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‘BETWEEN EDUCATION AND CATASTROPHE’: CÔTE D'IVOIRE'S PROGRAMME D'ÉDUCATION TÉLÉVISUELLE AND THE URGENCY OF DEVELOPMENT (1968–1983)

  • ELISA PROSPERETTI (a1)

Abstract

Côte d'Ivoire's Programme d'Éducation Télévisuelle (PETV) was one of postcolonial Africa's most innovative educational reforms. And yet, PETV was implemented by a country exemplary for its educational conservatism. This apparent paradox is explained by the Ivorian state's developmentalist vision had crowned education its ‘priority of priorities‘. By charting the adoption and termination of PETV, this article argues for the centrality of formal schooling to the history of development.

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I would like to thank the Journal's referees and the participants of Princeton University's African History Workshop for their comments on earlier drafts. Thanks are also due to Richard Kouakou and Kramoko Vami for their kindness in Bondoukou. Above all, I am grateful for the friendship of Alexis Motto, Henri Yapi, and Fabio Viti, without whom this article would never have been written. Author's email: elisap@princeton.edu.

These words, which I first encountered as a citation of the Ivoirian in charge of the PETV production studio, allude to H.G. Wells's 1920 bestseller, The Outline of History, in which he famously concludes that human history is becoming ‘more and more a race between education and catastrophe.’ H.G. Wells, The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind (3rd edn, New York, 1921), 1100.

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2 Dédy, F. S., ‘L’École piégée par la technologie: l'expérience télévisuelle de la Côte d'Ivoire’, Kasa Bya Kasa, 8:8 (1987), 101.

3 Benveniste, A., ‘Côte d'Ivoire: Télévision Extra-Scolaire pour l’Éducation des Adultes Ruraux, Bilan Critique’, Revue Tiers Monde, 20:79 (1979), 465478; Dédy, ‘L’École,’; Koné, H. and Jenkins, J., ‘The Programme for Educational Television in the Ivory Coast’, Educational Media International, 27:2 (1990), 8693; Bamba, A., African Miracle, African Mirage: Transnational Politics and the Paradox of Modernization in Ivory Coast (Athens, OH, 2016), 175–7.

4 In this article, the term ‘development’ is used the way that Ivorian politicians employed it during the 1970s, which had changed since independence in 1960. One of the most prominent education officials in the country explained the term's evolution: ‘In an original conception, ‘development’ considered only the evaluation of the income of the inhabitants of a country. Little by little another idea took its place, [which] is now accepted, that man is not only the means of this development, but also and above all its end.’ Emphasis added. ‘24ème Congrès du SNEPCI: L'enseignement face au développement’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 8 Jul. 1971.

5 The phrase was a well-known ‘Houphouëtism’, or an expression frequently employed by President Felix Houphouët-Boigny, who governed throughout this period; see, for example, Houphouët-Boigny, F., ‘Message de nouvel an à la nation le 31 décembre 1969’, Anthologie des Discours, 1946–1978, Volume I (Abidjan, 1978), 281–92.

6 Straker, J., ‘The State of the Subject: A Guinean Educator's Odyssey in the Postcolonial Forest, 1960–2001’, The Journal of African History, 49:1 (2008), 94.

7 Summers, C., Colonial Lessons: Africans’ Education in Southern Rhodesia, 1918–1940 (Portsmouth, NH, 2002); Barthélémy, P., Africaines et Diplômées à L’Époque Coloniale, 1918–1957 (Rennes, 2010); Gamble, H., Contesting West Africa: Battles Over Schools and the Colonial Order, 1900–1950 (Lincoln, NB, 2017). Important works in anthropology and sociology that have analyzed postcolonial education in Africa include: Foster, P., Education and Social Change in Ghana (London, 1965); Buchert, L., Education in the Development of Tanzania, 1919–1990 (Athens, OH, 1994); Proteau, L., Passions scolaires en Côte d'Ivoire: École, état et société (Paris, 2002); Bianchini, P., École et politique en Afrique noire: Sociologie des crises et des réformes du système d'enseignement au Sénégal et au Burkina Faso (1960-2000) (Paris, 2004); Coe, C., Dilemmas of Culture in African Schools: Youth, Nationalism, and the Transformation of Knowledge (Chicago, 2005).

8 Allman, J., ‘Phantoms of the Archive: Kwame Nkrumah, a Nazi Pilot Named Hanna, and the Contingencies of Postcolonial History-Writing’, The American Historical Review, 118:1 (2013), 107–8; ‘Writing the History of Africa after 1960’, Special issue, History in Africa, 42 (2015).

9 For example, see McCracken, J., Politics and Christianity in Malawi, 1875–1940: The Impact of the Livingstonia Mission in the Northern Province (Cambridge, 1977); Manuh, Takyiwaa, ‘Building Institutions for the New Africa: The Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana’, in Bloom, P., Manuh, T. and Miescher, S. (eds.), Modernization as Spectacle in Africa (Bloomington, 2014), 268–84; Magaziner, D., The Art of Life in South Africa (Athens, OH, 2016).

10 Hanson, J., Imagination and Hallucination in African Education (East Lansing, MI, 1965); Cowan, L.G., O'Connell, J. and Scanlon, D. (eds.), Education and Nation-Building in Africa (New York, 1965).

11 Qtd. in Gamble, Contesting, 6.

12 Coleman, J. S., ‘Introduction: Education and Political Development’, in Coleman, J.S. (ed.), Education and Political Development (Princeton, 1965), 4.

13 Buchert, Education; Bianchini, École; J. Straker, ‘State of the Subject’; Zimmerman, J., ‘“Money, Materials, and Manpower”: Ghanaian In-Service Teacher Education and the Political Economy of Failure, 1961–1971’, History of Education Quarterly, 51:1 (2011), 127; Allman, J., ‘Kwame Nkrumah, African Studies, and the Politics of Knowledge Production in the Black Star of Africa’, International Journal of African Historical Studies, 46:2 (2013), 181203; Blum, F., Guidi, P. and Rillon, O. (eds.), Étudiants Africains en mouvement: Contribution à une histoire des années 1968 (Paris, 2016).

14 Such ‘new’ histories of development have concentrated their attention on large-scale infrastructure and agricultural programs, see Isaacman, A. and Isaacman, B., Dams, Displacement, and the Delusion of Development: Cahora Bassa and Its Legacies in Mozambique, 1965–2007 (Athens, OH, 2013); P. Bloom et al. (eds.), Modernization; Bamba, African.

15 Gilman, N., Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (Baltimore, 2003); Staples, A., The Birth of Development: How the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Health Organization Changed the World, 1945–1965 (Kent, OH, 2006); Dimier, V., The Invention of a European Development Aid Bureaucracy: Recycling Empire (Basingstoke, 2014).

16 UNESCO, Conference of African States on the Development of Education in Africa: Final Report, 1961, 9–13.

17 Nieuwenhuis, F.J., The Development of Education Systems in Postcolonial Africa (Pretoria, 1996), 19. See also, The World Bank, Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Agenda for Action (Washington, D.C., 1981), 184.

18 ‘Télévision scolaire: des réponses rassurantes’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 15 Sept. 1971; ‘Télévision scolaire: plus d'inquiétude chez nos maîtres…’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 18 Sept. 1971.

19 See Dédy, “L'Ecole.”

20 Pauvert, J.-C. and Egly, M., Le ‘Complexe’ de Bouaké 1967–1981 (Paris, 2001).

21 Désalmand, P., ‘Une aventure ambiguë: le programme d'éducation télévisuelle (1971–1982)’, Politique Africaine, 24 (1986), 91103.

22 ‘Lamine Diabaté, ancien directeur de la BCEAO, ancien ministre d’État, ministre de l’Économie et un des douze sages de la redaction de la Constitution. Interview réalisée par Maurice Bandama and Ousmane Dembélé’, in I. Diabaté, O. Dembélé and F. Akindès (eds.), Intellectuels Ivoiriens face à la crise (Paris, 2005), 51.

23 F. Houphouët-Boigny, ‘Discours prononcé à Adzope le 24 mai 1959’, Anthologie, Volume II, 986.

24 Manière, L., ‘La politique francaise pour l'adaptation de l'enseignement en Afrique après les indépendances (1958–1964)’, Histoire de l’éducation, 128 (2010), 163–90.

25 Autra, R., ‘Historique de l'enseignement en A.O.F.’, Présence Africaine, 6 (1956), 6886.

26 F. Houphouët-Boigny, ‘Discours de politique générale devant l'assemblée législative le 2 Mai 1960’, Anthologie, Volume I, 326.

27 UNESCO, ‘Mission du groupe de planification de la Côte d'Ivoire’, 1963, 31.

28 Désalmand, P., Histoire de l’éducation en Côte d'Ivoire: de la conférence de Brazzaville à 1984, Volume II (Abidjan, 2004), 341.

29 Pape, M. Le and Vidal, C., ‘L’école à tout prix [Stratégies éducatives dans la petite bourgeoisie d'Abidjan]’, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 70 (1987), 64–5.

30 Cerych, L., L'Aide Extérieure et la Planification de l’Éducation en Côte-d'Ivoire (Paris, 1967), 22–3.

31 Clignet, R. and Foster, P., ‘La prééminence de l'enseignement classique en Côte-d'Ivoire: Un exemple d'assimilation’, Revue française de sociologie, 7:1 (1966), 34.

32 Dédy, ‘L’École’, 115–6.

33 Interview with Mahi Etienne Abale, Bondoukou, 8 March 2016 and Luc Djah, Aboisso, 3 March 2016.

34 ‘Dedy Seri, sociologue au département d'ethno-sociologie de l'université de Cocody, conseiller à la primature. Interview réalisée par Ousmane Dembélé’, in Intellectuels, 163.

35 Clignet, R. and Foster, P., The Fortunate Few: A Study of Secondary Schools and Students in the Ivory Coast (Evanston, IL, 1966), 199.

36 F. Houphouët-Boigny, ‘Discours prononcé à l'Occasion de L'Ouverture de la Conférence des Ministres de l’Éducation Nationale des Pays Francophones d'Afrique et de Madagascar le 26 janvier 1967’, Anthologie, Volume II, 795. Emphasis added.

37 Grant, S., ‘Educational TV comes to the Ivory Coast’, Africa Report, 16:2 (1971), 31.

38 Charles Nokan, sociologue, Interviewé par Ousmane Dembélé, in I. Diabaté et al. (eds.), Intellectuels, 184; Mel, F. Grah, Félix Houphouët-Boigny: L’épreuve du pouvoir, Volume II (Abidjan, 2010), 230–3; Arnaut, K., ‘Les ‘Hommes de Terrain’: Georges Niangoran-Bouah et le Monde Universitaire de l'Autochtonie en Côte d'Ivoire’, Politique Africaine, 112:4 (2008), 1835.

39 On student repression by the state, see Baulin, J., La Politique Africaine d'Houphouët-Boigny (Paris, 1980) and Diarra, S., Les faux complots d'Houphouët-Boigny: Fracture dans le destin d'une nation (1959–1970) (Paris, 1997).

40 Grah Mel, Houphouët-Boigny, Volume II, 242.

41 Centre des Archives Diplomatiques de la Courneuve, Paris, Direction des Affaires Africaines et Malgaches, Côte d'Ivoire, Box 21, Jacques Raphaël-Leygues telegram to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 May 1968.

42 ‘Baccalauréat: tous les candidats malheureux représenteront à la 2ème session décident le gouvernement et le rector’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 19 Jun. 1968.

43 ‘M. Adiko Niamkey à L'Ouverture du XXIIe Congrès du SNEPCI: “‘Nous devons donner un enseignement efficace et utile répondant aux réalités Ivoiriennes”, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 12 Jul. 1968.

44 Coombs, P., The World Educational Crisis: A Systems Analysis (London, 1968).

45 For PETV's predecessors, see Grisay, A., La télévision éducative dans le tiers-monde: les expériences qui ont inspiré le PETV Ivoirien (Liège, 1977).

46 H. Dieuzaide, ‘Le progrès technologique ne pourra triompher réellement un jour que dans le refus d'imitation et par le risque créateur’, Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris), May 1970.

