Comparing the Copperbelt: Social history and knowledge production in Central Africa

Date / time
18 June - 19 June, All day


Comparing the Copperbelt: Social history and knowledge production in Central Africa

 

‘Comparing the Copperbelt’ is an ERC-funded research project, running at the University of Oxford from 2016-2021. The project aims to examine the Copperbelt (in both Zambia and the DR Congo) as a single region divided by a (post-)colonial border, across which flowed minerals, people and ideas. It analyses how academic knowledge production (e.g. by the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute and CEPSI) shaped understanding of Copperbelt societies and it seeks ways to explore Copperbelt political culture and popular perceptions from a historical perspective.

The conference, held in conjunction with Oxford’s African Studies Centre and Centre for Global History, represents the culmination of the project’s research and builds on workshops held in Kitwe in July 2018 and in Lubumbashi in July 2019. It aims to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to discuss the region’s shared histories and share ideas on social, environmental and cultural history. The conference also features a panel launching the project’s edited volume ‘Across the Copperbelt: Urban & Social Change in Central Africa’s Borderland Communities’.

For updated programme and abstracts: tinyurl.com/2s5xknsf

Project website: copperbelt.history.ox.ac.uk

All welcome. To register, email: copperbelt@history.ox.ac.uk

 

PROGRAMME (online via Zoom)

Day 1, Friday 18 June

09:00 – 09:15 (all timings UK BST) Welcome and Introductions

09:15 – 10:45 Panel 1: States, Unions and Mining

Chair: Miles Larmer (Oxford)

Speakers:

  • Hyden Munene (Free State): ‘‘Black Horse White Rider’: The Evolution of Labour and Racial Relations in the Copperbelt Mines, 1928–1991’
  • Timothy Makori (Maastricht): ‘The Extrastatecraft of Artisanal Mines in the Congolese Copperbelt’
  • Thomas McNamara (LaTrobe): ‘The Unions have Reoriented Towards Entrepreneurship: Neoliberal Solidarities on Zambia’s Copperbelt’

Discussant: Duncan Money (Leiden)

 

11:15 – 13:00 Panel 2: Launch Event for ‘Across the Copperbelt: Urban & Social Change in Central Africa’s Borderland Communities’

Chair: Iva Peša (Groningen)

We welcome Sofie Samuelsson from publisher, James Currey, to talk about the book, after which participating speakers will introduce their contributions to this volume:

  • Hélène Blaszkiewicz
  • Jennifer Chibamba
  • Chansa Hikabwa
  • Chipande Donatien
  • Dibwe dia Mwembu
  • David Gordon
  • Enid Guene
  • Benoît Henriet
  • Rita Kesselring
  • Stephanie Lämmert
  • Duncan Money
  • Christian Straube
  • Rachel Taylor

 

14:00 – 15:30 Panel 3: ‘Comparing the Copperbelt’: Papers from the University of Lubumbashi – note, this panel will be held in French

Chair: Enid Guene (Oxford) / Donatien Dibwe dia Mwembu (UNILU)

Speakers:

  • Michael Kasombo Tshibanda, Agnès Mwamba Chomba and Diane Kabedy’a Sombw (UNILU): ‘Toponymie urbaine: réglementation hier et aujourd’hui dans le Copperbelt congolais et zambien. Etude comparative’
  • Jean-Pierre Kalembwe Longwa (UNILU): ‘Trafic transfrontalier dans le Copperbelt Zambie-Congo : le phénomène “Bilanga” ‘
  • Ken Anastase Mwembu Dibwe (UNILU): ‘Logique de vote dans l’espace Copperbelt RDC-Zambie (Essai d’analyse critique sur les motivations du vote)’

Discussant: Nancy Rose Hunt (Florida)

 

Day 2, Saturday 19 June

09:30 – 11:00 Panel 4: Historiography, Methodology and Knowledge Production

Chair: Benoît Henriet (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Speakers:

  • Beatriz Serrazina (Coimbra): ‘Expanding the Copperbelt: Crossborder Connections with Angola’
  • Miyanda Simabwachi (Chalimbana): ‘A History of the Copperbelt Mining Companies’ Archives: Past and Present’
  • Miles Larmer (Oxford): ‘Historicising Knowledge Production and the Social History of the Copperbelt’

Discussant: Peter Brooke (Oxford)

 

11:30 – 13:00 Panel 5: Copperbelt Society and Culture

Chair: Rachel Taylor (Oxford)

Speakers:

  • Walima Kalusa (Eswatini): ‘Educated Girls, Clothes and Christianity: Subverting Mabel Shaw’s Sartorial Agenda on the Colonial Zambian Copperbelt, 1925-1955’
  • Sarah van Beurden (Ohio State): ‘Monastic Arts and the History of Visual Modernism in the Congolese Copperbelt (1945–1985)’
  • Daniela Waldburger (Vienna): ‘Beer, Cinema, Sports and Women: Notions of Masculinity in the Nostalgic Narratives of Ex-Mine Workers in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo’

Discussant: Patience Mususa (Nordic Africa Institute)

 

This conference will be held online through Zoom.