Solofo Randrianja

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2013/2014
discipline History
Full Professor Historical studies department University of Toamasina

Research project

Slavery, sanskritisation and contemporary history of Madagascar


Slavery is generally considered as  part the past.  It is  well known through  the studies of intercontinental slave trades and to some extent  through some of its contemporary aspects.

In Madagascar, millions of slave descents are still stigmatized. I propose to address this topic through some interrogations of the subatern studies.  Slavery is a generic term which does not reflect the hierarchized frame of numerous groups of dependents.

The subalternity is a way to keep the situation as it is. In the same time those groups develops strategies of social bargaining. Some groups failed and some others are more successful in this enterprise to get a better position in the social scale. 


Taking account of the diversity and fluidity of the groups of dependents within a more global system, my project proposes to question the existence, in conflict contexts, of an autonomy of the memory of the dependent groups or slave descents in contemporary Madagascar but though an historical perspective.

Did this memory emerge autonomously thanks to the idioms, the standards, the values enrooted in the experiment of labor and social exploitation? What are the transmission channels of this memory? In this context, what is the status of orality in particular in the conflicts of memory which opposed the present actors around practical problems such as land conflicts .

Two groups of slave descents, the Marofotsy (central northen Madagascar) and the Miangorandrana (in the suburb of Toamasina, east coast) , which appeared at the beginning of the XIXth century under the reign of the king Radama 1er (1810-1828) will be used as sites of observation. The list is not restrictive.

The project does not aim to reconstitute the history of the dependence in which however the respective trajectory of the two groups is evolving. But these trajectories produce narratives which are constantly reactualized. Their analysis will make it possible to evaluate the relevance of the subalternist project on the autonomy of the subaltern groups memory.



Solofo Randrianja is Full Professor Historical Studies department and Director of the Laboratoire Pluridisciplinaire at the University of Toamasina. He holds a Habilitation and a Ph.D. from the Denis Diderot University of Paris VII. 

In 2000 at Nashville (Tennessee, USA) he was awarded the International Visitor Award by the African Studies Association (ASA) for his researches. His duties have given him the opportunity to work with several research centres such as Freedom House, Global Integrity and Varieties of democracy.


His research areas of interest are Political history, Slavery stigma in contemporary Madagascar and anticolonial resistance mouvements. He is currently working on local and autochthonous forms of democracy.  

Selected publications


Madagascar, le coup d’Etat de mars 2009, Karthala, Paris , 2012. 


‘Du Hasina à la confiance en histoire politique de Madagascar’, in D Nativel and F Rajaonah (eds), Madagascar revisitée, Karthala, Paris, 2009.


Madagascar, a short history, with S.Ellis, Chicago University Press, Hurst London, 2009. 


‘Madagascar et l’Afrique du sud’, in D. Nativel and F. Rajaonah (eds), Madagascar et l’Afrique, Karthala, Paris, 2007.


Madagascar, ethnies et ethnicité, CODESRIA, Dakar, 2004.


La nation malgache au défi de l’ethnicité, with F. Raison (eds), Karthala, Paris , 2002.


Luttes anticoloniales et sociétés à Madagascar, 1896-1946, Karthala, Paris, 2001. 


senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
discipline Anthropology
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2011/2012
discipline History
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2011/2012
discipline Philosophy