My co-convener Jonathan Austin and myself are very excited for the workshop ‘Doing Visual IR’ at EWIS on June 6-9th, 2018 in Groningen!

Click here for the list of participants and full programme.

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Invitation to Apply! Heterogeneous Infrastructures in African Cities.

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“Scholars and practitioners are increasingly grappling with alternative modes of infrastructural provision. This is motivated by scholarly interest in everyday infrastructural practices and politics as well as concerns about the economic, environmental, social and political viability of universal, uniform infrastructure networks. In theory and practice, this is resulting in challenges to existing urban theorization, political agendas and infrastructure provision.

The multiplicity of infrastructures undoubtedly creates challenges for both our scholarly generalization and normative practices. While there has been a growth of scholarship, much of this is case-based and performative, usefully focused on what is there and how it works.”

More information on the Situated UPE Collective website. Send out your application by May 30th!

My latest publication ‘The Workings of ‘Soft’ Governance in Crisis: Ambiguities of the State in DR Congo‘ is now published on The Global.

Comments welcome!

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2018, April 3-5. Exciting times at the International Studies Association Annual Meeting, San Fransisco. I will be part of two great workshop/working group.

Covenors: Magid Shihade, Sharri Plonski, Elian Weizman & James Eastwood.

WG Objectives:

  1. To develop and refine new, more acute analytical and theoretical tools for understanding contemporary settler colonial relations, across and between different cases
  2. To bring different cases and communities of researchers into conversation with one another – particularly those often left out of these discussions – using a range of disciplinary, empirical and methodological approaches to unravel how settler colonialism continues to operate in and define the contemporary world
  3. To develop a long-term research network, with the aim of developing collective outputs, shared public/online platforms and the capacity to reach across disciplines and share our work with a range of academic and non-academic audiences

ConvenorS: Jonathan Austin, Anna Leander.

Workshop Abstract:

How do we make visceral, real, and lived sense of the International? The World Political Compositions project draws together contributions around the concept of composition, in the aesthetic sense of the term, and the five traditional senses of human perception, in order to answer this question more creatively, affectively, and – so – ‘objectively’ than they have been before. The contributors to the project have been asked to reflect on how simple sounds, sights, touches, smells, and tastes form the core of world political phenomena in terms of their manifestation of scale, their construction of systems of signification, their working to ‘make things happen’ around us, and ultimately their standing as the main building blocks of both everyday and academic sensemaking.

2018, February 27. Once again, I am organizing the screening of Kristof Bilsen’s Elephant’s Dream at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. The film will be followed by an open discussion with Kristof Bilsen, the film director, Alan Doss Executive Director at the Kofi Annan Foundation, and Fred Bauma, Founder of La LUCHA, DR Congo. I will be moderating the discussion. The event is promoted and supported by the Center on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding as well as Ciné@IHEID.

Further information and trailer available here.

Share widely ! 

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Jean Tinguely, “Méta-méchanique.”

2018, January 10 | Call for papers EWIS 2018, Groningen, June 6-9. Submit your abstract to the worksop Doing Visual IR.

December 2017 – February 2018. My first field research photographs are featured on In The Long Run, the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) blog, at the University of Cambridge. Get more visuals and information at:

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Screen grab from In the Long Run, Image of the Week webpage.

2017, February 23.  I convened the panel entitled ‘L’Etat ni miye, l’Etat ni weye, l ‘Etat ni shiye bote’. Unheard Voices, Everyday Power and Social Organization in Urban DRC’ at the International Studies Association’s annual convention in Baltimore.

The panel was chaired by Professor Gilles Carbonnier (at the Graduate Institute, Geneva) and invited two discussants, Pierre Englebert (Pomona University, California) and  Oliver Jütersonke (The Graduate Institute, Geneva), to comment on 4 panelists’ works. Karen Büscher (Ghent University) discussed issues of statebuilding in Congo’s ‘boomtowns’, Suda Perera (University of Birmingham) dissected the ‘legitimacy loophole’ found in international intervention schemes, Michel Thill  (Ghent University) gave a fine-grained analysis on negotiating order in local markets in Bukavu, and mine, which provided analytical and ethnographic  insights on what I termed the ‘composite state’.


The abstract of the panel read as follow:

‘Marked by a long history of violence, scholars and policy-makers alike have frequently portrayed the Democratic Republic of Congo as a ‘paradigmatic case of state failure’, the ‘Rape Capital of the World’, Africa’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ to name a few. However, many academics of various disciplinary backgrounds took on decidedly novel, bottom-up and multi-disciplinary approaches. These seek to theorize how diffuse micro-power relations among myriad of private and public actors, who interact daily as they craft socio-economic survival skills, claim political voice or negotiate access to public services, disrupt our conventional order/disorder, state/non-state, formal/informal, public/private analytical dyads. Left unquestioned, binary, linear thinking obscures other equally primordial multi-trajectory dynamics that affect societal change at all levels. As the title of this panel attests, ‘the State is me, the State is you, the State is all of us’, power interactions are nowhere and everywhere. Such problématiques prove particularly salient in growing Congolese cities where scarce state-controlled urbanization and the ‘architecture of fear’ affect complex patterns of micro and macro-social organizations whose contours and larger ramifications at the national and international levels remain largely unexplored. This panel thus hopes to promote alternative and original contributions from young scholars dedicated to these issues’.

2016, October 11. Organized the screening of Kristof Bilsen‘s documentary ‘Elephant’s Dream‘ followed by an open discussion with the producer and Professor Tom De Herdt (University of Antwerp, Belgium) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The event was made possible thanks to the logistical help of PhD candidate Cyril Brandt at UvA’s Education and Development research group, and the financial and logistical support of Dennis Rodgers, professor of International Development Studies at UvA’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

untitled-2-01About 60 students both undergraduates and graduates attended the even that night, ans many asked questions to Kristof Bilsen who kindly shared his personal experience working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Additional information on the movie’s synopsis can be found here, and one of my blog posts commenting the documentary can be found here.