Thursday, 25 July 2013

Programme for the 3rd Thinking Africa Colloquium

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

Tuesday:  06 August 2013 

5pm: Conference Introduction:

Saleem Badat (Rhodes University)

Siphokazi Magadla (Rhodes University)

Grant Farred (Cornell University)

6pm:V.Y. Mudimbe Book Launch

Wednesday: 07 August 2013
9am: Conference Registration

10am -- 11.30am: Grant Farred (Cornell University): “Goethe's Symbol: ‘The thing without being the thing.’"

Lunch: 11.30am-1pm

1-2.30pm: Laura Kerr (Mental Health Scholar): "A Phenomenology of Violence."

Tea/Coffee: 2.30pm -- 3.15pm

3.15 -- 4.45pm: Olga Hél-Bongo (
Université Laval): “Ethics and Aesthetic of Violence in the Work of V.Y. Mudimbe"

Thursday: 08 August 2013

Coffee: 9.30 -- 10am

10am -- 11.30am: Leonard Praeg (Rhodes University): “Postcards from the Postcolony.”

Lunch: 11.30am -- 1pm

1 -- 2.30pm: Kasareka Kavwahirehi (University of Ottawa): "For a Common Ascension in Humanity."

Tea/Coffee: 2.30 -- 3.15pm

3.15 -- 4.45pm: Zubairu Wai (Lakehead University): “The Colonial Library: Conflicts and the Predicaments of Africanist Knowledge.”

17:00 – V-Y Mudimbe to participate in a discussion on Francophone literature at the Rhodes University School of Languages.

Friday: 09 August 2013
Coffee: 9.30 -- 10am

10 -- 11.30am: Justin K. Bisanswa (Université Laval): "Violence in details and details of  violence in Mudimbe's novels."

Lunch: 11.30am -- 1pm

1 -- 2.30pm: Ngwarsungu Chiwengo (Creighton University): “Making Visible and Eradicating Congo’s History of Violence: Maiming the Female/National Body.”

Tea/Coffee: 2.30 -- 3.15pm

3.15 -- 5pm: Conference Keynote Address by V.Y. Mudimbe (Duke University): “Debitores sumus … On Ways of Exhausting Our Question On Violence”. Chair: Kasareka Kavwahirehi (University of Ottawa).

5 – 5.15pm: Publication Requirements: Leonard Praeg (Rhodes University).


1.      V-Y Mudimbe teaches at Duke University, USA. His publications include The Invention of Africa (Indiana University Press, 1988) and The Idea of Africa (Indiana University Press, 1994). He is also the editor of The Surreptitious Speech: “Présence Africaine” and the Politics of Otherness, 1947-1987 (University of Chicago Press, 1992).

2.      Olga Hel-Bongo is professor of Literature at the Université Laval (Québec) and specialist of African,Caribbean and Maghrebian Literature. His recent publications include: “Discours de l’autre et invention de soi dans L’écart de V.Y. Mudimbe” (Recherches Francophones, 2007), Enonciation dans le roman francophone (Recherches francophones, 2007) and Roman francophone et modernité ( Forthcoming, 2013).

3.      Justin K. Bisanswa holds the Chair of African Literature and Francophonie at the Université Laval (Québec). His recent publications include Dire le social dans le roman francophone (2011), Roman africain contemporain. Fiction de la fiction de la modernité et du réalisme (2009) and Inscription et Prescription : V.Y. Mudimbe (Forthcoming, 2013)

4.      Kasereka Kavwahirehi,is Professor of French at the University of Ottawa (Canada). His recent publications include: V.Y. Mudimbe et la ré-invention de l’Afrique(2006), L’Afrique, entre Passé et futur. L’Urgence d’un choix public de l’intelligence (2009)and Beyond the Lines : Fabien Eboussi Boulaga, a Philosophical Practice (2012), coedited with Lidia Procesi.

5.      Laura K. Kerr is a Mental Health Scholar (PhD, Stanford University School of Education) and a Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern (MA, Pacifica Graduate Institute) specializing in the treatment of trauma and has an interest in Jungian (archetypal) psychology. Prior to embarking on a career as a psychotherapist, Dr. Kerr was affiliated with the Beatrice M. Bain Research Group at University of California, Berkeley, the Institute for Research on Women & Gender at Stanford University, and taught at Stanford, including teaching a graduate course with V. Y. Mudimbe (and others) titled The Phenomenology of Madness. With V. Y. Mudimbe and Pere Gode Iwele, Dr. Kerr edited The Normal and Its Orders: Reading George Canguilhem (Editions Malaïka, 2007). You can find out more about Dr. Kerr at

6.      Zubairu Wai is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. He holds a PhD in Political Science from York University, Toronto; a Master’s degree in International Relations from the International University of Japan, and a BA Honours degree in History from the University of Sierra Leone. He is the author of Epistemologies of African Conflicts: Violence, Evolutionism and the War in Sierra Leone (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). His research adopts critical theory and postcolonial perspectives to address questions of power, knowledge, identity and representation in the discourses and political economy of violence, conflicts, security and development.

7.      Ngwarsungu Chiwengo, Professor of English at Creighton University, is a native of Congo (DRC). She obtained her license (BA) at the National University of Zaire (currently UNILU) and her Ph.D at SUNY/Buffalo. As a Fulbright scholarship grantee, she taught at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa for two years prior to her return to Congo (DRC) where she taught at The University of Lubumbashi for nine years as Assistant and Associate Professor and chaired the English Department. During the Mobutu transition, she was respectively Federal and Vice-president of The Democratic Christian Social Party (PDSC) and later its USA representative. Upon her return to the United States, she taught at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, for four years and is currently teaching at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where she has been director of the World Literature Program and acting director of African and Black Studies. She is currently Director of Black Studies and board member of the Great Plains Black Museum. Her scholarly work has appeared in journals such as South Atlantic Quarterly, Journal of Black Studies, La revue de l'université de Moncton, and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In her book Understanding "Cry, the Beloved Country," (Greenwood Press, 2007), she analyzes the literary and historical background of Alan Paton's 1948 novel about racial tensions in South Africa.

8.      Grant Farred teaches at Cornell University. His books include What’s My Name? Black Vernacular Intellectuals (University of Minnesota Press, 2004), Phantom Calls: Race and the Globalization of the NBA (Prickly Paradigm, 2006) and Long Distance Love: A Passion for Football (Temple University Press, 2008). He served as General Editor of the Duke University-based journal, “The South Atlantic Quarterly,” from 2002 to 2010. He is the editor of the forthcoming book series, “Thinking Theory Now,” Stanford University Press. His forthcoming works include: In Motion, At Rest: The Event of the Athletic Body (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Conciliation (Temple University Press).

9.      Leonhard Praeg teaches at Rhodes University, South Africa. He is the author of African Philosophy and the Quest for Autonomy: A Philosophical Investigation (Rodopi, 2000) and The Geometry of Violence: Girard, Africa, Modernity (SUN Press, 2007). He is editor of the Thinking Africa Book Series which will include his forthcoming A Report on Ubuntu (UKZN Press, 2014), Ubuntu: A Reader (ed) (UKZN Press, 2014) and, co-edited with S. Magadla, Ubuntu: Curating the Archive (UKZN Press, 2014).

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