47 Najman, D., L'éducation en Afrique, que faire? (Aubenas, France 1972), 150.

48 Muncie, P., Torches in the Night: Educational Experiences in Tanzania and the Ivory Coast (Washington D.C., 1973).

49 Shah, H., The Production of Modernization: Daniel Lerner, Mass Media, and the Passing of Traditional Society (Philadelphia, 2011), 4.

50 Schramm, W., Mass Media and National Development: The Role of Information in the Developing Countries (Palo Alto, 1964).

51 Rockefeller Archive Center, Tarrytown, NY, Reports 010263, Box 416, Frank Bowles, ‘Travel Diary: Ethiopia and Abid’ [Abidjan], 20 Apr. 1968, 39.

52 R. S. McNamara, ‘Address to the Board of Governors’, World Bank (https://openknowledge.worldbank.org), 1968, 9.

53 Princeton University Industrial Relations Library, Princeton, NJ, IR10343, ‘Report to the DAC on the conclusions and recommendations of the informal meeting of experts on aid to education in Africa held on the 29th and 30th May, 1969’, 7.

54 Dieuzaide estimated that the program would increase the national budget by 7 to 8 per cent while increasing the annual returns to education spending by 40 to 50 per cent. Dieuzaide, ‘Le progrès’.

55 Egly, M., ‘L'utilisation de la télévision scolaire au Niger, en Côte d'Ivoire et au Sénégal’, International Review of Education, 32:3 (1986), 342.

56 Najman, L’éducation, 161.

57 G. Kamissoko, ‘Télévision educative: l’égalité de tous devant la qualité’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 2 Sept. 1971.

58 This paragraph draws on a series of articles published in Fraternité Matin in the run-up to PETV's debut. G. Kamissoko, ‘L’égalité de tous’; G. Kamissoko, ‘Des chances de promotion pour tous’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 7 Sept. 1971; ‘Télévision scolaire: le langage d'abord’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 9 Sept. 1971; ‘Télévision scolaire: une école normale ‘permanente’’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 10 Sept. 1971.

59 O. Coulibal, ‘L'enseignement télévisuel: un système démocratique’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 29 Mar. 1977.

60 G. Kamissoko, ‘Des chances de promotion’.

61 G. Kamissoko, ‘Télévision éducative: le maître de plus en plus important…’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 3 Sept. 1971.

62 Weiskel, T., ‘Independence and the Longue Durée: The Ivory Coast ‘Miracle’ Reconsidered’ in Gifford, P. and Louis, W. (eds.), Decolonization and African independence: the transfers of power 1960–1980 (New Haven, 1988), 372.

63 Military coups had beset Western Africa: Dahomey/Benin (1963, 1965, 1967), Nigeria (1966), Upper Volta/Burkina Faso (1966), Ghana (1966), Togo (1963, 1967) Sierra Leone (1967), and Mali (1968).

64 Koné and Jenkins, ‘Programme’, 88. Partners included UNICEF, the United Nations Development Fund, the World Bank, the European Development Fund, the Ford Foundation, France, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the United States, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland.

65 UNESCO Archives, Paris, INT/UNESCO/UNDP/IVC/71/153, ‘Programme d’éducation télévisuelle: rapport sur les résultats du projet — conclusions et recommandations’, October 1973, 12.

66 Grant, ‘Educational TV’, 33.

67 P. N'Da, ‘Un Professeur d'université: ‘Arrêttons le gaspillage’’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 30–31 Aug. 1980; Dédy, ‘L’École’, 123; Interview with Dembélè Daouda, Bondoukou, 8 March 2016.

68 During the mid-1960s, Thomson's products in particular were not competitive. A delayed transition to portable and color had likely resulted in a swollen stock of large-format monochrome sets, see I. Gaillard, La television: histoire d'un objet de consummation (1945–1985) (Paris, 2012), 188–215; personal communication with author, 5 Oct. 2016.

69 Bamba, African; McGovern, M., Making War in Côte d'Ivoire (Chicago, 2011).

70 F. Houphouët-Boigny, ‘Message à la nation à l'occasion du IXe anniversaire de l'indépendance le 7 août 1969’, Anthologie, Volume II, 962.

71 Grah Mel, Houphouët-Boigny, Volume II, 321.

72 ‘The widening gap’, Times Educational Supplement (London), 24 Oct. 1969.

