Leanne Johansson

Leanne Johansson

DPhil, Social and Cultural Anthropology

Wolfson College

Thesis: Making Bakassi: Memory, belonging and state-making on the disputed Nigeria-Cameroon border

Research: My doctoral thesis examines the making of the Bakassi Peninsula, a disputed border region between Nigeria and Cameroon, through the storytelling, mobility practices, future aspirations and politics of those who call it ‘home’ and their interactions with national and international bodies. The intervention of the International Court of Justice into the border dispute introduced a dichotomy of official narratives through which the Cameroonian and Nigerian states memorialised their relationship with Bakassi territory. In my ethnography, I explore how Bakassi inhabitants themselves re-negotiate these narratives through practices of emplacement and mobility. In doing so, they create a ‘New Bakassi’ for the future which is both imagined and real and, simultaneously, re-construct the statehood of Nigeria and Cameroon. Within this process, conceptions of kinship, personhood and power can be seen to shape relations between people, territories and states.

Research interests: Borders and borderlands; anthropology of war; the state; landscape; mobility; place-making; personhood; affect and emotion; storytelling.

Email: leanne.johansson@anthro.ox.ac.uk