When we think of the First World War, most people envision the trench warfare in France and Belgium, while the East Africa campaign and the involvement of African troops in European war efforts are often overlooked or forgotten.
Within the context of African involvement in WWI, this lecture will focus on Nigerian soldiers left severely disabled by their battle injuries and the psychological impact they suffered as a result.
The First World War transformed men’s masculinities across the globe. In British Nigeria, the war disabled were known as ‘amputated men’ who claimed they had become ‘women’. In this public lecture for Disability History Month, Dr George Njung discusses this crisis of masculinity on the fringes of the British Empire.
One thing which rendered the First World War truly global was its ubiquitous transformation of men’s masculinities across the globe. Piggybacking on studies by Deborah Cohen and Jessica Meyer on the war disabled in Britain, Dr Njung delineates how the war led to the diminishment of the masculinities of the war disabled in British Nigeria. Simply known in colonial archival parlance as ‘amputated men’, the British Nigerian war disabled suffered a far worse plight than their British metropolitan counterparts largely because they belonged on the fringes of the British empire.
Please note – this event must be accessed via the Music Building entrance, not the gallery and museums entrance.
Guest speaker, Dr. George Njung
Dr George Njung completed his PhD. in History at the University of Michigan, in 2016. He taught briefly at Washington State University before moving on to the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where he is currently a lecturer in History.
His main concentration is West and Central Anglophone and Francophone Africa. He teaches courses on the Social History of Technology with a focus on Africa, African urbanization, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the History of Global Encounters. He currently supervises three PhD students. He writes mainly on subjects such as colonialism, violence, transnational histories, historical connections, the First World War, political cultures, war and gender, and African migrant and refugee experiences. He has published—and forthcoming—articles in journals including the American Historical Review, the Canadian Journal of African Studies, the Journal of Social History, and the Journal of First World War Studies. Dr Njung is currently working simultaneously on two book projects: One is his first monograph titled, The First World War in West Africa: A Gendered and a Transnational History Narrative. The second is titled, Amputated Men: A Comparative Study of the Struggles of Disabled WW1 Soldiers in Colonial British and French West Africa.
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