After having finished my studies in History and African Studies, I received a Ph.D. degree from Leiden University (The Netherlands) in 1996 with a thesis on oral and written literature, identity and gender in Central Kenya. I then worked at Cologne University (Germany) on a post-doctoral research project, studying violence and exile on the basis of fieldwork with refugees from South-East Angola. From 2001 to 2004 I was engaged in research at Ghent University on the relations between nationalism, religion and popular culture in Northern Angola.
In 2005-2006 I carried out a project on the socio-cultural history of forty years of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation at the African Studies Centre in Leiden. Between 2007 and 2013 I was engaged in a programme on communication technologies, mobility and social relations in historical perspective, with as research focus south-east Angola, while at the same time co-ordinating the programme (https://mobileafricarevisited.wordpress.com/ ).
As of 2014 I taught at Ghent University on a part-time basis and carried out historical research within the Kongo King project (http://www.kongoking.org/).
At present I am working as professor African Studies at the Department of African Languages and Cultures at Ghent University (Belgium). My fields of research include: African literature, African popular culture, and African history. The themes of my research engage African literature, performance, popular culture, narrative, literacy and books in the wider context of communication and public debate in terms of cultural history. Geographically the focus is on Kenya and Angola.
- Introduction into African Literatures
- Genres and Themes in African Literatures
- Language, Culture and Society in Africa
- Media, discourse and representation of/from Africa
- Fieldwork in Africa
- Gender and Identity in African Literatures
- Literature, Media and the Arts in Central and Eastern Africa
- Research Seminar
- Global Processes in Historical Perspective
- Language, History and Identity in Central and Eastern Africa
- Secretary of the Exam Committee (African Languages and Cultures, UGent)
- Secretary of the Evaluation Policy Committee (African Languages and Cultures, UGent)
- Secretary of the Educational Programme Committee (African Languages and Cultures, UGent)
- Coreteam member of the Diversity Team (Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, UGent)
- Responsible for the Library Collection L91 African Cultural History (Library Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, UGent)
- Editorial Board: Africa Book Link: http://africabooklink.com/
- Advisory Board: Bridging Humanities – Platform for Alternative Methodologies: http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/25425099
- Editorial Board: Lusotopie
- Board of Ghent Africa Platform
- Reviewer for various international journals
Paper for the 4th Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies (EALCS) Conference
Date: 16 – 18 August 2019
Place: Woldia University, Ethiopia
Title for paper: Confinement and beyond. Imagining place, mobility and connections in Kenyan detention diaries
1. Introduction during Book Launch: Afrikaanse Letterkunde (written by Mineke Schipper, Daniela Merolla and Inge Brinkman, Amsterdam University Press), Leiden, African Studies Centre, 17 May 2019
2. Organisation of a Lecture (Internationalisation@Home-event): Dr. Sue McWatts, ‘Domestic worker narratives in South Africa: An analysis of their language of pain’, Ghent, 6 March 2019.
3. Organisation of a Book Launch (together with Koen Bostoen). The Kongo Kingdom, Cambridge University Press. With guest speaker: Wilfried N’Sondé. Ghent, 5 December 2018.
4. Organisation of a Lecture: Dr. Sarah van Beurden (Ohio State University), ‘The Cultural Politics of Art and Heritage in Central Africa’, Ghent, AL&C, 14 November 2018.
5. Visit with over 60 participants (students and staff AL&C) to Kirina, performance by Serge Coulibaly, Faso Danse Théatre and Rokia Traoré, in Vooruit, Ghent, 8 November 2018.
6. Organisation of a Lecture: Serge Coulibaly, creator of Kirina, Ghent, AL&C, 7 November 2018.
7. Participation in YEBO training, workshop on ‘Intercultural Competencies’, Bloemfontein (South-Africa), 22-25 October 2018.
