The Feature Series
The African Studies Program is excited to introduce a new feature series initiated by Carly Lucas. This feature series seeks to highlight key connections in Africa who have helped our faculty and researchers with their fieldwork. By compiling these great resources, we hope to create a list of people that future researchers can reach out to for assistance in their endeavors.
This project is a small effort to decolonize our approach to research, rooted in western and capitalist modes of production that give almost all credit to the individual, the author. However, many of us recognize that without many Africans on the continent, our questions, ideas, and efforts would fall short. Through our Appreciating African Connections feature series, we can use the institutional power and resources UW has to advertise those who make a business out of helping faculty and graduate students from western institutions as we build our projects and reputations– often offering them less credit than that which is due.
For this feature, we ask you to reflect on the people on the continent without whom you could not facilitate interviews, learn language, accrue institutional access, or simply, get around. Please fill out this Qualtrics survey to provide the name, contact information, and bio of these folks. Please provide this information only with their permission.
You can read more about the series here.
Appreciating Michée Diansana
For our second Appreciating African Connections feature, Leslie Sabakinu nominated Michée Diansana, who is a researcher and master’s student in the History Department at the University of Kinshasa. Diansana’s research concerns the urban history of Congo. Besides that, he is also interested in the political history of Congo. As a research assistant, Michée has worked with researchers from various fields like History and Political Sciences. He also has experience performing archival work for private archives.
According to Leslie Sabakinu,
When I was in Congo, Michée helped me explore some libraries I didn’t know, and since then, he has been helping me find some archival documents I couldn’t find here. As a history student, Michée knows most of the libraries and archives in Kinshasa. He has some direct contacts with some institutional archives. He’s also very familiar with the capital city Kinshasa.
An interview with Michée Diansana:
Tell us how long you have worked as a research assistant?
Since 2019 when I finished my undergraduate program.
What is your favorite part about researching?
I like to learn, acquire new knowledge and skills. Every research is different, so I get various perspectives from each research.
What are your own personal research interests?
As stated above, my research concerns the urban history of Congo. Particularly, I am interested in the urban history of the former Kuba Kingdom.
Share with UW researchers more about your knowledge of archives in Kinshasa.
I have a deep knowledge of archives in Kinshasa. During my undergraduate program, I explored many public and private ones.
Please tell us what services you can offer researchers.
I can help them navigate the city of Kinshasa since I know it very well, i.e., finding accommodation, transportation, and various facilities they will need. I can also help them visit various archives, libraries, and universities. If they have to conduct interviews, I can help them with the transcription and translation if the interviewees speak English or French.
Diansana welcomes the opportunity to work with other researchers. Specifically, he can assist with securing accommodation, transportation, and other logistics. His passion is helping access and understand archives, libraries, and universities. He is also available to assist with English and French transcription and translation. The best way to contact Michée Diansana is by email: Michedians@gmail.com
Produced by Carly Lucas