Added: August 1, 2015 – Last updated: August 1, 2015


Author: Nancy Rose Hunt

Title: An Acoustic Register, Tenacious Images, and Congolese Scenes of Rape and Repetition

Subtitle: -

Journal: Cultural Anthropology: Journal of the Society for Cultural Anthropology

Volume: 23

Issue: 2

Year: May 2008

Pages: 220-253

ISSN: 0886-7356 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1548-1360 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Congolese History


Link: Wiley Online Library (Restricted Access)


Author: Nancy Rose Hunt, Department of History, University of

Abstract: »This article argues for the importance of rewriting the conventional atrocity narrative about violence in King Leopold’s Congo Free State in relation to the present, the ongoing war-related humanitarianism and sexual violence in the DRC. The central idea is to push beyond the shock and tenacity of the visual, the ubiquitous mutilation photographs that tend to blot out all else; and instead seek weaker, more fragile acoustic traces in a diverse archive with Congolese words and sounds. This sensory, nonspectral mode of parsing the archive tells us something new about the immediacy of violence, its duration in memory, and the bodily and reproductive effects of sexually torturing women. The sound of twisted laughter convulsed around forms of sexual violence that were constitutive of reproductive ruination during the rubber regime in Leopold’s Congo. The work of strategically tethering the past to the present should not be about forging historicist links across time but about locating repetitions and difference, including differences among humanitarian modes and strategies in the early 20th and the early 21st centuries.« (Source: Cultural Anthropology)


  Boali and Visual Debris (p. 221)
  Fields of Sound (p. 224)
  Reproductive Ruination (p. 225)
  "A Callous Eye" and Acoustic Debris (p. 229)
  Sentries, Laughter, the Unsayable (p. 233)
  Repetition and Difference (p. 237)
  Afterlives (p. 239)
  Conclusion (p. 242)
  Abstract (p. 244)
  Notes (p. 245)
  References Cited (p. 249)

Wikipedia: History of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo