Princeton Mellon Initiative - Mellon Forum on Race, Power and Environment "The Politics of Dwelling"
Gregory Valdespino's fellowship is made possible by the Program in African Studies, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and the Mellon Foundation. Valdespino is a scholar of domesticity, everyday life and governance in West Africa and the Francophone world, with special interests in Senegal and West African communities in France. His research examines how changes to West Africans' domestic lives and spaces informed new ideas about governance during the 20th century. His dissertation, "At Home in Empire: The Politics of Dwelling in France and Senegal, 1914-1974," examines when, where and why West Africans' capacity to feel at home became politicized in Senegal and France during the 20th century. Between the outbreak of World War I and the mid-1970s, West African dwellers and French officials engaged in the contested creation of a political framework that linked governmental legitimacy to West Africans' domestic well-being both in Senegal and France. Through extensive archival work and interviews in both Senegal and France, Valdespino demonstrates how this new ideological and practical framework informed competing ideas and practices around what governments could or should do to create spaces that people could call home. Calling this framework the "politics of dwelling." Valdespino examines how access to domestic resources came to inform alternative notions of political inclusion and exclusion within Senegal and amongst West African communities in France before and after decolonization. He received his PhD in History from the University of Chicago in August 2022 and holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University. Before beginning his graduate training, he worked as an English teacher in northern France. In Spring 2023, Valdespino will teach “Divided Cities: Global Histories of Segregation,” where students will examine the changing role that legal, economic, spatial, and cultural forces played in determining how social categories like race, immigration status, gender, class, sexuality, or religion determined where people lived on local and global scales.