Film screening: 'Hope-less', about Biographies of Radicalization in the Sahel

Research in social sciences and humanities is about humans, and social processes. When these are entangled in difficult situations this will have an effect on the researcher. The itineraries of people in Chad and Mali, both countries with histories of conflict and crisis, did not leave researchers Boukary Sangaré and Souleymane Abdoulaye Adoum untouched. They lived through the stories of their informants and were touched by it in such a way that they started to understand the process of radicalization through which the informants went.

Souleymane and Boukary are both authors of chapters of the book Biographies of Radicalization, Hidden messages of social change. The book questions if radicalization as a process is not a necessary condition for social change that is so necessary in many countries in Africa.

The film, entitled "Hope-less", is an elaboration of interviews with Souleymane and Boukary and was made to nuance the generally accepted image of radicalization in the Sahel. The film was made by Sjoerd Sijsma. Born and raised in the Grassfields of Cameroon, Sjoerd Epe Sijsma grew up between cultures. At the age of eight he swapped them for the Dutch polders, where he studied water management and started filming. Around the world Sjoerd used film and photography to educate and train participants, promoting and evaluating projects he worked on. In 2000 Sjoerd began his own film company Eyeses, where he creates and produces independent engaged films and images. Eyeses works mainly together with NGOs, universities and local/national governments. In 2009 Sjoerd started to participate in projects from Mirjam de Bruijn. For the project Connecting in Times of Duress, he trained the PhD students in audio-visual methodologies and followed them during their fieldwork. The film “Hope-less” is one of the results of this collaboration.To be able to make and facilitate these kind of personal, emotional, scientific productions, they co-founded in 2016 Voice4Thought. V4T is a digital platform where a merge of human artistic and scientific expressions, are presented, discussed and archived.


Prof. Dr. Mirjam de Bruijn 
Paul Litjens (Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Mirjam de Bruijn is a Professor of Citizenship and Identities in Africa. She is an anthropologist whose work has a clearly interdisciplinary character, with a preference for contemporary history and cultural studies. She focuses on the interrelationship between agency, marginality, mobility, communication and technology.  She is an Africanist with a focus on West and Central Africa. She has done extensive (qualitative) fieldwork in Cameroon, Chad and Mali. Her specific fields of interest are: nomadism, youth and children, social (in)security, poverty, marginality/social and economic exclusion, violence, human rights, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Date, time and location

19 September 2019
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Court building / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room SB.45