Religion and Migration Initiative. location:Humanities Graduate Seminar Room, South West Engineering Building, East Campus, Wits University, South Africa. date:17 November 2014
‘What sort of collective life and what sort of knowledge is to be gathered (...) once modernity has been thrown into doubt while the task of finding the ways to cohabit remains more important than ever?” (Latour, 2005, Reassembling the Social, pp. 16-17)
Filip De Boeck’s presentation takes this question to Central Africa’s urban worlds. Based on recent ethnographic data from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, this presentation will reflect upon the changing connotations of what constitutes the public sphere and the meaning of the categories of public and private, of ‘publics’ and of diversity in the urban locale. It will explore how, in the megalopolis that Kinshasa is, various publics from within and across various (often entangled) spaces, constantly offer a ground for questioning, recalling, bypassing, or resisting official definitions of the public ‘thing’ (without excluding a consensus with, a simultaneous adherence or conforming to, or a longing for the realization of the official definitions).