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Assistant Professor of History

Assistant Professor of History

Emery Kalema holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of the Witwatersrand. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at both the Institut de Sociologie at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (2021-2022) and the South African Research Chair in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (2017-2020). In addition, he was a Summer Program in Social Science Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2018-2019) and the winner of the competition for the inaugural Center for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora (CSAAD) Research Fellowship at New York University (Fall 2019).

Kalema is the recipient of the 2021 Central African Studies Association (CASA) Essay Prize for the Best Published Article by a Junior Scholar.


Kalema's research interests include power and politics, body and embodiment, violence, memory, trauma and suffering. He is currently working on a book project tentatively titled, Violence and Memory: The Mulele ‘Rebellion’ in Postcolonial Congo. The book is an exploration of suffering caused by the Mulele rebellion (1963-1968), the reproduction of suffering across time, and its inscription in the imaginary of the survivors. Kalema looks at suffering in various ways: as something people experienced in the concrete conditions of existence during the rebellion; suffering experienced by the body during the rebellion; suffering that the ‘body’ remembers because it carries visible marks, recognizable by the self and others; and suffering that leaves marks in the minds of the suffering subjects.


  • The Mulele “Rebellion”: Bodily Pain and the Politics of Death. Politique africaine, vol. 3, no. 163 (2021): 145-172.
  • “Religion et médecine au Congo: pratiques et savoirs des assistants médicaux "indigènes" issus de Kisantu (Fomulac) et de leurs patients (1937-1960)”, in Religion, Colonization and Decolonization in Congo, 1885-1960. Réligion, colonisation et décolonisation au Congo, 1885-1960, edited by Vincent Viaene, Bram Cleys and Jan De Maeyer, 191-208. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2020.
  • The Mulele “Rebellion,” Congolese Regimes, and the Politics of Forgetting. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines, LIX (3), no. 235 (2019): 747-781.
  • Scars, Marked Bodies, and Suffering: The Mulele ‘Rebellion’ in Postcolonial Congo. Journal of African History, vol. 59, no. 2 (July 2018): 263-282.

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