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Kinshasa’s Makeovers Between Dream and Reality


Feb 17 2016


12:00 pm - 1:15 pm


Forum for Scholars and Publics

011 Old Chemistry Building, Duke's West Campus Quad

Kinshasa’s Makeovers Between Dream and Reality

Illuminating the Hole

Kinshasa’s Makeovers Between Dream and Reality

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 decentering 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.

Free and open to the public. Light lunch served. 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 Bartlett, Charlie 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…...

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