FSU explores Congolese literature, music and art in the 21st century during first ‘Global Africas’ event

Florida State University will welcome some of the 21st century’s most prominent voices for a two-day virtual symposium exploring Africa’s past and present global interconnections, Thursday, Nov. 5, and Friday, Nov. 6.

Global Africas: Congolese Literature, Music, and Art in the 21st Century” examines the cultural, linguistic, political and historical realities of the Francophone regions of Africa from a range of academic and artistic perspectives. The series works against the ubiquitous tendency to reduce Earth’s second-largest continent to a single nation by exploring the many ways in which Africa’s countries and peoples have always been globally interconnected.

“This inaugural event highlights the interplay between the local and the global in contemporary literature, music, film and comics and at the same time explores the twinned legacies of colonization and diaspora,” said Michelle Bumatay, series organizer and FSU assistant professor of French.

This event, the first in the Global Africas series, includes virtual discussions and a roundtable that focus on the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Congolese diaspora. Internationally renowned author Alain Mabanckou, the Paris-based artist Pat Masioni and Belgium-based musician and director Baloji also will participate in several discussions throughout the series.

The symposium is sponsored by The Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, the Florida State University Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Events are free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Events will take place:

Thursday, Nov. 5

10 a.m.
Discussion with artist Pat Masioni (in French with English translation provided)

11 a.m.
Discussion with musician and filmmaker Baloji

12:30 p.m.
Discussion with author Alain Mabanckou

Friday, Nov. 6

12:30 p.m. Roundtable with Alain Mabanckou, Baloji and Pat Masioni (in French)

Discussions will be conducted in English and French and moderated by Assistant Professor of French Michelle Bumatay and Modern Languages graduate student Alexis Finet, with French-to-English translations provided in the chat.

Visit the event website for full details or contact Michelle Bumatay at mbumatay@fsu.edu with questions.

About the speakers

Belgium-based musician Baloji works on audiovisual representations of the cultural wealth of his Congolese roots. His creations also function as a commentary on the current sociopolitical status of Congolese society. He explores linguistic diversity relevant to this region, and his work vibrantly explores sounds and colors of Congolese heritage through the medium of music videos.

Renowned author, professor and intellectual Alain Mabanckou’s work is richly dense with allusions to world literature, political discourse, comics, music and fashion, and not only spans space and time, but also literary genres and media. He is originally from the port city Point-Noire in the Republic of the Congo and co-authored the famous 2007 “Pour une ‘littérature-monde’ en français” (For a World Literature).

Paris-based artist Pat Masioni is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and studied painting and ceramics before attending the Académie des Beaux Arts in Kinshasa, where he received a degree in architecture. Since the mid-1980s, Masioni has worked professionally as an illustrator in Congo-Kinshasa, producing comics and textbook illustrations for Kinshasa-based publisher Médiaspaul.