Knowing and not knowing: The Kongo between Lisbon and Rome in the long sixteenth century - 1.11.2017

Lecture of Prof. Kate Lowe (Queen Mary University of London)

This talk is framed around around the ebb and flow of knowledge and ignorance, information and misinformation, understanding and misunderstanding, by Europeans in relation to the Kongo in the long Renaissance. It is fashionable for historians to speak now of the easy and constant circulation of knowledge during this period. Yet the case study of knowledge of the Kongo in Renaissance Europe does not really fit this model, but on the contrary shows that the two most powerful cities of fifteenth and sixteenth-century Europe – Lisbon and Rome – knew and/or understood very little about this kingdom in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Organised within the Research Seminar on the History of the Premodern

When & Where

Wednesday, 1 November 2017, 6.15-8 pm. A small reception will follow.
Department of History, Hirschgässlein 21, 4051 Basel, Seminar Room 3


Kate Lowe is Professor of Renaissance History and Culture at Queen Mary University of London, and Co-director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (CREMS). Her research is centred on fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italy, but she is also interested in Renaissance Portugal. Her current project concerns sub-Saharan Africans and African objects in Southern Europe between 1440 and 1650. Much of her previous research has been interdisciplinary in nature, and she is especially interested in history with a visual or material culture component. She is fellow of the Basel Graduate School of History in late October and early November 2017.