8. Participation in Colloquium Afrikaans, Ghent, 5 October 2018.
1. Organisation of Thematic Stream (Godwin Siundu, Tom Odhiambo & Inge Brinkman), ASA-UK, Birmingham, 11-13 September 2018. Title: ‘Text, paratext and context in African autobiographical narratives.’ Organisation of 5 panels with 16 papers.
Title of my presentation in the stream: ‘Translating, editing and self-realisation in Gakaara wa Wanjaũ‘s Mau Mau Author in Detention’
2. Participation in launch of Brill open access journal Bridging Humanities, Amsterdam, 7 June 2018 as member of the Advisory Board.
3. Organisation of a Lecture: Prof. Gastor Mapunda (University of Dar es Salaam): ‘Multilingualism and the Handling of Primary Education in Rural Tanzania’, Ghent, AL&C, 21 March 2018.
4. Organisation of a Lecture: Dr. Sophie Feyder, ‘Private photographic collections from black photographers and the making of archives’, Ghent, AL&C, 20 December 2017.
5. Paper for TAPAS Workshop: ‘(Dis)claiming pasts’, 14/15 December 2017, Ghent. Title of the presentation: ‘Self-realisation, history and the state in Mau Mau autobiographical writing (Kenya)’.
6. Paper for Symposium 'African Art with Words', in the framework of farewell to Daniela Merolla, 1 December 2017, Leiden. Title of the presentation: ‘The Girl and Her Brother’. Concepts of Slavery and Gender Relations in a Gikuyu Tale from Central Kenya.’
7. Organisation of a Lecture: Dr. Walter Nkwi (History, University of Buea, Cameroon), ‘Colonialism and communication: the case of British Cameroon’, Ghent, AL&C, 22 November 2017.
8. 6 october 2017, Ghent: Interview Willem Anker over Buys, ‘n grensroman (2017), in the framework of the: ‘Week van de Afrikaanse Roman’. For a report, see: http://www.litnet.co.za/week-van-de-afrikaanse-roman-2017-letterkundig-symposium-en-slotfeest/
1. Organisation of a Workshop (with Maxim Rigaux & Elizabeth Amann), Ghent, 25 April 2017: “Memories of Being Possessed. Literary Representations of Slavery Throughout History.” With contributions from: Elizabeth Wright, Maxim Rigaux, Sarah Adams, Inge Brinkman and Felicitas Becker. Title of the presentation: ‘The Girl and Her Brother’. Concepts of Slavery and Gender Relations in a Gikuyu Tale from Central Kenya.’
2. Lecture for Poetry Union of Ghent University Auw La: Ghent, 20 March 2017. Title of the presentation: ‘Gikuyu slam-dichters in Kenia: gĩcaandĩ in historisch perspectief’.
3. Library Merelbeke, 8, 15, 22 March 2017: Series of Lectures on African Literatures.
4. Organisation of a Lecture, Ghent, 20 December 2016: In Koli Jean Bofane, Congolese writer.
5. Paper in Migration Studies Group, Ghent, 11 December 2016. Title of the presentation: ‘Travelling words, travelling people: Mobility, space and place on the Kenyan Pundit weblog’.
6. Paper in Collaborative Research Group History of the African Studies Centre, Leiden, 28 November 2016. Title of the presentation: ‘History, fiction and Kenyan autobiography’.
7. Paper & Participation in conference: ‘Music and Dance Research in East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, 12-13 October 2016. Title of the presentation: ‘Representing performance. Memories of music and dance in Kenyan autobiographical writing’.
1. Paper & Workshop ‘Digital Publics in Africa’, Cambridge, 10 September 2016. Title of the presentation: ‘Social diary and news production: audience and identity in social media during elections in Kenya (2007)’.
2. Paper & Participation in conference: ASA-UK, Cambridge, 7-9 September 2016. Title of the presentation: ‘Mau Mau memoirs and Kenyan cultural history’.
