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Blood Minerals: Investigative Reporting & Writing in Africa

A Conversation with Christophe Boltanski
September 30th, 2016
12:00 PM


Friday, September 30, 2016

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Light lunch served.


Join us for a discussion with author Christophe Boltanski about his book Minerais de sang: les esclaves du monde moderne (2012).  Boltanski’s investigation “traces” conflict minerals all the way from the Eastern Congo, where latter-day slaves labor in perilous pits, until they become an indispensable part of our slick cell phones and computers via the London Stock Metal Exchange, factories in Malaysia, and multinational companies. Penned as minutely as a police report, yet narrated as grippingly as a detective story, his book follows the twisted trails of cassiterite or coltan that lead to cynical profiteers, local warlords as well as powerful CEOs.


Co-sponsored by the Center for French and Francophone Studies, the Forum for Scholars and Publics, the Africa Initiative, Romance Studies, and the Department of Cultural Anthropology. 

Christophe Boltanski

Le Nouvel Observateur

Christophe Boltanski is a French writer and journalist.  A correspondent for the newspaper, Libération, in the Gulf and Middle East, he writes regularly today for the magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, and the online review, Rue 89.  Boltanski pursues investigative work that has taken him from Palestine to Malaysia; the Scottish reaches of Europe to the Congo.  His essays include Sept Vies de Yasser Arafat [7 Lives of Yasser Arafat, 1997], Chirac d’Arabie [Chirac of Arabia, 2006], and his most recent, Minerais de sang : les esclaves du monde moderne [Blood Minerals : Slaves of the Modern World, 2014].  Boltanski is also known as a writer of the “true novel”.  His narrative, La Cache, won major literary prizes last year, the Prix Fémina and le Prix des prix littéraires.

Stephen Smith

Duke University

Stephen Smith has been teaching African Studies at Duke since 2007. Before, he was the Africa Editor of Le Monde and Libération. As a correspondent, he covered West Africa for Reuters and Radio France International. He regularly contributes to the BBC and the London Review of Books. Here, he wrote about Rwandan war crimes for The New York Times in 2015.