The Path to Peace
The murderous conflicts that followed presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire in November 2010 led to an international debacle that ended some six months later. After the killing of 3,000 people  and the displacement of approximately one million from their homes  (Figure 1), Alassane Ouattara (Figure 2) assumed the presidency based on election results certified by the United Nations against the protests and violent resistance of incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo (Figure 3). Now, over a year later, with news of the discovery of an alleged attempted coup d’état , further political violence in western Côte d’Ivoire , and belligerent rhetoric by “the political class and media” , Côte d’Ivoire faces a challenging climate for what should be a period of national reconstruction and reconciliation , .
If the search for lasting peace is to be more than mere “bluff” —more than the kind of illusory promise of peace to which Ivoirians have become inured since the coup d’état of 1999—then the parties to the reconciliation process as well as its critics must take stock of the circumstances that led to the conflict and of the dynamics that will help or hinder its resolution. The authors of this collection do just this with regard to a range of aesthetic, economic, gendered, political, religious, and social concerns. The result is a series of meditations on the challenges that Côte d’Ivoire must overcome and the resources and strategies it must exploit if it is to achieve an unprecedented era of peace, justice, and stability.
The authors and guest editor thank Charles Piot for inviting us to submit our contributions to the Hot Spots forum and Anne Allison and Alison Kenner for proofreading and posting them with such care. We also thank the anonymous proofreaders who helped edit our work. We express our gratitude to Cati Coe as well who first suggested the idea of this forum on Côte d’Ivoire to Charles Piot. The guest editor would like to thank the authors for their gracious collaboration and patience and the Hot Spots editors for their indulgence and support. He acknowledges the title of Wende Marshall’s book, Potent Mana: Lessons in Power and Healing (SUNY Press, 2011), as the inspiration for the subtitle, "Potent Aesthetics," in this feature's table of contents below. We dedicate this collection to all those who seek justice or comfort for those killed, raped, tortured, injured, displaced, impoverished, or abandoned as a result of Côte d’Ivoire’s ongoing crisis. 25 June 2012.
I. INTRODUCTION TO THE FORUM
"A History of Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire"
Joseph Hellweg, Department of Religion, Florida State University
II. A JUST AGENDA: POST-CONFLICT LEGALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
"The Fundamental Need for Impartial Justice"
Matt Wells, Africa Division, Human Rights Watch
"Uncoupling Post-War Côte d’Ivoire and Rwanda"
Scott Straus, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
III. THE WAGES OF REBELLION, EXILE, AND POVERTY
"The Costs of the Road in a Divided Côte d’Ivoire"
Thomas J. Bassett, Department of Geography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"'Diaspo' Youth Culture and the Ivoirian Crisis"
Jesper Bjarnesen, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Uppsala University
"'We Talk to Each Other': Korhogo after the End of the Rebellion"
Till Förster, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel
"Up North: Uncertainty, Poverty, and the Issue of Youth"
Marie Nathalie LeBlanc, Department of Sociology, Université du Québec à Montréal
"The Three Binds of the Ivoirian Cocoa Farmer"
Tom Neuhaus, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, California State Polytechnic University
IV. POTENT AESTHETICS: GENDER, RELIGION, AND THE RHETORIC OF EXCLUSION
"Styling the Donzos: Warriors, Women, and Wild Men in a City Parade"
Karel Arnaut, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
"Female Genital Power in Ritual and Politics: Violation and Deployment in Southern Côte d’Ivoire"
Laura S. Grillo, Core Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute
"The Roots of Islamophobia in Côte d’Ivoire"
Robert Launay, Professor of Anthropology, Northwestern University
"An Ivoirian Apocalypse: Spiritual Violence in the Post-Electoral Crisis"
Marie Miran-Guyon, Centre d’études africaines, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales
"Women’s Songs in Post-crisis Côte d’Ivoire: 'Ask Gbagbo . . .'"