3. Introduction, TAPAS (Thinking about the past), Ghent, 7 June 2016, Introduction into discussion on Wole Soyinka.
4. Paper & organisation, Ghent, 26-27 May 2016: Workshop KongoKing with international guest speakers and KongoKing team members. Title of the presentation: ‘Book cultures: Kongo vocabulary for the concept ‘book’ from the 17th to the 20th century’.
5. Paper, Ghent, 22 March 2016: Literary Studies Workshop. Title of the presentation: ‘Outlining the paper ‘Mau Mau memoirs and Kenyan cultural history’.
6. Lecture: Nairobi, British Institute for Eastern Africa (BIEA), 4 February 2016:
‘Song and nationalism: political communication during the Angolan and Kenyan liberation wars (1950s-1975).’ http://www.biea.ac.uk/event/song-and-nationalism-political-communication-during-the-angolan-and-kenyan-liberation-wars-1950s-1975/
7. Participation in conference, Ghent, 17 December 2015: GAPSYM, ‘The role of trade with Africa’.
8. Discussant. Ghent 1 December 2015: TAPAS (Thinking about the past), discussant to the lecture of Paul Bijl, ‘From innocence to grudge. Colonial memory in The Netherlands’.
9. Paper & participation in Symposium: Birmingham University (UK), 12-14 November 2015: ‘Landscapes, Sources, and Intellectual Projects in African History: Rethinking Historical Evidence and its Interpretation’, in honour of Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias.
Title of the presentation: ‘The material aspects of the Christian education system in the Kongo Kingdom (16th-18th century)’.
10. Lecture: Bayreuth (Germany), 3 November 2015, Guest lecture in the African History Seminar, organised by Prof. Achim von Oppen. Title of the presentation: ‘Education and politics in the sixteenth century Kongo Kingdom’.
For a full list of papers and presentations, do not hesitate to contact me.
- December 2017, INALCO, Paris, committee of PhD defence: Aicha Aid Berry, ‘Rituel et Oralité chez les Ait Soukhmanes. Le cérémonial du mariage: une pratique en mutation’. Supervised by Prof. dr. Daniela Merolla.
- November 2017: Ghent: Secretary to the committee of PhD defence: Deo Kawalya, 'A corpus-driven study of the expression of modality in Luganda (Bantu, JE15)'. Supervised by Prof . Dr. Koen Bostoen and Prof. Dr. Gilles-Maurice de Schryver.
- February 2017: Helsinki, Finland: committee of PhD defence: Jonna Katto, ‘Beautiful Mozambique. Haptics of belonging in the life narratives of female war veterans’. Supervised by Prof. Dr. Axel Fleisch.
- November 2016: Ghent: committee of PhD defence Lydia Namatende, ‘Agency within Interstices of Subodination [sic]: Female Teacher Educators’ Gendered Lived Experiences in Uganda’. Supervised by: Prof. dr. Chia Longman and Prof. dr. Martin Valcke.
- September 2016: Ghent: committee of PhD defence Bastiaan de Roo, ‘Colonial taxation in Africa. A fiscal history of the Congo through the lens of customs (1886-1914)’. Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Baz Lecocq.
- July, 2016: Ghent: Secretary to committee of PhD defence: Mrisho Malipula, ‘Ethnicity, Voting and the Promises of the Independence Movement in Tanzania: The Case of the 2010 General Elections in Mwanza’. Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Koenraad Stroeken.
- May 2016: Leiden, committee of PhD defence of Fatima Diallo, 'L'état spontex. Négocier l'autorité dans les marges conflictuelles: le cas de la Basse-Casamance (Sénégal)'. Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Mirjam de Bruijn and Prof. Dr. Han van Dijk (ASC, Leiden).
- April, 2016: Lisbon, committee of PhD defence of Pedro Miguel Mendes Pereira Figueiredo Neto, ‘Um mundo em movimento. Horizontes operativos entre refugiados e regressados angolanos (Campo de Meheba, Zâmbia)’. Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Rosa Maria de Figueiredo Perez (ISCTE, Lisbon) and Prof. Dr. Michel Agier (EHESS, Paris).