New article on architecture in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire

Gallagher, Mpere and N’djoré’s article on architectural aesthetics and statehood in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire has just been published in African Affairs and is free to download.

The article explores the striking differences between state buildings in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire; and in how citizens living in each country’s capital city think and talk about them.


The authors explore the degree to which buildings illustrate very different ideas of statehood in West Africa.


They draw on art theories from West Africa to argue that architectural aesthetics rest on juxtapositions of beauty and the sublime and suggest ways these help establish state meaning.

They then apply this aesthetic approach to citizens’ evaluations of their state buildings in each country and illustrate how differently the approach plays out, in Ghana where the state emerges as acclimatized and relatively robust and in Côte d’Ivoire where the state emerges as idealized and fragile.

The article is available here.

Julia Gallagher, Denis Larbi Mpere, Yah Ariane Bernadette N’djoré, ‘State aesthetics and state meanings: Political architecture in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire’ African Affairs, 2021, doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adab018




Figure 1 – Ministries, Accra. Photograph by Julia Gallagher

Figure 2 – Parliament House, Accra. Photograph by Julia Gallagher

Figure 3 – staircase to former slave quarters, Osu Castle, Accra. Photograph by Julia Gallagher.

Figure 4 – Jubilee House, Accra. Photograph by Julia Gallagher.

Figure 5 – Cité Administrative, Abidjan, seen from the Cathedral steps. Photograph by Julia Gallagher.

Figure 6 – Basilica Notre-Dame de la Paix, Yamoussoukro. Photograph by Julia Gallagher.

Figure 7 – Palais Présidentiel, Yamoussoukro, with man watching a crocodile. Photograph by Julia Gallagher.


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