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Medina Gounass: Constructing Extra-National Space in a West African Borderland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 April 2021

Abstract

The historical autonomy of the religious community of Medina Gounass in Senegal represents an alternative geographic territory to that of colonial and postcolonial states. The borderland location of Medina Gounass allowed the town to detach itself from colonial and independent Senegal, creating parallel governmental structures and imposing a particular interpretation of Islamic law. While in certain facets this autonomy was limited, the community was able to distance itself through immigration, cross-border religious ties, and smuggling. Glovsky’s analysis of the history of Medina Gounass offers a case study for the multiplicity of geographical and territorial entities in colonial and postcolonial Africa.

Résumé

Résumé

L’autonomie historique de la communauté religieuse de Médina Gounass au Sénégal représente un territoire géographique alternatif à celui des États coloniaux et postcoloniaux. La position frontalière de Médina Gounass a permis à la ville de se détacher du Sénégal colonial et indépendant, créant des structures gouvernementales parallèles et imposant une interprétation particulière de la loi islamique. Bien que cette autonomie ait été limitée à certains égards, la communauté a pu se distancer grâce à l’immigration, aux liens religieux transfrontaliers et à la contrebande. L’analyse de Glovsky sur l’histoire de Médina Gounass présente une étude de cas sur la multiplicité des entités géographiques et territoriales en Afrique coloniale et postcoloniale.

Resumo

Resumo

A histórica autonomia da comunidade religiosa de Medina Gounass, no Senegal, representa um território geográfico alternativo ao dos estados coloniais e pós-coloniais. A localização fronteiriça de Medina Gounass permitiu que a vila se autonomizasse do Senegal colonial e independente, criando estruturas governamentais paralelas e impondo uma interpretação própria da lei islâmica. Ainda que sob alguns aspetos esta autonomia tenha sido limitada, a comunidade conseguiu distanciar-se através de imigração, dos laços religiosos transfronteiriços e do contrabando. A análise desenvolvida por Glovsky acerca da história de Medina Gounass proporciona um estudo de caso da multiplicidade de entidades geográficas e territoriais na África colonial e pós-colonial.

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© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the African Studies Association

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