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“Violence In/And the Great Lakes: The Thought of V.Y. Mudimbe and Beyond”

Date Released: Tue, 6 August 2013 14:59 +0200

The Annual Thinking Africa Colloquium will be hosted by Rhodes University’s Department of Political and International Studies from 7 to 9 August 2013 under the theme, ‘Violence In/And the Great Lakes: The Thought of V.Y. Mudimbe and Beyond’.

This year’s colloquium is organised in collaboration with Prof Grant Farred from Cornell University and uses the work of internationally renowned philosopher, scholar and author, Prof Valentin Yves Mudimbe of Duke University in the United States to reflect upon the current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Speakers include Prof Mudimbe, Prof Farred (Cornell University), Prof Kasareka Kavwahirehi (University of Ottawa), Prof Olga Hél-Bongo (Université Laval), Prof Leonhard Praeg (Rhodes University), Prof  Zubairu Wai (Lakehead University) and Prof Ngwarsungu Chiwengo (Creighton University).

According to co-organiser and senior lecturer in the Department of Political and International Studies, Dr Sally Matthews, the colloquium is designed to take up Prof Mudimbe’s invitation to think on violence in/and the Great Lakes.

She says it is intended to foster a conversation in which the violence in/and the Great Lakes can be discussed from a range of vantage points, with as many investments and critiques as possible.

Speakers will present their work for 40 minutes, after which there will be discussion by  the participants and the audience.

According to co-organiser Prof Farred, “the logic of this is to encourage us to build on each others’ presentations so that we might see where that takes us. What kind of questions do the various presentations raise? Can a coherence or dis-symmetry, perhaps even a critical tension, be detected? What happens when these different issues are set in motion?”

Rhodes University postgraduate students will be involved in the colloquium and will participate in a course called ‘African Theory’ in which they are required to read the work of various key African scholars, among them Prof Mudimbe.

It is envisaged that students will be well prepared to engage in discussions of Mudimbe’s views having read his work and participated in some seminars on his work.

Prof Mudimbe’s latest book, On African Faultlines: Meditations on Alterity Politics, which forms part of the Thinking Africa book series, will also be launched.

The Thinking Africa project runs annual colloquiums on themes broadly relevant to the study of Africa. It is the flagship project of the Department of Political and International Studies at Rhodes University.

By Sarah-Jane Bradfield