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ReSIC: Research Center in Information and Communication

ReSIC explores the vast and multidimensional field of Information and Communication sciences.  The research conducted at ReSIC investigates, on the one hand, the content, organization and evolutions of mass media, past and present and, on the other hand, organisational communication, public relations and marketing, and in particular the way new tools and technologies are impacting on network dynamics.  A third concern is the use of digital information, its organization and management in mechanisms of knowledge sharing, as well as data preservation, collection and transmission.  Furthermore, resarch is conducted in the field of semiotics of performing arts, with particular attention to drama reception and audiences.  Combining research and field work on cultural, media and technological issues, the ReSIC research team is working in close connection with civil society organizations, professional journalists, private and non-profit corporations and cultural bodies

CReA-Patrimoine. Research Centre in Archaeology and Heritage

Person in charge of the Unit : Oui

The CReA-Patrimoine is a leading research centre of the Université libre de Bruxelles, promoting national and international programs on archaeology and cultural heritage. It constitutes the priviledged partner between the university and the public authorities in charge of cultural heritage. The CReA-Patrimoine is also responsible for practical training and field schools for undergraduate and graduate students in archaeology.

Center of Cultural Anthropology

Person in charge of the Unit : Oui

The Centre for Cultural Anthropology (CAC) of the ULB is specialised in the fields of religious anthropology, environmental anthropology, historical anthropology, cultural technology, and the study of material cultures. Its fieldworks are mainly situated in Africa, Asia and South America, both in rural and urban settings. 


CROSSROADS of empires : archaeology, material culture and sociopolitical relationships in West Africa

The project brings together a team of archaeologists, historians and anthropologists studying the Niger Valley where it borders Niger and Bénin (West Africa). We are hoping to shed more light on the people that inhabited the area in the past 1500 years and to understand how population movements and craft techniques shaped the area's past. 

Indigenous Entrepreneurship in South Africa and Zimbabwe: Policy and Practice

In several African states, the discussion about economic empowerment of indigenous people forms an integral part of most policy discussions. With indigenous peoples economic circumstances not improving in South Africa and Zimbabwe, in particular, it would be reasonable to investigate the existing economic empowerment policies in both countries. The evolvement of economic empowerment policies is worth investigating particularly looking at how they have benefited indigenous communities entrepreneurially. It is evident that colonialism in Africa left significant wounds through skewed land and business ownership, uneven education systems and unequal opportunities in employment and business. The apartheid system in pre-independence South Africa used tailored legislation and governance systems to dispossess natives of their land, train Africans for certain forms of labour through Bantu education and ensured Afrikaner economic empowerment and racial dominance over non-whites. The same could be argued for the colonial government in Zimbabwe which relegated indigenous people to poor agricultural land (reserves), and controlled the provision of education to ensure that the missionaries would not 'over educate' the indigenous people. Policies such as Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) in South Africa and Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (IEE) in Zimbabwe have been in place for several years now. The question of this study, however is whether these policies have any impact on the designated indigenous entrepreneurship practice and if so, what impact is there? If not, where is the challenge and how can they be addressed? Qualitative research methods in a form of in-depth interviews and observations will be adopted, in a purposive sampled population of indigenous entrepreneurs in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The definition of indigenous people used in this study will follow the guidelines stipulated by the ACHPR in defining the rights of indigenous peoples in Africa.

Atlas of the ceramic traditions of Niger

The project aims at the exhaustive documentation and historical reconstitution of the ceramic traditions in Niger. It is based on systematic surveys in the pottery production centres of the country, in order to 1) caracterise the manufacturing processes and the socio-economic context in which this activity takes place, 2) to reconstitute the networks and spreading processes of the traditions and 3) to collect materials, tools and finished products. The fieldwork also offers the opportunity to link two regions where the ULB carried out researches during the past fifteen years : the occidental part of West Africa and the occidental part of Central Africa. The project further meets a demand of the scientific and political authorities of Niger to valorize the ceramic heritage of the country.

From Seeds to Rags: Textile Production in Dendi and Borgou (North Benin)

The project aims primarily at documenting cotton cloth production in North Benin, from cotton growing activities to thread production (ginning, carding, spinning), weaving on a vertical loom, indigo dyeing, and sewing. One of the target areas is the Dendi (along the southern bank of the Niger River) where technical knowledge is especially endangered. For documentary and comparative purposes, fieldwork will also be carried out further south, in Borgou –the second target area–, where parts of the whole textile production sequence still survive.

'' A female height history. Approach technical and material culture in women's activities of the Dendi region ( northern Benin ) from the late 19th century to today.

The project focuses on the history of women in the southern part of Dendi (Niger Valley, Northern Benin). Absent traditional and official narratives, the place and the voice of women in the socio-economic upheavals in the region between the late 19th and 20th centuries (Islamization, colonization, independence, Marxist revolution) remain unknown. The project objective is to develop a method suitable for the reconstruction of the recent history of a group ''target'' marginalized. Based on the achievements of the cultural technology, my approach is to use the material culture and techniques as alternative historical sources in two observational contexts. The first deals with daily activities (domestic, commercial, agricultural), the second covers the ceremonial activities (initiation, marriage, possession). For each of these spheres, the constituent technical processes of the various activities will be identified: the actors and social relations, materials, tools and objects, gestures, and mobilized representations. Such analysis allows then multiscalar a comparative study. To enter the diachronic, this analytical and comparative perspective will be related with the life trajectory of informants. While helping to fill the gaps documentaries on history, still poorly understood, in this region of West Africa, the project involved the renewal of objects and methods of historical research on marginalized groups.

North African Rock Art Under new light : A palaeosociology of the last Hunter-Gatherers and first Pastoralists

In North Africa, hundreds of rock art sites located in desert areas testify to the occupation of the so-called ‘Green Sahara’, when palaeoenvironmental conditions were more favourable to human settlement and activities. Despite a long tradition of research, most striking is that nobody has investigated the potential of this rock art corpus to tell us about social and anthropological considerations. The aim of NARA-PalSoc research project is to investigate representations of human groups with questions about (1) human relations, (2) social organizations and (3) subsistence activities and worldviews. The project proposes to use this underused body of data in order to elaborate what might be termed as a "Palaeosociology" of both the last hunter-gatherers and the first pastoralists groups in North Africa and for a better understanding of the social dynamics at a time of major shifts in the ways of life.