Conference: CART-V

Beginning in 2005, the research programme From Muskets to Nokias: Technology, Consumption and Social Change in Central Africa from Pre-Colonial Times to the Present (Leiden University and the African Studies Centre, Leiden) has hosted and facilitated the four Central African Research Themes (CART) conferences held in the Netherlands and Zambia. The conferences highlighted research being carried out by researchers associated with the programme, and provided a forum within which researchers could debate and discuss their findings and ongoing research intentions. Seven years on, the programme is drawing to a close and will be hosting a final conference in Oegstgeest on 28 and 29 November 2013, in which the many and varied research endeavours of researchers associated with the programme will be presented and an attempt will be made to provide a preliminary synthesis of the programme’s findings.

Reading of history
The research projects which made up and were associated with the ‘From Muskets to Nokias’ programme aimed to offer a new reading of the history of the region through the lenses of technology and consumption, and their changing relations to social organization. The programme’s basic intellectual premise was that the introduction of industrial technology to the copperbelts of Zambia and the Congo brought about a number of radical and inter-related socio-economic transformations, most of which were a direct consequence of the unprecedented levels of wealth creation, circulation and consumption made possible by technological innovation itself. The programme argued that the analysis of the trajectories of industrial technology and consumption in Central Africa remained the exclusive preserve of colonial social anthropologists, for most of whom history was of little consequence, and of materialist historians, for whom the only historical process worth exploring was the structural opposition of labour and capital. 

Should you wish to attend this conference as an observer, please contact Sander Wellens at before 21 November 2013.

Initiators: Prof. Jan-Bart Gewald and Prof. Robert Ross

Date, time and location

28 November 2013 to 29 November 2013
Kasteel Oud Poelgeest, Poelgeesterweg 1, Oegstgeest