Please tell us about your research project.
I am a PhD researcher in the History Department at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris), doing a thesis in history of exploration and colonization in East Africa under the supervision of Prof. Hélène Blais. My research focuses on the representations of Kilimanjaro, and on the development of this mountain as a geographical and political symbol in an increasingly imperial context, throughout the 19th Century and the early beginning of the 20th Century.
Could you please tell us a bit more about your scholarship/exchange programme?
Some interesting archives for my thesis, documenting two scientific expeditions to Kilimanjaro in the second part of the 19th Century, are held at the Weston Library of Oxford. In order to look at them in the best possible conditions, I have applied to the program of “Boursier du Mois”, which allows free accommodation at the Maison française d’Oxford and access to anything Oxford-related (libraries, archives, seminars, etc.). Having been granted this scholarship, I will stay at the MFO for one month in January 2020.
First impressions of Oxford/the University?
Apart from being a beautiful and charming city, which is full of history, Oxford is a perfect place for a researcher or scholar willing to work in quiet, pleasant and green surroundings. The libraries and the archives are all at an easy walking distance, which is quite remarkable for someone usually living in Paris! People at the university, at the libraries or at the archives are all very helpful and friendly, as well as at the MFO, where the staff and the other residents are extremely welcoming, so you can feel quickly at home. Last but not least, the oxonian intellectual atmosphere enables me to get new perspectives for my thesis and my research.