Escaping Slavery and Building Diasporic Communities in French Soudan and Senegal, ca. 1880–1940

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Abstract: West Africa experienced extensive warfare and enslavement in the second half of the nineteenth century. Populations were scattered along the main slave trade routes in Western Sudan. This article analyzes how formerly enslaved populations used migration and diasporic practices to rebuild autonomous communities and social networks, and to overcome legacies of slavery away from their region of origin. This entailed renegotiations of kinship, marriage and religious practices in the Kayes region (Mali) and the Siin (Senegal) where stigmatization and vulnerability were deeply rooted in the history of slavery.