Freddie Coombes

Freddie Coombes


I research the relationship between international return-migration and nation-building in Senegal, taking as my period twenty years before and after the country’s independence. In particular, I am interested in the experiences of four mobile consitutencies: colonial tirailleur soldiers, labourers, members of the university-educated intelligentsia, as well as Sufi tariqa fraternities. My project will involve conducting oral interviews as part of an investigation into how individual and collective memories have been appropriated by political élites among others, both in Senegal and the wider world. This work aims to contribute to the scholarship and greater public understanding of Senegal’s successes in terms of political stability, democracy and active civil society, as well as the complexities of international migration from West Africa. This research is generously funded by the AHRC through the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH).

In 2018, I graduated with a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Sheffield, where I developed my interests in the intersection between the history of migration and nation-building. In 2019, I completed a Masters degree in Modern History art the University of Leeds, specialising in the history of Africa and the African diaspora. I have undertaken archival research in Senegal in the course of researching popular participation and exclusion during the First World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, 1966. This trip was partly funded by a research grant from the Society for the Study of French History.

Research interests

The decolonization and postcolonial history of Senegal; the French empire in West Africa; migration and nation-building in West Africa; the history of twentieth-century migration to France.


  • First Class BA (Hons) History (University of Sheffield)