Filip de Boeck | “Illuminating the Hole”: Kinshasa’s Makeover Between Dream and Reality

Date: February 17, 2016
Time: 12:00pm Location: Forum For Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)

Cross-posted at the Forum for Scholars and Publics

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 decentring 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.  If you’d like a copy of the paper, please contact Charlie Piot.