Department Research Seminar - Tuesday 6 December

Department of History

Event details

Tuesday 6 December 2022


You are warmly invited to our department research seminar: 

Tuesday 6 December, 16:15

‘The Sixteenth-Century Kingdom of Kongo as the First “Pan-Africanists”’

Speaker: Adam Simmons (Nottingham Trent University)

All welcome!

Abstract: Despite millennia of intra-continental connectivity, the geographical concept of a continental ‘Africa’ is a relatively recent development. Its origins stem from the colonial discourses of the Portuguese and the papacy in the fifteenth century. However, seldom is the development of this concept discussed from an African perspective. This talk wishes to highlight the active engagement with the concept of a continental Africa by Africans. The Mwenekongo of Kongo adopted this discourse no later than 1512, merely thirty years after the arrival of the Portuguese. Similar developments likely occurred elsewhere. Whilst the concept of Africa was originally a colonial discourse, significantly, the Africanisation of the geographical concept of Africa began to happen almost instantaneously. Highlighting this development with the examples of Kongo and Ethiopia poses important avenues for future study of exploration regarding the proliferation of African, particularly Kongo-driven, discourse regarding Africa, both between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and for studies of the origins of Pan-Africanism.

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