“The Apostolate of Work”: Capitalism, Environmental Catastrophe, and Social Crisis in Colonial Côte d’Ivoire
Wallace Teska (Stanford History) will give a talk titled “The Apostolate of Work”: Capitalism, Environmental Catastrophe, and Social Crisis in Colonial Côte d’Ivoire.
In the first decades of the twentieth century, the French colonial administration in Côte d’Ivoire implemented a novel migratory labor regime to bolster the colony’s production of cash-crops, including cocoa and coffee. This scheme forced young men from the Ivorian hinterland to abandon their families and work with little pay on plantations and logging concessions along the West African coast. In this chapter, the third of Wallace’s in-progress dissertation, he examines how this radical shift in local labor practice provoked dire social crises along lines of gender, generation, and status. He also analyzes how these crises simultaneously stemmed from and accelerated the destruction of the Upper Guinean Forest.