BantUGent research seminar with talks by Terefe Mitiku Mekonin and Edward Ntonda

What? BantUGent research seminar
When? January  31, 2024
Where? Faculteitsraadzaal/Facultyroom

14:00-15:00:  Edward Ntonda: “Chikunda in Time and Space : A Historical Sociolinguistic account”

15:00-16:00:  Terefe Mitiku Mekonin “Human and animal interaction in Oromo fable”


For the Teams-link, contact:  Lorenzo Maselli (

Journée de présentation des projets de recherche en RDC en collaboration avec l’UGent Africa Platform & l’ISP Mbuji-Mayi

En collaboration avec l’Africa Platform de l’Université de Gand (UGent) et l’Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Mbuji-Mayi, nous organisons le 19 octobre 2023 une journée de présentation des projets de recherche en RDC. Pour plus d’informations voir ici. Pour vous inscrire, veuillez envoyer un email à ou



BantUGent seminar with prof. Brinkman, prof. Devos and dr. Kouarata

What? BantUGent research seminar whith three research presentations!
When? June 29, 2023, 10am
Where? Panopticon (third floor, Blandijn) (
Prof. dr. Inge Brinkman: “Rainbows in oral narratives”
Dr. Guy Kouarata, “The simplification of seminasals *mb, *nd and *ng in Bantu zone A, B, C and H languages in Congo-Brazzaville and DRC”
Prof. dr. Maud Devos, “Coconuts in Bantu languages: a linguistic contribution to the story of Cocos Nucifera L. in (East) Africa”
A Teams link for those who wish to attend online is also available here.

BantUGent-ECC book presentation Jeroen Dewulf (UC Berkeley) “Afro-Atlantic Catholics – America’s First Black Christians”

On Thursday June 22, 2023, the UGent Centre for Bantu Studies and the Economies, Comparisons, Connections research group co-organize a talk by Prof. Dr. Jeroen Dewulf (University of California at Berkeley) on his latest publication Afro-Atlantic Catholics – America’s First Black Christians.

Venue: Faculty Room, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent + online via Zoom

Time: 10:30am CET

More info:

The latest publication by prof. dr. Dewulf examines the influence of African Catholics on the historical development of Black Christianity in America during the seventeenth century.

Black Christianity in America has long been studied as a blend of indigenous African and Protestant elements. Jeroen Dewulf redirects the conversation by focusing on the enduring legacy of seventeenth-century Afro-Atlantic Catholics in the broader history of African American Christianity. With homelands in parts of Africa with historically strong Portuguese influence, such as the Cape Verde Islands, São Tomé, and Kongo, these Africans embraced variants of early modern Portuguese Catholicism that they would take with them to the Americas as part of the forced migration that was the transatlantic slave trade. Their impact upon the development of Black religious, social, and political activity in North America would be felt from the southern states as far north as what would become New York.

Dewulf’s analysis focuses on the historical documentation of Afro-Atlantic Catholic rituals, devotions, and social structures. Of particular importance are brotherhood practices, which were critical in the dissemination of Afro-Atlantic Catholic culture among Black communities, a culture that was pre-Tridentine in nature and wary of external influences. These fraternal Black mutual-aid and burial society structures were critically important to the development and resilience of Black Christianity in America through periods of changing social conditions. Afro-Atlantic Catholics shows how a sizable minority of enslaved Africans actively transformed the American Christian landscape and would lay a distinctly Afro-Catholic foundation for African American religious traditions today. This book will appeal to scholars in the history of Christianity, African American and African diaspora studies, and Iberian studies.

