PhD Candidate Joshua Castillo Gives Lecture on Congolese History in Northampton

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November 12th, 2019

Fourth year PhD Student Joshua Castillo gave a public lecture in Northampton, MA on Sunday, October 27th regarding “Congo’s Recent History and Contemporary Situation” as part of a seminar on the Democratic Republic of the Congo organized by the Pioneer Valley Interfaith Refugee Action Group. The arrival of over sixty Congolese refugees to the Northampton area over the past two and a half years has sparked local interest in the challenging situation these refugees left behind. The seminar was attended by around sixty area residents including several Congolese refugees, and also included a lecture by African Historian John Higginson of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst on Congo’s colonial history under Belgian rule. During the lectures and lively Q & A session that followed, the speakers and audience discussed major themes in Congolese history such as state violence, conflict over control of natural resources, and popular resistance. Castillo emphasized the remarkable resilience that Congolese have displayed in both surviving war at home, and adapting to the many challenges presented by life as refugees in the United States.