The Belgian Congo between the Two World Wars (17-18 March 2016, Brussels) Call for posters

The period between the signature of the Versailles Treaty and the establishment of the League of Nations on the one hand and the start of the Second World War on the other (1919-1939) is a most interesting and often neglected one. Before the First World War, during the ten years or so which followed the take-over of the Congo Free State by Belgium, Belgian colonial policy was in its infancy. Most of the personnel in charge of its application was for some time that of the former state and, within six years, the war had started in Europe and also in Africa. Consequently, 1919 appears an appropriate starting time for a period of twenty years at the end of which Belgium was not formally engaged in the new conflict, but was already getting ready for it in some spheres of activity.

The Conference has a broad thematic focus: developments in the Congo itself will of course be examined extensively, but also the impact of colonialism in the metropolis (including colonial policy) on the general background of declared Belgian governmental policy. It aims to assess the situation and problems arising on the ground for the African population when confronted with that policy becoming operational, but collateral effects on the local population of the presence of Europeans in the country are not excluded. We will take into account local, both African and European, dimensions as well as external developments. These include not only the interplay between Belgian interests and policies in the Congo and their feedback on Belgium itself, but the interplay between the metropolis, Belgian colonial circles and “foreign” influences as well. Our purpose is to provide the widest possible view of the development of the country during that period, while, at the same time, accepting that its complete history will not be written at the end of our meeting. But perhaps it will be the first of many others either going deeper or examining new ones.

The Academy will invite scholars from both the southern and the northern hemisphere to contribute to the Conference with poster presentations. There will be no extensive formal presentation of the posters during the meeting, in order to give an absolute priority to discussion.

You’ll find more information on the conference and the application procedure in this document: CALL FOR POSTERS and more on the programme here: PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME INTERBELLUM 

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