One of my colleagues — an art teacher; you know, the adventurous type — heads off to Senegal this summer on a Fulbright-Hays program.
I’m sorta jealous, of course. I need time to push our history course to championship level, though — I didn’t apply for anything this summer.
If you’re teaching world history, or art, or government, or environmental science, or geography, this might be a great blog to track.
Senegal is a very interesting place. Note on the map how it completely surrounds its neighbor nation of The Gambia.
France held the nation as a colony once upon a time, from 1850 to independence of the Mali Federation in 1960 — one of the national languages is French, but regional languages are numerous, Wolof, Soninke, Seereer-Siin, Fula, Maninka, and Diola. The Mali Federation was short-lived, and Senegal broke off in August of 1960.
If you listen to NPR, you’ve probably heard their reporter signing off in that distinct way she does, “Tthis is Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, for NPR, in Dah-KAHHH!“ (Not to be confused with Dacca, Pakistan).
According to the CIA Factbook (online version):
The French colonies of Senegal and the French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted their independence as the Mali Federation in 1960. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982, but the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s, and several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict. Nevertheless, Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until current President Abdoulaye WADE was elected in 2000. He was reelected in February 2007, but has amended Senegal’s constitution over a dozen times to increase executive power and weaken the opposition, part of the President’s increasingly autocratic governing style. Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation.
The country is tropical, hot and humid. Geographically, it is low, rolling plains.
Dakar is about as far west as one can go on the African continent. (See the map inset — Senegal is in dark green).
Senegal has iron ores, and phosphorus (ancient bird droppings?). It’s not a rich nation, but it’s better off than many developing countries.
Adkins is in for a great adventure, no?