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Workshop Programme

'Central Africa and Belgium: Empire and Postcolonial Resonance' [University of Warwick, School of Modern Languages & Cultures – supported by the Institute of Advanced Studies] – 17-18 September 2020


Thursday 17 September

9.30 – 9.50 Pierre-Philippe Fraiture (University of Warwick)


10.00-10.35 Yvette Hutchison (University of Warwick)

‘Performative Challenges to Belgium’s Colonial Amnesia: Monuments, Museums and Resonant Spaces’

10.40-11.15 Maëline Le Lay (IFRA, Nairobi)

 Landscaping and Escaping the Colony in Mudimbe’s, Ruti’s and Nayigiziki’s Works’

11.30-12.05 Nicki Hitchcott (University of St Andrews)

‘Imperial Fictions: Belgian Novels about Rwanda’

12.10-12.45 Sky Herington (University of Warwick)

‘“Depuis la Flamandchourie”: Legacies of Belgian Colonialism in Sony Labou Tansi’s Writing’

1.30-2.05 Dónal Hassett (University of Cork)

‘Must Leopold Fall? The Renovation of the AfricaMuseum and Belgium’s Place in International Debates on the Decolonisation of Public Heritage’

2.10.-2.45 Hannah Grayson (University of Stirling)

‘Récit d’enfance, récit de distance. Gaby as implicated subject in Gaël Faye’s Petit Pays


Friday 18 September

9.30-10.05 Reuben Loffman (Queen Mary University of London)

‘Living in the Ruins of Empire: The Persistence of ‘Grey’ Colonial Architecture in Kongolo, Tanganyika, DR-Congo’

10.10-10.45 Sarah Arens (University of St Andrews)

‘Putting “Agriculture” back into “Culture”: World Fairs, Contact Zones, and Postcolonial Resonances in Belgium’

11.00-11.35 Sammy Baloji:

Title: Questions & Answer session on Mémoire (2006), a film by S. Baloji. Synopsis: Mémoire is an artist film addressing colonial violence, the shattered dreams of independence, and the postcolonial political fallout in the current Democratic Republic of Congo. Mémoire is a beautifully crafted and abstracted artist's video that was shot in collaboration with the fellow Congolese performance artist Faustin Linyekula. Sammy Baloji’s work shines a powerful spotlight on contemporary Congolese reality. It interrogates the abuse of power and its legacy, revealing the devastating impact that exploitative cultures have on both society and the environment. It calls for greater awareness of the local consequences of ‘development’ and highlights the rights of local people. Baloji creates videos that investigate the body, and, despite restrictions on photographing public sites, he produces images of the Congo’s urban architecture. His work is raising social consciousness and stimulating artistic development in the Katanga region, a locus for colonial and post-colonial exploitation of its mineral wealth

11.40-12.15: Bambi Ceuppens (Royal Museum for Central Africa)

‘The Congoscene at the time of the Congocene’

1.00-1.35 Catherine Gilbert (Newcastle University)

‘Genocide Education in Francophone Schools in Belgium’

1.40-2.15: Rob Burroughs (Leeds Beckett University)

‘Inside Congo House: Britain and Central Africa in History and Memory’

2.20-2.55: Brian Murray (King’s College London)

‘The Journeys of ‘Kalulu’ and Saleh Bin Osman: African Travellers in the Archive of Exploration’

3.05-3.20 Pierre-Philippe Fraiture

‘Concluding remarks’ – looking ahead.