Lecture Series 'New Histories of Central Africa'

Jeudi, 29 Novembre, 2018 - 17:30 to Mercredi, 24 Avril, 2019 - 17:00


Thursday 29 November 2018, 5.30 PM-7.30 PM, We.Konekt (Galerie Ravenstein, 1000 Brussels): Robert BURROUGHS (Leeds Beckett University): African Testimony in the Movement for Congo Reform: The Burden of Proof

Thursday 21 February 2019, 5 PM-7 PM, ULB (place TBA): Florence BERNAULT (Sciences-Po, Paris): Transaction: Revisiting Imaginaries of Domination in Colonial Gabon

Wednesday 24 April 2019, 5PM-7 PM, VUB (place TBA): Emery KALEMA (Stellenbosch University, South Africa): Death, Torture, and Suffering: The Mulele ‘Rebellion’ in Postcolonial Congo


November 2018 marks the centenary of the transition from the Congo Free State to the Belgian Congo. The reprise, as this episode is known, is generally considered a turning point in the history of Belgian colonialism. In Central African itself, there was however more continuity than change. This was thus an institutional transition with a limited impact on the daily experiences of colonial rule. The lecture series « New Histories of Central Africa » ambitions to use this anniversary as an invitation to explore some of the most recent and innovative research on the complex history of 20th century Central Africa. Both junior and more experienced speakers will give lectures on new historical narratives and interpretations, followed by a debate. The three invited speakers have recently published books, each of which transcends epistemic boundaries, methodological, geographical, chronological or experiental. Robert Burrough’s work sheds light on Congolese voices and agency in the Congo Reform Movement, until now mostly perceived through the scope of its Western protagonists. Florence Bernault has produced groundbreaking works on the interconnection of bodies, beliefs and power in the long-term history of Equatorial Africa. By placing the scars and voices of victims of post-colonial struggles at the centre of his research, Emery Kalema challenges well-established preconceptions about so-called ‘endemic’ violence in Central Africa. The lecture series provides an opportunity to think collectively about history and memory, in more nuanced ways than in conventional public debates. In reconsidering how to think and write about often painful and conflictual pasts, it is hoped that these debates will reach well beyond than their specific geographic and cultural contexts.


Organised by Amandine Lauro (ULB) and Benoît Henriet (VUB), with the help of the Faculté de Philosophie et de Sciences Sociales (ULB), the Faculteit Letteren en Wijsbegerte (VUB), the Vakgroep Geschiedenis (VUB), the Centre de Recherche Mondes Modernes et Contemporains (ULB) and the program weKONEKT.Brussels.


Contact and information:

Amandine Lauro: & Benoît Henriet: