• Children asking for quiet on the rehearsal set.

    Quiet on the Set

  • Discussing script.

    Discussing Script

  • Filming Forest Service Director

    Filming Forest Service Director

  • Filming charcoal raking.

    Filming Charcoal Making

  • Filming charcoal truck

    Filming Semmiñ Naari Boor

Film Gallery

FILM: Semmiñ Ñaari Boor (Double Bladed Axe) (Fifty minute video—Wolof with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles), 2010.
Directors: Pape Faye and Jesse Ribot

When a villager discovers migrant woodcutters cutting their village forests, she and her husband wake up their neighbor to confront the intruders. But the intruders come armed with forest service permits. In the film, the forest villagers are convinced by the ‘Manage the Forest’ project, funded by Mega Bank, that to get rid of woodcutters they will have to cut the forests themselves—to make charcoal to supply the city of Dakar with cooking fuel. In lieu of migrants running off with the profits from their rich forests, they can have significant income. The villagers decide to try it out. In the first year the work is very hard and the profits are nil. They are selling their charcoal to rich merchants at the forest edge. But the villagers want to sell in the city where they hear the price is high. The project works hard to help them to get permits to sell in the city. The woodcutting villagers return with so much money after selling one truckload that their eyes are opened to the amazing profits they have been missing out on—indeed, profits they feel robbed of. Determined now to sell all their charcoal in the city, they face obstacles thrown in their way at every step by the forest service and the merchants. Frustrated that they are only getting the profit from one in ten truckloads of charcoal, they decide to rise up and organize. They form a federation to protect their interests. [The research for this film is presented in Larson and Ribot 2007; Ribot 2009; Poteete and Ribot. 2011. The film making is discussed in the article: Ribot, J. 2014. “Humor, Irony and Subordination: Democratic Decentralization through a Camera’s Lens.” Working Paper no. 5, International Center for Local Democracy, Visby, Sweden. http://www.icld.se/eng/publications.pab – scroll down to No. 5.]

TELEVISION DEBATE: Debate with forester and merchant on the film Semmiñ Ñaari Boor
This film is a debate between the Director of Production of Senegal's Forest Service, the President of Senegal's National Union of Forestry Cooperatives, and filmmaker Jesse Ribot. This debate was filmed Senegal's national television (RTS) as a discussion to accompany the showing of Semmiñ Ñaari Boor on RTS. RTS and the Forest Service added a publicity piece to the end of the debate, to show how well-liked their forestry projects are by the local populations.  Semmiñ Ñaari Boor was shown on prime time national television in Senegal several times in a period of ten days.

FILM: Weex Dunx and the Quota: Plucking Local Democracy in Senegal (Twenty-four minute video—Wolof with English, French and Spanish subtitles), 2007.
Directors: Pape Faye and Jesse Ribot

Synopsis: Mr. Weex Dunx (Mr. Scapegoat), the elected President of the Rural Council of Nambaradougou (Place of many problems), is ecstatic to learn that new decentralization laws have given his council the right to manage and use forests. The council now has the right to decide how much woodcutting will take place in their jurisdiction and who gets to do the cutting and selling. But, when Weex Dunx tries to exercise his new powers he is confronted by incredulous foresters, administrators and merchants who are in shock that he thinks he can make decisions about the forests. Exasperated because these powerful notables don’t like him if he resists and his people don’t like him if he gives in, Weex Dunx is torn between doing what is right for his community and surrendering to pressures from powerful people whom he does not want to disappoint. Copies on DVD or CD can be provided on request. [The research for this film is presented in Ribot 2009 article in Development and Change.] "The Scapegoat's Tale," a discussion with Dr. Ribot about this film, can be viewed below.

View the film with English subtitles  
View the film in French

TELEVISION INTERVIEW: The Scapegoat’s Tale: Decentralizing Democracy in Africa (on Weex Dunx and the Quota)
Television interview with Jesse Ribot on Dialogue, a television program produced by George Liston Seay at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The program is a discussion of the film “Weex Dunx and the Quota: Plucking Local Democracy in Senegal,” above. [Also see accompanying article, Ribot 2009 in Development and Change.]

TELEVISION INTERVIEW: The Business of Sustainable Development: An African Forest Tale
Television interview with Jesse Ribot on the Woodrow Wilson Center's television program Dialogue, a television program produced by George Liston Seay at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The program is a discussion of the children's book The Business of Sustainable Development: An African Forest Tale, a story for children and select adults, by Jesse Ribot with illustrations by the Senegalese artist Mor Gueye. The next video in the gallery is an illustrated reading of the story.

READING OF CHILDREN’S STORY: The Business of Sustainable Development: An African Forest Tale  2007.

This video is a reading of the children's book The Business of Sustainable Development: An African Forest Tale, a story for children and select adults, by Jesse Ribot with illustrations by the Senegalese artist Mor Gueye. The story is read by the author, with music by Marc Ribot.

SEMINAR VIDEO: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Africa Program and Environmental Change and Security Project
Seminar on democratic decentralization and natural resources in Africa, at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC, 5/2005.

TALK: Critique of Bruno Latour's Flat Ontology at the International Colloquium of the Journal of Peasant Studies, Institute for Social Studies
The Hague, February 2016.

LECTURE VIDEO: Vulnerability, Cause and Responsibility Under a Changing Sky," III Reunión internacional del grupo temático de Sociología del riesgo e incertiudmbre,
Mexico, City, February 2016

INTERVIEW: What is engaged political ecology? Jesse Ribot weighs in. Public Political Ecology Lab of The University of Arizona
Fall, 2012

Double bladed axe actors.
Faye & Ribot at filming.
Emeu & Ribot in the editing room.
Woodcutters in Tambacounda, Senegal.