Forthcoming Presentation by a Centre Member at the University of Birmingham


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On 14 October 2015, the Centre for the History of Colonialisms’ director, Giacomo Macola, will deliver one of the ‘Africa Talks’ seminars (full programme details) to the Department of African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Birmingham.

His paper – ‘Firearms in Nineteenth-Century Central Africa: A Revisionist History’ – presents the main conclusion of his forthcoming monograph: The Gun in Central Africa: A History of Technology and Politics (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2016). Marrying the insights of Africanist historiography with those of consumption and science and technology studies, the paper adopts a culturally sensitive perspective that encompasses both the practical and the symbolic attributes of firearms. Informed by the view that the power of objects extends beyond their immediate service functions, the paper presents Africans as agents of technological re-innovation who understood guns in terms of their changing social structures and political interests.