Category Archives: News

A ›Crisis of Whiteness‹ in the ›Heart of Darkness‹ – New book published on Racism and the Congo Reform Movement

A new book has been published on the Congo Reform Movement in December 2020 (E-Book January 2021). Felix Lösing’s historical-sociological study maintains that racism and a commitment to white supremacy was the main catalyst of the campaign against the Congo Scandal in the late 19th and early 20th century. Instead of trivializing or denying, research should acknowledge the colonial and racist founding of the modern human rights movement, the book argues, to develop a truly universal future of human rights.

For more details including an extract and information on how to purchase the book, please follow the link below.

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‘Selling the Congo and Belgian Imperialism’ – Online Discussion

Recently,  Matthew G. Stanard, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History at Berry College and author of Selling the Congo: A History of European Pro-Empire Propaganda and the Making of Belgian Imperialism (Univ. of Nebraska Press) participated in an online discussion in which he answered questions about Belgian imperialism in central Africa, pro-empire propaganda in Europe, and related subjects.

Please click on the link below to be redirected to the Reddit website to read this interesting discussion:

AMA: *Selling the Congo* and Belgian imperialism
byu/Matthew_G_Stanard inAskHistorians



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Navigating the Congo – Exhibition

Later this month, an exhibition will be held at the Angus Library in Oxford which explores the history of non-conformist involvement in the Congo River regions during the 19th and 20th century, using artifacts, navigational equipment, maps and more.

Two talks will also be held in conjunction with the exhibition:

Tuesday 22nd Sept – Bandi Mbubi will be speaking about his work with Congo Calling to demand the development of fair trade technology which uses conflict-free minerals.

Thursday 24th Sept – Dr Rob Burroughs, Leeds Beckett University, will be speaking on Protestant missionary travellers in the Congo Free State.


For more information, and if you would like to attend, please click the link below:


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International Symposium – Programme

The Congo Free State across Languages, Media and Cultures

A symposium hosted by the Centre for Culture and the Arts, Leeds Beckett University

Location: Rose Bowl building 205-06, City Campus

Date: Saturday 10 October 2015


Symposium Programme:

9.15-9.45: Registration, refreshments

9.45: Welcome

10.00-11.30: Panel 1. Chair: Grainne Goodwin (Leeds Beckett)

Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren), [paper title tbc]

Brian Murray (Cambridge University), ‘Building Congo, writing empire: the literary labours of Henry Morton Stanley’

Daniel Laqua (Northumbria University), ‘Imperial expansion and humanitarian rhetoric: staging the Congo Free State, 1888-1894’

11.30-12.00: Refreshments

12.00-13.00: Panel 2. Chair: Helen Dampier (Leeds Beckett)

Dean Pavlakis (Carroll College, MT), ‘To reform an imagined Congo: novelists tackle the Congo rubber scandals’

Felix Lösing (Hamburg University), ‘“The White Man’s Burden becomes… the white man’s undoing”: the Congo Reform Movement and White Supremacy’

13.00-14.00: Lunch

14.00-14.15: Book Launch

14.15-15.45: Panel 3. Chair: Sarah de Mul (OU the Netherlands)

Sokhieng Au (KU Leuven),’Cutting the flesh: surgery, autopsy, and cannibalism in the Belgian Congo’

Stephen Donovan (Uppsala University), ‘Congo Utopia’

Yvonne Reddick (University of Central Lancashire), ‘Memories of the Congo Free State in Paul Lomani Tshibamba’s fiction’

15.45: Closing Remarks


Please email Rob Burroughs ( if you’d like to attend.

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International Symposium – date announced

The Congo Free State across Languages, Media and Cultures’ International Symposium for 2015 will be hosted by Centre for Culture and the Arts, Leeds Beckett University and take place on Saturday 10 October 2015. This symposium explores the Congo Free State under Leopold II (1885-1908) as a space of transnational encounter through an analysis of its representation across languages, media and cultures.Punch_congo_rubber_cartoon

This year’s speakers include:

  • Dr. Daniel Laqua (Northumbria University), author of The Age of Internationalism and Belgium, 1880–1930
  • Dr. Stephen Donovan (Uppsala University), author of Joseph Conrad and Popular Culture
  • Dr. Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi (Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren), author of Africa in Images: Stanley I Presume?
  • Dr. Dean Pavlakis (Carroll College, MT), author of British Humanitarianism and the Congo Reform Movement, 1896-1913


Attendance is free but please register. For further details or to register for attendance please email Rob Burroughs at

Launched at Uppsala University in September 2014, ‘The Congo Free State across Languages, Media and Cultures’ is a research initiative funded by the NWO (the Netherlands), Uppsala University, the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, and Leeds Beckett University.


logo NWO, EN, jpg, kleurleeds logo

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‘The man who was caged in a zoo’ – New book released

A new book has been published published this week * telling the story of Ota Benga, a Congolese man who was kidnapped from his home in the equatorial forests near the Kasai River, in what was then the Congo Free State, and put on display as a human zoo exhibit at the Bronx Zoo, New York, in 1906. Pamela Newkirk’s book seeks to tell his appalling story and to reveal the roots of a racial prejudice that, she argues, still haunts us.

For a brief description of Benga’s story, as well as information on how to purchase the book, please click on the link below:


* Published this week in the USA. The UK release date is scheduled for 2nd July 2015.



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Europe made in Africa

By Dr Rob Burroughs

On Saturday 22 September I participated in the ‘Europe Made in Africa: The Congo Free State in European Culture’ conference at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. The event

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New Book Released

A book shedding new light on one of the unknown figures in the Congo reform movement has been released.

Daniel J. Danielson is best known for his work as a preacher and missionary in the Faroe Islands in the beginning of the 20th century. However, what is not as well known is his role in the Congo reform movement. This book aims to shed new light on Danielsen’s part in raising awareness of the plight of the Congolese under Leopold’s regime, claiming that he was the first to take photographs of the mutilated Congolese and display them in lantern lectures delivered to raise awareness of their plight.

With this book, local historian, former trade unionist and politician, Óli Jacobsen aims to restore Danielsen to his rightful place in the history of the Congo reform movement.

If you would like to read or purchase this book, please click on one of the links below:

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