Conference: Comparing the Copperbelt: Social history and knowledge production in Central Africa, 18-19 June 2021

Online via Zoom


We are delighted to be able to share the programme and abstracts for the final conference of the ‘Comparing the Copperbelt’ project. The conference, held in conjunction with Oxford’s African Studies Centre and Centre for Global History, represents the culmination of the project’s research and builds on workshops held in Kitwe in July 2018 and in Lubumbashi in July 2019. It aims to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to discuss the region’s shared histories and share ideas on social, environmental and cultural history. The conference also features a panel launching the project’s edited volume Across the Copperbelt: Urban & Social Change in Central Africa’s Borderland Communities (available Open Access).

All welcome. To register, email


Day 1, Friday 18 June

09:00 – 09:15 (all timings UK BST) Welcome and Introductions

09:15 – 10:45          Panel 1: States, Unions and Mining

Chair: Miles Larmer (Oxford)     


  • Hyden Munene (Free State): ‘‘Black Horse White Rider’: The Evolution of Labour and Racial Relations in the Copperbelt Mines, 1928–1991’
  • Timothy Makori (Maastricht): ‘The Extrastatecraft of Artisanal Mines in the Congolese Copperbelt’
  • Thomas McNamara (LaTrobe): ‘The Unions have Reoriented Towards Entrepreneurship: Neoliberal Solidarities on Zambia’s Copperbelt’

Discussant: Duncan Money (Leiden)

10:45 – 11:15          Break

11:15 – 13:00          Panel 2: Launch Event for ‘Across the Copperbelt: Urban & Social Change in Central Africa’s Borderland Communities’

Chair: Iva Peša (Groningen)

We welcome Sofie Samuelsson from publisher, James Currey, to talk about the book, after which participating speakers will introduce their contributions to this volume:

  • Hélène Blaszkiewicz
  • Jennifer Chibamba Chansa
  • Hikabwa Chipande
  • Donatien Dibwe dia Mwembu
  • David Gordon
  • Enid Guene
  • Benoît Henriet
  • Rita Kesselring
  • Stephanie Lämmert
  • Duncan Money
  • Christian Straube
  • Rachel Taylor

13:00 – 14:00          Break

14:00 – 15:30         Panel 3: ‘Comparing the Copperbelt’: Papers from the University of Lubumbashi – note, this panel will be held in French

Chair: Enid Guene (Oxford) / Donatien Dibwe dia Mwembu (UNILU)


  • Michael Kasombo Tshibanda, Agnès Mwamba Chomba and Diane Kabedy’a Sombw (UNILU): ‘Toponymie urbaine: réglementation hier et aujourd’hui dans le Copperbelt congolais et zambien. Etude comparative’
  • Jean-Pierre Kalembwe Longwa (UNILU): ‘Trafic transfrontalier dans le Copperbelt Zambie-Congo : le phénomène “Bilanga” ‘
  • Ken Anastase Mwembu Dibwe (UNILU): ‘Logique de vote dans l’espace Copperbelt RDC-Zambie (Essai d’analyse critique sur les motivations du vote)’

Discussant: Nancy Rose Hunt (Florida)

Day 2, Saturday 19 June

09:30 – 11:00      Panel 4: Historiography, Methodology and Knowledge Production

Chair: Benoît Henriet (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)


  • Beatriz Serrazina (Coimbra): ‘Expanding the Copperbelt: Crossborder Connections with Angola’
  • Miyanda Simabwachi (Chalimbana): ‘A History of the Copperbelt Mining Companies’ Archives: Past and Present’
  • Miles Larmer (Oxford): ‘Historicising Knowledge Production and the Social History of the Copperbelt’

Discussant: Peter Brooke (Oxford)

11:00 – 11:30          Break

11:30 – 13:00          Panel 5: Copperbelt Society and Culture

Chair: Rachel Taylor (Oxford)


  • Walima Kalusa (Eswatini): ‘Educated Girls, Clothes and Christianity: Subverting Mabel Shaw’s Sartorial Agenda on the Colonial Zambian Copperbelt, 1925-1955’
  • Sarah van Beurden (Ohio State): ‘Monastic Arts and the History of Visual Modernism in the Congolese Copperbelt (1945–1985)’
  • Daniela Waldburger (Vienna): ‘Beer, Cinema, Sports and Women: Notions of Masculinity in the Nostalgic Narratives of Ex-Mine Workers in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo’

Discussant: Patience Mususa (Nordic Africa Institute)