Past event

Guest Lecture with Prof Miles Larmer, University of Oxford Living for the City: Social Change and Knowledge Production in the Central African Copperbelt

The history of African societies and the post-colonial analysis of knowledge production about African societies have commonly occupied separate spheres in the western academy. While the latter has, following Edward Said, helpfully drawn attention to the role of knowledge production in European colonial domination of the non-western world, it has also tended to relegate indigenous knowledge production about African social change to a separate sphere.

Living for the City brings together ‘elite' and ‘subaltern' knowledge production about the Central African Copperbelt (of DR Congo and Zambia) into a single frame of analysis to explain how global (academic, colonial and post-colonial state, and international organisational) analysts and local (political activist, labour union, letter writers and artists and musicians) each sought to explain and make claims about the radical processes of social change that the region experienced from the 1950s to the 1990s. In doing so, it proposes new approaches to the intellectual history of sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

Professor Larmer joined the University of Oxford's History Faculty in 2013, in the African Studies Centre. His research focuses on southern and central Africa, specialising in the modern history of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, analysing how local historical agents have engaged and intersected with global historical dynamics, and challenging the ‘methodological nationalism' of much of modern African historiography.

All welcome.