Comparativ 28 (2018), 6

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Comparativ 28 (2018), 6
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Comparativ. Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und Vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung
Comparativ Universität Leipzig Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics IPF 348001 Ritterstrasse 24 04109 Leipzig GERMANY e-mail:
Matthias Middell

Africa’s Transregional Conflicts
Herausgegeben von Ulf Engel


Table of Contents


Ulf Engel: Editorial, pp. 7-25
Transregional conflicts – this collection of articles introduces this new analytical category for the study of a specfic group of violent conflicts in Africa while providing perspectives on possible resolutions. Ontologically, this proposed category is distinct from broader, more fuzzy terms such as “international”, “transnational”, or “global”. And epistemologically it implies a different understanding of the way in which transregional conflicts such as, for instance, the ones around
the Lake Chad Basin, the Great Lakes region, or the Horn of Africa can be studied. Accordingly, this category of transregional conflicts leaves the silos of the traditional organization of knowledge, with its division between different areas as studied through area studies (as opposed to the so-called systematic disciplines), and rather engages in cross- and transdisciplinary exercises to unpack the way how “regions” are socially constructed.

Nickson Bondo Museka: Transregional Conflict in the Great Lakes Region, pp. 26-48
This contribution explained the main root causes of the Great Lakes conflict and the role played by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in addressing its regional dimensions. Ethnic division was discussed as the main root of conflicts in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and to a less extent in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The failure of state institutions to address ethnicity and its triggering factors caused internal civil wars, massacres and genocide which led to a huge movement of refugees from one Great Lakes country to other neighbouring and countries. This explains the outbreak of the Great Lakes war between the DRC and Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi from August 1998 to 2003 and the ongoing instability in the region. Against this background, the ICGLR was established in December 2006 in a bid to address the root causes of the conflicts and its regional dimensions. Despite the signing of the Pact for Security, Stability and Development by Great Lakes countries, the ICGLR is still facing serious challenges which undermine its capacity to promote ´ sustainable peace and security in the region.

Katharina P. W. Döring: Regional and Transregional Currents in the Shallows of Lake Chad, pp. 49-67
This article addresses the tension between the conception of a conflict and the ensuing response as regional or as transregional. The empirical focus is the military response within the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) – comprised of Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria – against Boko Haram. This response is situated in a regional context, as its coordinating forum is the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), but also in a transregional one, through the cooperation between two Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). This article cautions that neither of these two framings is a given. Rather, particular actors produce and reproduce the regional or respectively transregional character of a security concern as well as its response.

Jens Herpolsheimer: Transregional Conflicts and the Re-spatialization of Regions “at Sea”: The Yaoundé Process in the Gulf of Guinea, pp. 68-89
Since the 2000s, actors in but also beyond West and Central Africa have increasingly identied the Gulf of Guinea as a space of strategic importance, beset by “maritime insecurity” reaching across established regional boundaries. Consequently, especially ECOWAS, ECCAS, and the Gulf of Guinea Commission, their member states, and “international partners” have sought new ways of transregional cooperation, leading to the creation of the Yaoundé Process in June 2013. Responding to a lack of attention to maritime issues / sea space in security studies and regionalism literature, this article analyzes the Yaoundé Process. Applying a spatial perspective, the articletraces its origins / emergence, main actors and entanglement in trans-more global dynamics. It argues that this process has intimately linked to the formatting and ordering of trans- and interregional space(s) both “at sea” and “on land”.

Dawit Yohannes Wondemagegnehu, Fana Gebresenbet Erda: Transregional Conflict Crossing the Red Sea: The Horn of Africa, pp. 90-108
This contribution argues security interdependence and patterns of amity / enmity between Horn and Gulf actors help in explaining some of the peculiarly complex conflicts in the Horn of Africa. Gulf influence on conflict dynamics in the Horn is resurging, and is becoming more consequential. The influence is not merely unidirectional. Actors in the Horn are increasingly featuring in the Gulf’s own rivalry. Some Gulf countries, primarily Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, aim to curb the influence of Iran, Turkey and Qatar in the region. This is illustrated using three case studies: the Red Sea’s maritime security; Gulf intervention in conflict dynamics in Somalia, and the Gulf ‘factor’ in the recent Ethio-Eritrea rapprochement. These cases, on top of the Gulf’s increasing military, diplomatic and economic interventions in the Horn, indicate that the two regions are being knit tightly closer. What we have thus is an emergent security interdependence marked by an increasingly solidifying pattern of amity / enmity. As this straddles two regions, it calls for a regulatory scheme through a cooperative platform that brings together states and organizations representing the emerging region.

Roland Wenzlhuemer: Globalgeschichte schreiben. Eine Einführung in sechs Episoden, Konstanz: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft mbH 2017, 302 S.
by Matthias Middell, pp. 109-112

Jürgen Osterhammel: Unfabling the East. The Enlightenment’s Encounter with Asia, Princeton / Oxford: Princeton University Press 2018, 696 p.
by Sven Trakulhun, pp. 112-117

Maggie Clinton: Revolutionary Nativism. Fascism and Culture in China, 1925–1937, Durham: Duke University Press 2017, 268 p.
by Thorben Pelzer, pp. 117-119

Ralf Banken / Ben Wubs (eds.): The Rhine. A Transnational Economic History, Baden-Baden: Nomos 2017, 384 S.
by Christian Henrich-Franke, pp. 119-121

Hilda Sabato: Republics of the New World. The Revolutionary Political Experiment in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2018, 240 p.
by Federica Morelli, pp. 121-123

Steven Seegel: Map Men. Transnational Lives and Deaths of Geographers in the Making of East Central Europe, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 2018, 346 p.
by George W. White, pp. 123-126

Arnošt Štanzel: Wasserträume und Wasserräume im Staatssozialismus. Ein umwelthistorischer Vergleich anhand der tschechoslowakischen und rumänischen Wasserwirtschaft 1948–1989, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2017, 378 S.
by Luminita Gatejel, pp. 126-129

Sebastian Berg: Intellectual Radicalism After 1989. Crisis and Re-Orientation in the British and the American Left, Bielefeld: Transkript 2016, 344 S.
by A. Shahid Stover, pp. 129-131

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