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Whaleboats in the Forest: Subaltern Technologies of Transportation on Congo’s Inland Waterways

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 CONGO_WHALEBOATS project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the CONGO_WHALEBOATS project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "CONGO_WHALEBOATS" about.

fuelled    skills    material    translation    combustion    despite    renewable    complexities    chang    combine    time    rooted    interviews    food    livelihoods    2020    people    craftsmanship    anthropocene    eacute    kinshasa    museums    social    security    assemblages    powered    qualitative    exhibition    economies    space    boat    millions    res    fa    stroke    lives    cutting    river    congo    older    overlooked    places    baleini    nioki    disseminated    sheets    local    theoretical    participant    recycling    african    centres    whaleboats    transportation    repairing    waterways    corrugated    archaeology    internal    socio    wooden    technologies    publication    trace    monograph    locally    50    tar    observation    hosted    ijwi    combines    maintenance    ethnographic    below    africa    energies    kisangani    cultural    scientific    ratoire    basin    goods    ontologies    egrave    crucially    responsible    diesel    spiritual    icirc    circular    agriculture    chinese    sts    thinking    cooperation    international    crafted    horizon    never    lake    building    accompanying    materials    south    transnational    fossil    mfimi    realm    radio    aluminium    articles    kivu    cha    speaks    vital    propulsion    ices    trees    ne    fr    op    nutrition    traditions    anthropologists    engines    ethno    insights    subaltern   

Project "CONGO_WHALEBOATS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: OUDE MARKT 13
city: LEUVEN
postcode: 3000

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Belgium [BE]
 Total cost 178˙320 €
 EC max contribution 178˙320 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2018
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-RI
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-09-01   to  2022-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Congo’s wooden baleinières (Fr. whaleboats) are locally developed and crafted socio-technical assemblages that account for up to 50% of all transportation of goods and people on the waterways of the Congo Basin. Despite the vital role of these subaltern technologies of transportation for the livelihoods of millions, the socio-technical complexities responsible for their success have never been studied. Rooted in older boat building traditions from Ijwi (lake Kivu) and Nioki (on the Mfimi River), and powered by fossil-fuelled Chinese two-stroke Diesel engines, baleinières combine local traditions of craftsmanship with transnational South-South technology translation “from below”. The research aims 1. to trace the baleinières’ chaîne opératoire of materials and skills in time and space, from the cutting of trees and the recycling of materials (tar, corrugated aluminium sheets, etc.), to the repairing and maintenance of the Chang Fa Diesel propulsion system; 2. to investigate the material and spiritual lives and ontologies of fossil-fuelled internal combustion engines (ICEs) in the realm of African river transportation, which have been crucially overlooked by anthropologists so far. The research combines the qualitative method of ethnographic field work (participant observation, interviews) with the theoretical insights of the social study of technology/STS, ethno-archaeology and recent thinking about the Anthropocene. It speaks directly to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme’s international cooperation initiative for Africa (“food, nutrition security and agriculture, renewable energies”) and the Programme’s interest in “circular economies”. Its results will be disseminated in scientific articles, radio features, and an exhibition to be hosted by museums and cultural centres in Kisangani, Kinshasa and different places in Europe, and by an accompanying publication of a monograph.

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The information about "CONGO_WHALEBOATS" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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