Liberia: Postwar, Not Yet Postcolonial
Jamila Ariyomi Crowther
Grant Aubrey Farred
Thesis DT 3.5 2009 C768
vii, 85 l.: ill.; 29 cm.
"Liberia: Postwar, Not Yet Postcolonial" is a project discussing the ways in which, two Liberian presidential candidates (re)construct and perform their sociopolitical identities in order to build constituency in the postwar context. I am mainly concerned here with the ways in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and George Weah, locate themselves in relationship to Liberia's founding dilemma: the tension between the Americo-Liberian minority (Liberian-born descendents of the country's African American "founding fathers"), and the indigenous Liberian majority. This project primarily addresses the 2005 Liberian presidential election as a discrete moment in Liberian history. It also attempts to explain and situate the surprising election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia's 24th and first female president, into a national cultural context that advantages repatriated Liberian intellectuals and politicians like Johnson Sirleaf, while disadvantaging and marginalizing indigenous knowledge and talent. By investigating the concept of repatriation, and the political agendas of Johnson Sirleaf and Weah, this project explicates the ways in which gender and class privilege impact political participation, democratic institutions and political organizations in ways that allow historical inequalities to reproduce. The exclusionary nature of politics in Liberia demand that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as the country's new president, encourage a sustained moment of decolonization in order to address major concerns related to national identity, reconciliation, reconstruction and postwar recovery. This project challenges the meaning of Johnson Sirleafs presidency as a landmark election. It also encourages us to think critically about the ways in which repatriation contributes to class, gender and educational inequality.