Brussels-MarseilleSummer Study Tour

Belgium is famous for its delicious chocolates, but did you know that it was under King Leopold II’s reign that Belgium became the number one trader of cocoa and chocolate? King Leopold II was the owner and absolute ruler of The Congo Free State from 1885 to 1908, and an estimated number of 10 million Congolese died in consequence of the brutal forced-labor system implemented under his control. During our stay in Brussels, we will explore the colonial traces of the city and discuss how Belgium has dealt with its colonial memories.

Marseille is not only the oldest city in France, but also its second largest city. The city was the gateway to French colonies in the East and in Africa and is today the most multicultural city of France. During our stay in Marseille, we will delve into the colonial memories of the city but also investigate its vibrant, cosmopolitan cultural life. We will also explore the stunning Calanques of Marseille.

Tour Objectives

  • Understand and identify colonial narratives and structures reflected in Belgian and French societies
  • Investigate the interrelation between Europe's colonial past and current immigration issues
  • Experience how the colonial past has been represented in memorial culture and museums and explore how these colonial representations are challenged by curators, artists, and activists today

Possible Activities

  • Explore the colonial memories of Brussels and Marseille on walking tours in the two cities, and meet local artists, curators, and activists
  • Analyze and discuss the curatorial process of the decolonial renovation of the recently reopened Africa Museum in Brussels
  • Visit The Museum of the Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. This was inaugurated in 2013, as Marseille became Cultural Capital of Europe