Dr. Konstanze N’Guessan

Research interests
Nation-state, nationalism, practices of remembrance, national days, historiography, theories of culture, theories of practice, parenting, performativity

Research area
Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana


Just published: Histories of Independence in Côte d’Ivoire. An Ethnography of the Past

Histories of Independence in Côte d’Ivoire. An Ethnography of the Past. Leiden: Brill (2020).

Histories of Independence in Côte d’Ivoire: an Ethnography of the Past, deals with memory work in Côte d’Ivoire and bridges an ethnographic approach with the insights of newer theoretical approaches in historiography. Adopting a long-term perspective from the late 1950s to the present, I attempt to disentangle the condensation of meanings of the lieu de mémoire “Ivorian independence” and explore how different practices of recalling the past complement and/or contradict each other. Histories of independence in Côte d’Ivoire looks at national-day celebrations, academic historiography, oral tradition and memory politics in order to understand how (political) actors mobilize the past in order to produce pleasant presents and futures.

Current research project

Doing being Parent – Performative Parenting in Côte d‘Ivoire

The aim of the research project is to examine care-giving practices of young, educated, and socially and geographically mobile parents in Southern Côte d’Ivoire and look at their “doing being parents” (to paraphrase Sachs 1984) as identity work and as a way of enacting different forms belonging (such as to a particular generation, to a particular social class). The methodological approach chosen responds to the assumption that parenting practices are performative and competitive and therefore invite for ethnographic research.  ...

Completed research project

Performing the nation and subnational differences in African national days
Subproject of the DFG 1939 Research group „Un/doing Differences. Practices of human differentiation“  ...