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ASAUK 2012, Uncategorized

Panel 9 Theatre in DR Congo


Panel Title: Theatre in DR Congo

This panel will be presented at the biannual conference of the ASAUK (African Studies Association in the UK) in September 2012 (Leeds, Sept 6-8). The organizers have invited the Congo Research Network to participate in this. 12 Congo related panels have been accepted.

If you wish to participate, you can join already accepted panels or you can submit a stand-alone paper. Participants should submit their paper abstracts via the ASAUK website. First, they should register as authors, then select the panel in which they want to participate, and then enter their abstract.

The following link gives you more information about registration: http://www.asauk.net/conferences/asauk12.shtml

The deadline for the submission of paper abstracts is 27 April 2012.

To attend the event without presenting a paper, contact the conference organizer David Kerr (conference@asauk.net, +44 (0)121 414 5124)

Panel Convenor: Dr. Katrien Pype

Panel Description:

The panel seeks to analyse theatre production in postcolonial Zaire/Congo. During the colonial period, missionaries have invested much in local dramatic arts. The consequence is that theatre on stage has been an important site of art production, next to music and dance, during the colonial period. This has continued throughout the postcolonial era. Today, every Congolese city hosts various drama groups, and Congolese organize theatre festivals on their own territory. Some dramaturges and comedians participate regularly in theatre festivals abroad. Church groups have their own drama groups, and some also produce television serials.

While Congolese and Zairian dramatic arts have attracted much attention from international development aid agencies and cultural centres, the topic has not received the attention it deserves in international academic milieus. Despite some publications during the 1990s (Ngandu-Nkashama, Fabian, and Mbala Nkanga), Congolese dramatic arts are hardly studied nowadays. The panel seeks to fill in this void.

We invite scholars that deal with any of the following aspects of postcolonial Zairian/Congolese theatre:

– politics and theatre
– development and theatre
– the social space of theatre production/reception
– the politics of language in Congolese theatre
– analysis of oeuvres of Congolese dramaturges
– comedians and celebrity status
– theatre and the other arts (music, poetry, ballet, etc.)

Until now, three participants have been identified.
Prof. Dr. Mumbal’Ikie (Institut Superieur Pedagogique a Kikwit, DR Congo) offers a cultural critique of theatre plays authored by the Congolese writer Mikanza, and published in booklets during Mobutu’s era. As a literature scholar, he will read the evolution of Mikanza’s theater plays as reflections of Mikanza’s changing attitudes towards Mobutu.
Dr. Maeline Le Lay (Universite de Paris 13-Nord, France) studies diglossia in Katangese theatre as a manifestation of the ways in which relationships between authorities and grassroots are being developed. Le Lay will study the dialectics between the social space of Katangese theatre, the language use in the plays and the didactics of these performed texts.
Dr. Katrien Pype (MIT, USA and K.U.Leuven, Belgium) brings in an anthropological approach and examines the social spaces in which so-called theatre-for-development plays in Kinshasa emerge and are performed. She will focus on the interactions between NGOs that engage local dramatic artists, the generation of the scenarios, and the performance settings in order to understand recent dynamics in the interaction between discourse about “development” and about “culture”.

Confirmed discussant: Prof. Dr. Karin Barber (U. of Birmingham)


About Congo Research Network

The Congo Research Network (CRN) is a community of researchers working on DR Congo and its diaspora across the Humanities


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