73 And, with the exception of El Salvador, in the world, see A. Grisay, La télévision, 9. For striking parallels of the Ivorian and Salvadorian experiences with educational television, see H. Lindo-Fuentes, ‘Educational Television in El Salvador and Modernisation Theory,’ 41 (2009), 757–92.

74 Egly, ‘L'utilisation’, 341.

75 Koné and Jenkins, ‘Programme’, 86.

76 Dédy, ‘L’École’, 122. For broadcast hours, see Jacquinot, G., L’École devant les écrans (Paris, 1985), 64.

77 Figures vary, see Désalmand, ‘Aventure’, 92 and Egly, ‘L'utilisation’, 344.

78 For a thorough history of television in Côte d'Ivoire, see H. Koné, ‘La dynamique des médias dans les sociétés en mutation: Le cas de la Côte d'Ivoire’ (unpublished PhD thesis, Université Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, 1989), 150–269.

79 There is disagreement as to how well the sets worked. Désalmand reports that between 20 and 40 per cent of broadcasts were not received. Désalmand, Histoire, 337.

80 Fifty per cent of the funding came from the World Bank. The current editor-in-chief of Côte d'Ivoire's national publishing house maintains that, in the early 1990s, Bouaké was still West Africa's most technologically advanced printing center. Interview with Guy Lambin, Abidjan, 13 April 2016. It has since become the site of Côte d’Ivoire’s second university, the Université Alassane Ouattara de Bouaké – Campus 1.

81 Richard Kouakou, a former school teacher, saved every issue of L’École Permanente from 1975 to 1978 and graciously shared them with me.

82 Jacquinot, L’École, 64.

83 Désalmand, Histoire, 322.

84 Egly, ‘L'utilisation’, 340.

85 Pauvert and Egly, Complexe, 20.

86 ‘Special: mathématique N°1’, 65, L'Ecole Permanente (Abidjan), 26 Mar. 1976, 6.

87 Ibid. 19.

88 ‘Special: etude du milieu N°2’, 70, L'Ecole Permanente (Abidjan), 4 Jun. 1976.

89 Gamble, H., ‘Peasants of the Empire: Rural Schools and the Colonial Imaginary’, Cahiers d’études Africaines, 195 (2009), 790.

90 Touré, A., La civilisation quotidienne en Côte d'Ivoire: procès d'occidentalisation (Paris, 1981), 134.

91 Interview with Koffi Seraphin Brou, Toumodi, 6 Feb. 2016.

92 Désalmand, Histoire, 341.

93 Dédy, ‘L’École’, 103.

94 Documentation PETV, Livre du maître: lecture, ecriture, expression écrite — CP1, CP2, CE1 (Bouaké, 1976), 28.

95 PETV, Livre du maître, 18.

96 Deunf, J., Rapport de mission en Côte d'Ivoire pour l'enseignement scientifique intégré (1er au 22 mars 1975) (Paris, 1975), 27. Qtd. in Désalmand, ‘Aventure’, 99n5.

97 Interview with Solmane Konate, Bondoukou, 7 Mar. 2016.

98 Interview with Efi Mensah-Bonsu, Accra, 5 Aug. 2016.

99 This section draws on ‘Spécial français N°3’, 104, L’École Permanente (Abidjan), 14 Apr. 1978, 19–24.

100 Interview with Jean-Jacques Alloko, Abidjan, 18 Mar. 2016.

101 PETV, Livre du Maître, 28; emphasis added.

102 Interview with Miyi Méon Aka, Assinie, 20 Feb. 2016; Kramoko Vami, Bondoukou, 7 Mar. 2016; Interview with Jean-Jacques Alloko.

103 Personal correspondence with Aletta Grisay, 25 and 28 Nov. 2016. Grisay headed a team of pedagogical evaluators in assessing PETV's language instruction during the 1970s under the joint authority of the University of Liège and the Ivorian Ministry of Education.

104 Interview with Jean-Jacques Alloko.

105 N'Da, ‘Un professeur’.

106 Désalmand, ‘Aventure’, 96.

107 Jacquinot, L’école, 65.

108 Touré, Civilisation, 134.

109 Dédy, ‘L’école,’ 133.

110 A. Brezault, ‘Les déboires d'un riche Africain se rendant au restaurant,’ Revue Antipodes, 153 (2001), http://www.iteco.be/revue-antipodes.

