Now available online (Open Access): ‘Across the Copperbelt: Urban & Social Change in Central Africa’s Borderland Communities’

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The ERC funded Comparing the Copperbelt project’s edited volume Across the Copperbelt: Urban & Social Change in Central Africa’s Borderland Communities has now been published online by James Currey and is available to download for free – download PDF file. The physical version of the book will be published in June 2021.

The volume, which will be available Open Access in perpetuity, includes chapters by the project PI, Miles Larmer, and post-doctoral researchers Rachel Taylor, Enid Guene, Iva Pesa (Groningen), Benoit Henriet (VUB) and Stephanie Laemmert (Max Planck Institute), as well as a range of colleagues who have participated in the project’s workshops and seminars – for a full list of contributors and Table of Contents see link to publisher’s website.  

The Central African Copperbelt has been central to the study of modernisation and rapid social and political change in Africa. This volume expands on earlier studies by examining the mining communities of Katanga (DR Congo) and Zambia, on both sides of the border, from pre-colonial history to the present and encompassing diverse economic, social and cultural identities and activities. Bringing together scholars from a range of disciplines, the contributors explore the Copperbelt’s sense of identity – expressed in comic strips, football matches and religious teaching, the communities’ precarious and inventive ways of living, and the processes and impact of urbanisation and development, environmental degradation and changing gender relations.

The project, which commenced in July 2016, is led by PI Professor Miles Larmer and provides the first comparative historical analysis – local, national and transnational – of the Central African copperbelt. This globally strategic mineral region is central to the history of two nation-states (Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)), as well as wider debates about the role of mineral wealth in development.