BantUGent research seminar with talks in African Archaeology and Linguistics by Igor Matonda, Maud Devos and Sara Pacchiarotti

What? BantUGent research seminar
When? May 25, 2023
Where? Room 3.30 Camelot, Blandijn, Campus Boekentoren + online  through MsTeams
10:00-10:30 Igor Matonda (UNIKIN – BantUGent):  Mapping the Archaeological Landscape of the Kwilu-Kasai River Network, Democratic Republic of the Congo
10:30-11:00 Maud Devos (RMCA – BantUGent)  Coconuts in Bantu languages: The story of the Cocos nucifera L. as told through language
11:00-11:30 Sara Pacchiarotti (BantUGent):  The Congo-Ubangi watershed : An interdisciplinary approach to the genesis of a linguistic accretion zone in Central Africa



Sifra Van Acker (

Lorenzo Maselli (

ΔiaLing talk Hilde Gunnink (BantUGent) “Bantu-Khoisan contact in Southern Africa: reconstructing prehistoric contact situations”

Pre-colonial Southern Africa is characterized by two language groups: Bantu languages, who arrived through southward migrations in the last two thousand years, and Khoisan languages, spoken by some of Southern Africa’s first inhabitants. Contact between these two groups led to the demise of most Khoisan-speaking communities, but also to extensive contact-induced changes in Southern African Bantu languages. In this talk, I give an overview of Bantu-Khoisan contact, which linguistic features Bantu languages adopted from their Khoisan-speaking neighbours, and the social, cultural and economic circumstances under which these different ethnolinguistic populations interacted. Using historical linguistic methods, I show that certain Khoisan-derived features in Bantu languages date back to earlier reconstructed stages of the languages, suggesting a certain time-depth, and giving insight into how Bantu-Khoisan interactions changed throughout time. 

BantUGent-ECC talk — Cymone Fourshey (Bucknell University) “Girling African History and Historicizing Girlhoods through Language Data in East and Central Africa”

On Friday May 26, 2023, the UGent Centre for Bantu Studies and the Economies, Comparisons, Connections research group co-organize a talk by Prof. Dr. Cymone Fourshey (Bucknell University) on Girling African History and Historicizing Girlhoods through Language Data in East and Central Africa.

Venue: Faculty Room, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent + online upon request

Time: 11am CET

More info:

Though they have been drivers of social and historical change and been important sources of knowledge, girls in Africa have rarely been the focus of historical scholarship. African girls and their status as young people tend to be assessed flatly as perpetual and complicit victims (Katshunga 2019: 55). This elision cuts off possibilities and make girls in Africa simultaneously scapegoats for social problems (Oduro et al. 2012), targets of pity and the “salvationist gaze” (George 2014: 113), and dependents on benevolence from elders, government representatives, and development institutions. It is both this gap in the scholarship and the harm created by such views of African girls in the present that shape the historical questions raised in this paper.Through an examination of East and Central African language evidence relevant to generation, girlhood, and family, this paper makes claims about the historical possibilities around girlhood in ancient times as means of reconsidering the social status and meaning of girlhoods in more recent eras. There will be opportunities for discussion of comparative historical linguistics and uncovering and representing girls’ voices in written historical records to better understand their roles in family and across generations. How might language data help to ensure girls’ contributions are represented in histories at least as well as male youths’ experiences are.

BantuFirst workshop “An Archaeology of the Bantu Expansion: early settlers south of the Congo rainforest”

Between 2018 and 2022 the BantuFirst archaeology team conducted seven field seasons across Kinshasa, Kwilu, Mai-Ndombe, and Kongo-Central provinces. Through a combination of large-scale survey and targeted excavations, the project has identified 176 new sites ranging in age from the Middle Stone Age (~300ka BP) through the colonial period. Excavations at 26 of these locations has produced voluminous new information on the changing material culture, subsistence practices, and settlement patterns of the communities south of the Congo rainforest, as well as the evolving palaeoenvironmental conditions in which they lived. This data also includes c. 100 new carbon-14 dates, extending from 30ka – 400 BP, with which these processes have been radiometrically anchored. This BantuFirst workshop is meant to prepare an edited book volume that will publish, contextualize and valorize this wealth of new and varied datasets. It will develop from these original data new insights on early settlement south of the Congo rainforest over the last three millennia, and challenge settled truths about the Bantu Expansion. In order to expand the scope and perspectives, multiple subject experts unaffiliated with the BantuFirst project have been included as contributors to the workshop and the volume.