Carol Spindel, Department of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
V. BEYOND THE POLITICS OF ILLUSION
"The President and His Double: An Ivoirian Politics of the Counterfeit"
Sasha Newell, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of the Holy Cross
"Toward an Anthropology of Legitimacy"
Mike McGovern, Department of Anthropology, Yale University
"The Ivoirian Presidential Debate of November 2010: A Key Symbolic Moment in Producing, Or Undermining, Democracy in Côte d’Ivoire"
Bertin K. Kouadio, Department of International Studies, Wilson College
"In Search of Lost Legality: Justice, Constitutionality, and the Rome Statute in Côte d'Ivoire"
Joseph Hellweg, Department of Religion, Florida State University
 Wells, Matt and Corinne Dufka. 2011. They Killed Them Like It Was Nothing": The Need for Justice for Côte d’Ivoire’s Post-Election Crimes. New York: Human Rights Watch (accessed May 28, 2012).
 Al Jazeera. 2011. UN: One Million Flee Cote d’Ivoire Violence. Al Jazeera, March 25 (accessed June 15, 2012).
 Bavier, Joe. 2012. Ivory Coast Says It Has Uncovered Coup Plot. Reuters, June 12 (accessed June 15, 2012).
 Al Jazeera. 2012. Western Ivory Coast Sees Rise in Unrest. Al Jazeera, June 23 (accessed June 25).
 Agence France Presse. 2012. L’UE s’inquiète à son tour des discours violents en vogue en Côte d’Ivoire. Abidjan.net, June 25 (accessed June 25, 2012).
 France 24. 2011. Ivory Coast Special: Reconciliation and Reconstruction (Video). France 24, June 3 (accessed June 15, 2012).
 Human Rights Watch. 2012. World Report 2012: Côte d’Ivoire. Human Rights Watch(accessed June 25, 2012).
 Newell, Sasha. 2012. The Moderntiy Bluff: Crime, Consumption, and Citizenship in Côte d’Ivoire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Posts in This Series
Decades ago, Côte d’Ivoire was known as a “beacon of stability” in West Africa and an “economic powerhouse” . Its first president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, wa... More
Matt Wells, Africa Division, Human Rights Watch President Alassane Ouattara’s government in Côte d’Ivoire has taken a series of measures to bolster the economy ... More
Scott Straus, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison This past November, former Ivoirian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro traveled acr... More
Thomas J. Bassett, Department of Geography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign... More
Jesper Bjarnesen, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Uppsala University... More
Till Förster, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel... More
Marie Nathalie LeBlanc, Department of Sociology, Université du Québec à MontréalIn the media and in academic publications, the respectively southern and western... More
Tom Neuhaus, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, California State Polytechnic University Ivoirian cocoa farmers have contributed disproportionately to the... More
In the town of Bondoukou, in eastern Côte d’Ivoire, the word donzo or dozo refers to the inhabitants of a Jula clan ward who generally carry the Ouattara patron... More
Laura S. Grillo, Core Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute Since Côte d’Ivoire’s attempted coup d’état in 2002, supporters of both former president Laurent Gbag... More
Robert Launay, Professor of Anthropology, Northwestern University The civil war in Côte d’Ivoire was definitely not a war of religion, pitting the Muslim north ... More
Marie Miran-Guyon, Centre d’Etudes Africaines, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales... More
Carol Spindel, Department of English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Carol Spindel's Women’s Songs in Post-crisis Côte d’Ivoire: “Ask Gbagbo…” comes... More
Sasha Newell, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of the Holy Cross From the 28th of November until the 11th of April 2010, Côte d’Ivoire was in t... More
Mike McGovern, Department of Anthropology, Yale University As I sat down to write this short piece on Laurent Gbagbo's mundane rendition to the International Cr... More
The Ivoirian Presidential Debate of November 2010: A Key Symbolic Moment in Producing, Or Undermining, Democracy in Côte d’IvoireBertin Kouadio
Bertin K. Kouadio, Department of International Studies, Wilson College As a political scientist, I see things somewhat differently from the way cultural anthrop... More
Joseph Hellweg, Department of Religion, Florida State University... More