Titanic tales of missing men: Reconfigurations of national identity and gendered presence in Dakar, Senegal

by Caroline Melly

Amidst a “crisis” of clandestine migration in West Africa, tales about the exploits of “missing men” circulated through Dakar, Senegal. In this article, I explore how these myths enabled debate about the changing parameters of male social visibility, nation building, and social success in the city at the same time that they paradoxically recast as spectacularly present men who had failed to achieve by these standards. I argue that both public discourse about and scholarly analysis of the impact of transnational migration on those left behind recenter the activities of some men, rendering invisible other modes of being and belonging.