Preliminary Programme

Wed 12 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 14 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 15 April
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00

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Wednesday 12 April 2023 14.00 - 16.00
B-3 AFR01a European Identities in Africa – Session 1: Going European
Victoriagatan 13, A252
Network: Africa Chair: Márcia Gonçalves
Organizers: Márcia Gonçalves, Márcia Gonçalves Discussants: -
Moderators: -
Margret Frenz : My Club is My Castle. Goan Connections across Continents
Clubbing has been part and parcel of the lives of many Goans, whether in India, or East Africa, and later on, Europe, North America, or Australia. A varied club ‘scape’ across India and East Africa was a feature of colonial times, particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries. It diversified ... (Show more)
Clubbing has been part and parcel of the lives of many Goans, whether in India, or East Africa, and later on, Europe, North America, or Australia. A varied club ‘scape’ across India and East Africa was a feature of colonial times, particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries. It diversified from the mid-20th century to include all continents.
In East Africa, clubs were focal points for leisure activities of Goans, and provided the framework within which social, cultural, and sporting events took place. Exchanges between different clubs, sporting events across Uganda, Kenya, and Tanganyika, as well as so-called interracial tournaments created a web of connections between Goans in different East African settings and between Goans, Europeans, and Africans within a city or village. Negotiating these layers of connections within and outside the community hinged on questions of self-perceptions of identity – of being Goan / Indian / African / European and a combination thereof. At the same time, perceptions were influenced by structures in colonial and post-colonial societies. (Show less)

Alexander Keese, Naïma Maggetti : What Remained of the Assimilation Paradigm? Late Colonial Senegal, Material Culture, Interaction, and Political Decolonization, 1945–1960
It is now a kind of historians’ wisdom that colonial planners and administrators in French West Africa abandoned the idea of “assimilation” in the early 1950s, if not immediately after the Second World War and in spite of their “French Union” rhetoric. The classic studies by Frederick Cooper (while remaining ... (Show more)
It is now a kind of historians’ wisdom that colonial planners and administrators in French West Africa abandoned the idea of “assimilation” in the early 1950s, if not immediately after the Second World War and in spite of their “French Union” rhetoric. The classic studies by Frederick Cooper (while remaining debatable on a number of points) have demonstrated that ideas of “assimilation” were indeed very expensive as soon as it came to workers’ social rights and payment scales – so that politicians considering reform in colonial issues would have been all too happy to find solutions that eliminated the assimilation of rights for African officials of the public sector, or those working in the small industrial sector. However, little is known on how material improvement and social ascension in the Senegalese Quatre Communes and other urban centres played themselves out in the 1950s, and who yet identified with “French culture” at the time.
This paper will analyse where the assimilation paradigm was yet mobilised by African individuals in an urban context in a period characterised by nationalist engagement and protest for social emancipation, while shedding light on observations made by French security services and administrators to describe social change. (Show less)

Eva Schalbroeck : The Unlikely ‘Fathers’ of European Identity in Belgian Colonial Africa: how Catholic Missionaries Navigated Racial Diversity and Modernity through ‘Europeanness’
Catholic missionaries have been largely overlooked in scholarly debates on how European identity was shaped during imperial ‘encounters’ with Others. We could easily insert these missionaries into this debate, by outlining how their ideas of Europeanness mirrored their ideas of African identity. However, such a straightforward link between religion and ... (Show more)
Catholic missionaries have been largely overlooked in scholarly debates on how European identity was shaped during imperial ‘encounters’ with Others. We could easily insert these missionaries into this debate, by outlining how their ideas of Europeanness mirrored their ideas of African identity. However, such a straightforward link between religion and (racial) identity cannot be forged due to missionaries’ commitment to (religious) conversion and social transformation. This paper investigates such complex identity politics through the case of Belgian Catholic missionaries in colonial Congo (1885-1960).

Firstly, I examine how Catholic Belgian missionaries’ conceptions of race shifted from assimilationism to (extreme) acculturation between the beginning and the end of colonial rule. As missionaries debated whether racial differences should, respectively, be obliterated or (selectively or racially) embraced, they also reconsidered their own role in intercultural relationships: should the missionary defend universal Christianity against divisions or was he a moral arbiter, distinguishing between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ customs or someone who guided the Congolese in their discovery of their inherent Christian identity? Secondly, I examine Europeanness as a category through which missionaries shaped their relationships with state actors and commercial companies as well as a notion through which they confirmed the political, ‘world-making’ role of the Catholic Church and its place in a modernizing and secularizing world.

This paper not only deconstructs missionaries’ identity politics but also contextualises their ideas about identity by analysing them in light of their concrete relationships with various colonial actors (including state officials, settlers, and Congolese catechists and priests) as well as their (embodied) knowledge practices. Missionaries namely appropriated certain (scientific, juridical) types of knowledge, for example, to acquit a missionary from infanticide and delegitimize anti-clericals, while effectively side-lined oral, Congolese testimonies. Moreover, they not only used their body to shore up European superiority, but also used this corporeal interface between the African environment and their soul to navigate dislocation and (personal) transformation, as well as European relationships. In the ‘culture war’ between assimilationists and extreme adaptationists, the notion of (mis)translation of African (oral) knowledge, Catholic principles, etc.) played a central role.

In short, this paper reveals Europeanness as a construction through which missionaries negotiated the fluid boundary between Europeans and Africans on the on the hand and politics, religion, and economy on the other, through shrewd, selective epistemological politics. Precisely because Catholic Fathers are not the most obvious ‘(pro)creators’ of European identity, their identity politics give fresh insight into the various ways in which Europeanness was instrumentalized to deal with an ever diversifying and modernizing colonial world. (Show less)

Stephanie van Dam, Márcia Gonzalves & Catia Antunes : Expertise & Whiteness as Social Capital: Sir Granville St John Orde Browne’s Imperial Career, 1883-1947
In 1938, Sir Granville St John Orde Browne declined a request from the Colonial Office in London to look into the working conditions of white workers in Northern Rhodesia. Orde Browne claimed it was more within his expertise to write on black labourers and refused to engage with the question ... (Show more)
In 1938, Sir Granville St John Orde Browne declined a request from the Colonial Office in London to look into the working conditions of white workers in Northern Rhodesia. Orde Browne claimed it was more within his expertise to write on black labourers and refused to engage with the question of white labour. This paper centres the case of Orde Browne to consider the question of how Europeans in African countries in the first half of the 20th century, used their careers and their whiteness as a vehicle for social mobility. Through an analysis of Orde Browne’s personal papers and colonial records, this paper asks how Orde Browne, the first labour advisor to the Secretary of State of the Colonial Office, went from an officer in the War Office to the so-called expert on Colonial Labour within the scope of his career – 1883 to 1947. This paper argues that whiteness, masculinity, and imperial careering could be used to crawl closer to a colonial elite through a proclamation of expertise over black working bodies and a stated distance from white working bodies. By connecting the historiography on imperial constructions of race, gender, class and sex with work on imperial networks this paper highlights how imperial careers in their own right constituted and drew from classed, racialised, and gendered notions of expertise and exploitation. (Show less)



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