeth Schmidt is professor emeritus of history at Loyola University Maryland. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A scholar-activist, she has written about US involvement in apartheid South Africa, women under colonialism in Zimbabwe, the nationalist movement in Guinea, and foreign intervention in Africa from the Cold War to the war on terror. Her exposé of the role of US businesses in supporting apartheid was banned by the South African government. More recently, she and her students have worked with African refugee communities in Baltimore, focusing on youth and adult education programs. Schmidt also tutors incarcerated students through the Goucher Prison Education Partnership. Her books include: Foreign Intervention in Africa after the Cold War: Sovereignty, Responsibility, and the War on Terror (2018); Foreign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror (2013); Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946-1958 (2007); Mobilizing the Masses: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939-1958 (2005); Peasants, Traders, and Wives: Shona Women in the History of Zimbabwe, 1870-1939 (1992); and Decoding Corporate Camouflage: U.S. Business Support for Apartheid (1980).

Sponsored by the African Studies Program



October 20, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Madison, WI United States