Lumumba’s Ghost: A Historiography of Belgian Colonial Culture
Stanard traces the fascinating historiography of Belgian ‘colonial culture’. For long, ‘colonial’ history was marginal in Belgium. There were few Congolese immigrants who might have asked harder questions about the past and fewer Belgian historians with first-hand knowledge of the colony. The ‘imperial turn’ in historiography, Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost, a parliamentary inquiry into Patrice Lumumba’s murder, generational change, and anniversaries raised awareness of the colonial experience’s enduring consequences. Research has shown how colonial-era propaganda and former colonials sustained a positive vision of past overseas rule. The colonial era reshaped institutions, left colonialist monuments across the metropole and impacted migration. MacKenzie’s work can guide future research into Belgian post-colonial literature and empire’s effects on the monarchy and the Catholic Church.