African Studies Centre Research Seminars: 'Colonial Impotence: Virtue and Violence in a Congolese concession (1911-1940)'

Conveners: Dr Rachel Taylor and Dr Peter Brooke

Speaker: Dr. Benoît Henriet, Vrijie Universiteit Brussel


week 2 benoit henriet

The Speaker will present online via Teams.


In Colonial Impotence, Benoît Henriet studies the violent contradictions of colonial rule from the standpoint of the Leverville concession, Belgian Congo’s largest palm oil exploitation. Leverville was imagined as a benevolent tropical utopia, whose Congolese workers would be "civilized" through a paternalist machinery. However, the concession was marred by inefficiency, endemic corruption and intrinsic brutality. Colonial agents in the field could be seen as impotent, for they were both unable and unwilling to perform as expected. This book offers a new take on the joint experience of colonialism and capitalism in Southwest Congo, and sheds light on their impact on local environments, bodies, societies and cosmogonies.


Join the Teams meeting here.


We have a limited number of seats due to Covid-regulations and only members of the University may attend in person. As a courtesy to others please wear a mask. Unfortunately we will not be able to admit anyone once capacity has been reached. As an alternative the seminar can also be accessed via Teams, where it is also open to members of the public. The Teams meeting details will be provided here ahead of the event.


Covid-19 Guidelines for university members attending in person:

  • St Antony's ask that attendees take a lateral flow test on the morning of the event. If positive, stay at home
  • Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, a member of your household is self-isolating, or if you are in quarantine
  • Wear a face covering where indicated, unless exempt
  • Be considerate of other people’s space
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap or sanitiser
  • You are asked to use the official NHS QR code posters displayed throughout the College site