111 ‘Interview de Guy Berger par Thierry Lefebvre’, in T. Lefebvre and C. Raynal, Un Studio de television à l’école: le collège expérimental audiovisuel de Marly-le-Roi (1966–1992) (Paris, 2017), 171.

112 World Bank Group Archives (WBGA), Washington D.C., 52869I, S. J. Klees and D. T. Jamison, ‘A Cost Analysis of Instructional Television in the Ivory Coast’ (1976), 44–7.

113 WBGA 52873I, S. M. Evans and S. J. Klees, ‘ETV Program Production in the Ivory Coast’, (1976), 68.

114 Telephone interview with Steven J. Klees, 22 May 2017.

115 In 1976, 55 per cent of students failed the secondary school entry exam. A longstanding problem, it ‘was complicated by the extension this year of television education to Grade 6 (CM2).’ Centre des Archives Diplomatiques, Nantes, 1PO/1/155, ‘Note sur la rentrée scolaire 1976–1977 dans la primaire et la secondaire: vue par la presse locale’, Sept. 1976, 4.

116 Interview with Richard Westebbe by Robert W. Oliver, World Bank Group Archives Oral History Program, 25 Jan. 1998, 24.

117 According to Pauvert and Egly, 300 detractors wrote letters in response to Fraternité Matin’s call for debate on PETV. Pauvert and Egly, Complexe, 39.

118 Bianchini, École, 153.

119 In 1980, UNESCO estimated that 75 per cent of Ivorian women and 42 per cent of men were illiterate. Désalmand, Histoire, 359.

120 SYNESCI, ‘Les enseignants demandent’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 5 Aug. 1980, 3.

121 ‘Enseignement télévisuel: les lecteurs s'interrogent…’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 20 Aug. 1980.

122 N. P. Abolé, ‘Enfants éloquents ou simples perroquets’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 27 Aug. 1980, 16.

123 O. Traore, ‘Établir le dialogue sur des bases concrètes’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 20 Aug. 1980, 8.

124 M. G. Gonty, ‘Un enseignement plein de lacunes’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 27 Aug. 1980, 16.

125 Proteau, Passions, 61–98.

126 SYNESCI, ‘Les enseignants’.

127 Les inspecteurs de l'enseignement primaire, ‘Un système aux qualités reconnues’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 5 Aug. 1980, 3.

128 L'Association des Inspecteurs de l'Enseignement primaire de Côte d'Ivoire, ‘Mise au point de l'AIEPCI’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 27 Aug. 1980, 16.

129 UNESCO, ‘Government expenditure on education, total (% of GDP)’, (http://www.indexmundi.com).

130 Désalmand, ‘Aventure’, 94.

131 ‘Les Lecteurs’.

132 Désalmand, ‘Aventure’, 95.

133 M. Kouame, ‘Conseil national: d'importants décisions’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 26 Nov. 1981, 7.

134 Désalmand, Histoire, 342.

135 Pauvert and Egly, Complexe, 34 and Désalmand, Histoire, 328.

136 Egly, ‘L'utilisation’, 338.

137 L. Zaki, Enqûete sur la Banque Mondiale (Paris, 1989), 70.

138 R. Autra, ‘Une boîte ne peut restituer l'ambiance réceptive d'un être vivant’, Fraternité Matin (Abidjan), 30–31 Aug. 1980, 10.

139 Interview with Koffi Seraphin Brou.

I would like to thank the Journal's referees and the participants of Princeton University's African History Workshop for their comments on earlier drafts. Thanks are also due to Richard Kouakou and Kramoko Vami for their kindness in Bondoukou. Above all, I am grateful for the friendship of Alexis Motto, Henri Yapi, and Fabio Viti, without whom this article would never have been written. Author's email: .

These words, which I first encountered as a citation of the Ivoirian in charge of the PETV production studio, allude to H.G. Wells's 1920 bestseller, The Outline of History, in which he famously concludes that human history is becoming ‘more and more a race between education and catastrophe.’ H.G. Wells, The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind (3rd edn, New York, 1921), 1100.

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