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'Illuminating the Hole': Kinshasa’s Makeovers Between Dream and Reality

Filip de Boeck
February 17th, 2016
12:00 PM

  Archived

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)

12:00 - 1:15 pm 

Light lunch served

If the current pattern of urban expansion in Africa is marked by the development of ‘oceans of poverty containing islands of wealth’ (UN Habitat 2010), then it is becoming clear that these islands are under constant threat of being sucked straight back again into the unstable sludge of the urban swamp. There is no escaping the overwhelming whirlpool of the living city’s generative but sometimes self‐destructive energy. But the ‘hole’ of the living city strikes back in all kinds of ways and often uses all the decentring power it can muster to force us to reconsider categories we take for granted and common definitions we tend to use in order to figure out the qualities and shortcomings of urban life in Central Africa.

The format of this seminar is that the speaker will pre-circulate a paper, then spend 10-15 minutes at the beginning highlighting its main points (and adding some larger context, discussing trends in the recent literature), before the respondent will take a few minutes to raise discussion points.  Then we’ll open it to the room for discussion.  If you’d like a copy of the paper, please contact Charlie Piot.

 

This event is part of the series "The Future of the African City", co-sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Duke Africa Initiative and organized by Professors John BartlettCharlie Piot, and Karin Shapiro. The African City Working Group is supported by the FHI Mellon Humanities Futures initiative.

 

Filip de Boeck

University of Leuven

As the coordinator of the Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa (IARA, formerly the Africa Research Centre), a Research Unit of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Filip De Boeck is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa. Since 1987 he has conducted extensive field research in both rural and urban communities in D.R. Congo (ex-Zaire). His current theoretical interests include local subjectivities of crisis, postcolonial memory, youth and the politics of culture, and the transformation of private and public space in the urban context in Africa. Filip De Boeck has published extensively on his research and on a wide variety of topics including postcolonial identity in Africa, processes of accumulation and expenditure in informal economies, history, memory, death, and popular urban culture, especially with regard to children and youth. 

Together with Congolese photographer Sammy Baloji, De Boeck is currently working on a book and exhibition project about new urban extensions in DRCongo. This is part of a larger research project on new satellite cities in three African countries: Kenya, Congo, Ghana.