Having focused my thesis on the history of exploration and colonisation of Kilimanjaro (East Africa), and the construction of representations and practices around this mountain in the 19th and early 20th centuries, I now intend to carry out a comparative study of Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro between the end of the 19th century and the post-independence years in Kenya and Tanzania. Using an approach that combines cultural history, social history, political history and environmental history, my aim is to observe the evolution of practices and representations around these two emblematic mountains, and to see how they play a part in the construction of national identities in East Africa.
Could you please tell us a bit more about your scholarship/exchange programme?
Having been recruited as a lecturer at the University of Lorraine (Nancy) last year, I have a specific grant for my first year to launch new projects. After having used it for a two-month fieldwork trip to East Africa earlier this year, I am now using part of it for this stay at the Maison Française d'Oxford, which gives me access to an ideal working environment for the month of July, between the archives of the Weston Library, the libraries of the Bodleian Library, and the nearby London archives (National Archives, Royal Geographical Society, etc.).
First impressions of Oxford/the University?
This is my second stay at the Maison Française d'Oxford: I had a "monthly scholarship" that allowed me to stay here in January 2020. So now, I am back to everything I had enjoyed then: a studious but happy atmosphere at the MFO, a lot of intellectual enthusiasm in the impressive setting offered by all Oxford's libraries and colleges. All this, under a summer sun that will, this time, allow me to make the most of the surrounding green spaces (and do some punting)!