Empire and Postcolonial Resonance in Central Africa and Belgium
Edited by Pierre-Philippe Fraiture
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Belgian colonialism was short-lived but left significant traces that are still felt in the twenty-first century. This book explores how the imperial past has lived on in Belgium, but also in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. The contributing authors approach colonial legacies from an interdisciplinary perspective and examine how literature, politics, the arts, the press, cinema, museal practices, architecture, and language policies – but also justice and ethics – have been used to critically revisit this period of African and European history. Whilst engaging with significant figures such as Sammy Baloji, Chokri Ben Chikha, Gaël Faye, François Kabasele, Alexis Kagame, Edmond Leplae, VY Mudimbe, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Joseph Ndwaniye, and Sony Labou Tansi, this book also analyses the role of places such as the AfricaMuseum, Bujumbura, Colwyn Bay, Kongolo, and the Virunga Park to appraise the links between memory and the development of a postcolonial present.
Contributors: Sarah Arens (University of Liverpool), Robert Burroughs (Leeds Beckett), Bambi Ceuppens (AfricaMuseum), Matthias De Groof (University of Antwerp), Catherine Gilbert (University of Newcastle), Chantal Gishoma (University of Bayreuth), Hannah Grayson (University of Stirling), Dónal Hassett (University of Cork), Sky Herington (University of Warwick), Nicki Hitchcott (University of St Andrews), Yvette Hutchison (University of Warwick), Albert Kasanda (Charles University, Prague), Maëline Le Lay (CNRS/ THALIM, Sorbonne nouvelle), Reuben Loffman (Queen Mary University of London), Caroline Williamson Sinalo (University of Cork)Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).
Thinking, Performing, and Overcoming Belgium’s ‘Colonial Power Matrix’? An Introduction
Part 1 — Regimes of Knowledge and Decolonisation
Must Leopold Fall? The Renovation of the AfricaMuseum and Belgium’s Place in International Debates on the Decolonisation of Public Heritage
Imperial Fictions: Belgian Novels about Rwanda
Confronting the Colonial Past? Genocide Education in Francophone Belgian Schools
Part 2 — International Resonances
Imperial Entanglements of the Congo/African Institute, Colwyn Bay, Wales (1889–1911)
Performative Challenges to Belgium’s Colonial Amnesia: Mobilising Archives and Resonant Spaces
Writing in Ciluba: From Colonial Extirpation to the Challenge of Globalisation
Part 3 — Imperial Practices and Their Afterlives
Media Representations of Burundi’s 2020 Elections in Belgium and Burundi
Living with Ruination: Rural Neglect and the Persistence of ‘Grey’ Colonial Architecture in Kongolo, Tanganyika, DRC
Cash Crops and Clichés: Agriculture, Contact Zones, and Afterlives of Belgian Colonialism
The Legacy of Alexis Kagame: Responses to Conceptions of Colonisation and Evangelisation in Rwanda
Part 4 — Trans-African Entanglements
‘Depuis la Flamandchourie’: Legacies of Belgian Colonialism in Sony Labou Tansi’s Kinshasa
Landscaping and Escaping the Colony in Mudimbe’s, Ruti’s, and Nayigiziki’s Works’
Récit d’enfance, récit de distance: Gaby as implicated subject in Gaël Faye’s Petit Pays
Part 5 —The Emergence of Diasporic Agents
‘Without Art Congo Is Just a Mine’: Art as the Restoration of Shattered Bodies
From Leopold III’s Masters of the Congo Jungle to Contemporary Congolese Eco-Cinema: Postcolonial Resonance
Tracking the Potholes of Colonial History: Sinzo Aanza’s Généalogie d’une banalité and Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83
Format: Edited volume - free ebook - ePUB
Publication: November 28, 2022
This collection reflects on Belgium’s history of involvement in Central Africa to uncover postcolonial traces of that past. Although books on the cultural legacies of Belgian colonialism exist, few address ‘the memory and memorialisation of this historical process across a whole region including the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and Belgium’ (p. 28; original emphasis). This volume remedies this lacuna, although its focus on francophone works means it says little about Flemish culture. The volume is interdisciplinary, with essays on history, literature, journalism, art, philology, architecture, and film, and it privileges critical voices from a younger generation, including from Central Africa. The book’s seventeen essays (by almost as many authors) come together as a whole and read clearly despite frequent typographical errors. Its cumulative bibliography is a welcome reference, and the historical context provided in several chapters makes the book accessible to those unfamiliar with the history of colonialism in Central Africa. - Matthew G Stanard, French Studies, knad188, https://doi.org/10.1093/fs/knad188
Le recueil apporte une contribution importante et nuancée à la localisation académique du contact culturel entre la Belgique et »ses« anciennes colonies en Afrique. Le thème général du livre a gagné en importance et en attention, notamment grâce au mouvement mondial Black Lives Matter et à ses répercussionsen Belgique, ce qui explique la grande pertinence sociale des questions traitées dans le recueil. L’approche adoptée par presque toutes les contributions, qui consiste à considérer les espaces de résonance idéels et matériels des relations belgo-africaines comme des zones de contact interculturelles et à explorer leur potentiel pour une compréhension plus inclusive, est particulièrement convaincante. Ainsi, le recueil ne contribue pas seulement à la déconstruction des stéréotypes coloniaux, mais offre également des points de départ pour l’établissement durable de relations interculturelles.
Julien Bobineau, Francia-Recensio 2023/2, https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/frrec/article/view/96958
The strength of this book is to coordinate different points of view around the question of the complex relationship between Empire and Postcolony. The disciplinary plurality of the interventions in fact allows the reader to range between anthropology and linguistics, literature and the arts, achieving the aim of offering a complete picture of the complex issue. This volume will constitute a reference point in the field of postcolonial studies related to Central Africa.
Silvia Riva, Università degli Studi di Milano