Florence Bernault is Professor of African History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research explores the history of colonial changes in Equatorial Africa, particularly in Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville. Her latest book, a co-edited volume on Ruptures Postcoloniales: Les nouveaux visages de la société française (Paris: La Découverte, 2010), looks at contemporary tensions over the legacies of the colonial past. Her new book, to be published by Duke University Press, is a history of cross-racial anxieties about witchcraft, ritual crimes and spiritual agency in Gabon from the nineteenth century to the present. Her publications include Démocraties ambigües en Afrique centrale: Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, 1940-1965 (Paris: Karthala, 1996); Enfermement, prison et châtiments en Afrique du XIXe siècle à nos jours (Paris, Karthala, 1999) ; A History of Prison and Confinement in Africa, Portsmouth, NJ: Heinemann, 2003), and numerous articles on Equatorial Africa. She recently served as the African History member on the Editorial Board of the American Historical Review and is currently on the advisory board of the Journal of African History. Her work has been awarded a John S. Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2001-2002), a Vilas Associateship (1998-2000) and a H. I. Romnes Faculty Award (2000-2005).
Ali Bongo seems to have won Gabon's elections. Yet his contested "victory" has radically changed the political field in this soft democracy.