Vivian Solana

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Brandeis U.

Grant number

Gr. 9630

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Solana, Dr. Vivian, Bradeis U., Waltham, MA - To aid research on 'Intimate International Aid: Regenerating the Sahrawi Revolution through Spanish-Sahrawi Relations'

Preliminary abstract: This research proposal investigates how the intimate ties between a growing presence of Sahrawi refugees in Spain and a large network of Spanish advocates for the Sahrawi national liberation movement (known as the POLISARIO Front) is implicated in the regeneration of a longstanding Sahrawi struggle that claims sovereignty over the Western Sahara, Africa’s last official colony. A 1991 UN mediated ceasefire between the POLISARIO Front and Morocco has failed to deliver its promises of Sahrawi self-determination to this day, inserting the Sahrawi struggle into what I describe as a ‘colonial meantime’. The protracted irresolution of the territorial conflict over the Western Sahara is propelling Sahrawi youth to find futures outside of the refugee camps in which they have been born into and where the POLISARIO Front organizes a state in exile since 1975. I ask how young refugees’ regeneration of their struggle extends, suspends, and/or transfigures when they leave the refugee camps (located in Algeria), in which they have come of age, and enter Spain, the nation-state that first colonized their land. By examining how intimate Spanish-Sahrawi social relations are engaged in building new horizons of political possibility for North Africa and for Europe, this project contributes to the study of contemporary forced migrations and offers insight into North-South relations and post-colonial futures otherwise. It does so at a moment when the relationship between forced human displacements and the political impasses of the dreams of national sovereignty that animated decolonizing revolutionary struggles during the 20th Century have become more apparent than ever before.