Silke Oldenburg


Silke Oldenburg is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel. She works at the intersection of political, urban and environmental anthropology and has more than three years of research experience carrying out fieldwork in DR Congo and Columbia. Her research interests coalesce around diverse dimensions of urban life in the Global South addressing aspects such as displacement, political violence, infrastructure, and humour in research, writing and teaching.

MIASA Fellowship project: Imagining Futures Otherwise: Youth and Urban Protest in Goma, DR Congo

“Protest” according to Charles Tilly “centres on responses of relatively powerless people to wrongs they have endured” and “who …band together to say they have had enough” (2004: 473). Taking the example of North-Kivu's provincial capital Goma, where the region's conflict dynamics have turned into a context of chronic entanglement with the urban, I aim to consolidate my ethnographic findings on youth who are engaging in different forms of urban protest in Eastern DR Congo. I argue that the violent manifestations against the MONUSCO in summer 20022 are not singular events but part of historically grown popular struggles and political conflicts. Working with ethnographic data from fieldwork in 2017 and 2018 as well as a thorough online research of social media, I investigate the various political repertoires related to protest and urban political change and scrutinize how Congolese youth imagine futures otherwise.

Senior Individual Fellow, July - September 2023
University of Basel