V International CONGO RESEARCH NETWORK Congress (15-16 September 2020)

Silvia Riva's picture
Call for Papers
February 15, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Environmental History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Humanities, Literature, World History / Studies

The Becoming of Congo: Epistemologies, Practices, and Imaginaries

The Congo Research Network (CRN) is organizing its fifth international conference, to be held at the University of Milan on 15-16 September 2020. The conference aims to bring together junior and senior scholars across the humanities and social sciences, sharing a common interest in the DRC. It specifically aims to provide space for transdisciplinary and comparative analyses and reflections, within and beyond Congolese Studies.

This edition of the CRN focuses on the concept of “becoming”: the becoming of research on/around the Congo (new paths and new relations between "knowledges/epistemologies" and agents—academics, artists, writers, cultural operators, journalists and bloggers, activists and others); the becoming of Congolese culture (new places of creation and exhibition, new ways of sharing/transmitting knowledge and cultural practices); the becoming of land and questions of mobility, not only in the Congo, but also in Africa and the world (climate change and social justice). All these can be articulated in a multi or transdisciplinary perspective, along the following lines:

  • African and Congolese Renaissance: Decolonizing knowledge and practices, recognizing authorship and participation;
  • Disciplinary boundaries in Congo studies and collaborative approaches beyond and within the academia;
  • (A)gendered perspectives in Congo and in the Diaspora, today and tomorrow;
  • Trauma, resilience, transformation: their representations and negotiations;
  • Colonial–postcolonial transitions in a context of (proto)globalization;
  • Climate change, land grabbing, and environmental humanities;
  • Mobile people in and out of Congo (economic, climatic, conflictual, political, etc.);
  • "Mikilismes" and new social classes within and out of Congo: dynamics and (auto)representations;
  • Digitalization and mediated culture: platforms, visual expressions, data bases, accessibility;
  • The future of Congolese languages;
  • Congo as utopia and dystopia;
  • Imagining Congolese futures through writing, film, painting, literature, and the arts.

Panel proposals (title + description of up to 750 words) should be sent to the organizers at congoresearchnetwork@gmail.com by 15 February 2020.

Panel proposals should include at least two agreed papers.

Individual paper proposals (title + abstract of up to 400 words) should be sent to the same email address by 28 February 2020. Proposals can be written either in French or English. Decisions regarding accepted papers and panels will be sent out to applicants on 20 March 2020.

Unfortunately, the organizing committee cannot refund participants’ travel and accommodation expenses. Participants will also have to pay for their own meals during the conference.


Keynote address: Bambi Ceuppens (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium), Nadia Yala Kisukidi (Paris VIII University, France)

Closing keynotes: Bogumil Jewsiewicki (Laval University, Canada) (to be confirmed).


CRN 2020

Scientific committee:

Livia Apa (Researcher in African Literatures and Cultures in Portuguese Languages Research Centre for Contemporary Africa, Universty L’Orientale, Naples, Italie)

Susanne Gehrmann (professor of African Literatures and Cultures at the Institute for Asian and African Studies at the Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)

Matthias De Groof (Researcher in African Studies at Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan)

Emery Kalema (Postdoc Fellow at Chair in Historical Trauma and Transformation, Stellenbosch University, Republic of South Africa - Center for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora (CSAAD) New York University, USA)

Karin Pallaver (Associate Professor of African History at the Department of History and Cultures, University of Bologna and President of ASAI, Association of African Studies in Italy)

Katrien Pype (Associate Professor of African Cultural Anthropology at the Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa, KU Leuven, Belgium).

Edoardo Quaretta (Postdoc Fellow at Chair in Cultural Anthropology, University of Calabria and Turin, Italy)

Silvia Riva (Associate Professor in French and Francophone Literatures and Cultures at the University of Milan, Italy)