By The Africa Institute

June 13, 2022

The Africa Institute hosted a seminar with Pedro Monaville, Assistant Professor of History from New York University in Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), on June 13, 2022.

To engage in the conversation, the seminar invited faculty, fellows as well as academics, researchers and students from the UAE community.

With Professor Monaville’s  first book, Students of the World: Decolonization and Global 1968 in the Congo, coming out with Duke University Press in June 2022, the crux of the seminar explored the role of students in Congo’s contested period of decolonization and revealed how students built transnational emancipatory frameworks that offered new possibilities for imagining Congo’s future. 

Using memory work, reconstructing complex biographical trajectories, and documenting a specific generational subjectivity, Pedro shared his methodology as he reinscribes the Congo in the Global 1960s.

“My talk aims to expose the political imagination and how students reacted through the 1960s as well as connecting Congo to the world,” said Professor Monaville.

In his presentation he contextualizes how Congolese student activists refused to accept the closing of the temporal horizon envisioned by Lumumba, which signaled a shift away from a past of colonial oppression and towards a future of sovereignty, dignity, and justice.  Initially developed as a struggle to decolonize higher education, the Congolese student movement rapidly articulated a project of radical emancipation that went well beyond university campuses. As political actors, students could take advantage of opportunities to travel, read, and access diverse ideas and people. Doing so, they acted as agents of mediations between the Congo and the world.

Furthermore, his book goes on to trace a generation of Congolese student activists who sought to decolonize university campuses and challenged the Mobutu dictatorship in the 1960s. By exploring the modes of being and thinking that shaped their politics, the book charts new ways of writing histories of the global 1960s from Africa.

Monaville’s ongoing research projects include a study of the decolonization of the Catholic Church in the Congo, a biography of the Congolese historian T.K. Biaya, and an edited English translation of André Yoka Lye’s Kinshasa: Signes de Vie.  Monaville has also published extensively on questions related to colonial memory in Belgium.

The Africa Institute hosted a seminar with Pedro Monaville, Assistant Professor of History from New York University in Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), on June 13, 2022.

The Africa Institute hosted a seminar with Pedro Monaville, Assistant Professor of History from New York University in Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), on June 13, 2022.

To engage in the conversation, the seminar invited faculty, fellows as well as academics, researchers and students from the UAE community.

With Professor Monaville’s  first book, Students of the World: Decolonization and Global 1968 in the Congo, coming out with Duke University Press in June 2022, the crux of the seminar explored the role of students in Congo’s contested period of decolonization and revealed how students built transnational emancipatory frameworks that offered new possibilities for imagining Congo’s future. 

Using memory work, reconstructing complex biographical trajectories, and documenting a specific generational subjectivity, Pedro shared his methodology as he reinscribes the Congo in the Global 1960s.

“My talk aims to expose the political imagination and how students reacted through the 1960s as well as connecting Congo to the world,” said Professor Monaville.

In his presentation he contextualizes how Congolese student activists refused to accept the closing of the temporal horizon envisioned by Lumumba, which signaled a shift away from a past of colonial oppression and towards a future of sovereignty, dignity, and justice.  Initially developed as a struggle to decolonize higher education, the Congolese student movement rapidly articulated a project of radical emancipation that went well beyond university campuses. As political actors, students could take advantage of opportunities to travel, read, and access diverse ideas and people. Doing so, they acted as agents of mediations between the Congo and the world.

Furthermore, his book goes on to trace a generation of Congolese student activists who sought to decolonize university campuses and challenged the Mobutu dictatorship in the 1960s. By exploring the modes of being and thinking that shaped their politics, the book charts new ways of writing histories of the global 1960s from Africa.

Monaville’s ongoing research projects include a study of the decolonization of the Catholic Church in the Congo, a biography of the Congolese historian T.K. Biaya, and an edited English translation of André Yoka Lye’s Kinshasa: Signes de Vie.  Monaville has also published extensively on questions related to colonial memory in Belgium.

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