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School of History

Dr Reuben Loffman


Lecturer in African History

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8346
Room Number: ArtsTwo 3.32


I joined Queen Mary in 2013. Having taught English for eight months in Tanzania, I studied for my BA in History at Lancaster University. This was followed by two MAs, at SOAS and Durham University respectively.

Afterwards, I completed a PhD at Keele University. Before joining Queen Mary, I taught at Keele University, the University of Manchester, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Bristol.


Research Interests:

My work highlights the agency of local people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and their responses to imperialism, war, and international development following formal decolonisation in 1960. My research explores relations between local intermediaries, state cadres, and international actors. In particular, I am interested in the spaces that Congolese people carved out over and above authoritarian rule and how these spaces affected patterns of development, governance, and violence. As well as publishing my research in academic forums, I have also appeared on Al-Jazeera, PowerFM and RFI English.




  • (2019) With Benoit Henriet, '‘We Are Left with Barely Anything’: Colonial Rule, Dependency, and the Lever Brothers in the Belgian Congo, 1911–1960,' The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History.
  • (2018) 'Same Memory, Different Memorials: The Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans), Martyrdom, and the Kongolo Massacre,' Social Sciences and Missions, 31, 3-4, pp.217-250.
  • (2017) ''An Interesting Experiment': Kibangile and the Quest for Chiefly Legitimacy in Kongolo, Northern Katanga, 1923-1934.' International Journal of African Historical Studies, 50, 3, pp.461-477.
  • (2017) 'Belgian Rule and its Afterlives: Colonialism, Developmentalism, and Mobutism in the Tanganyika District, Southeastern DR-Congo, 1885–1985.' International Labor and Working Class History, 92, pp.47-68.
  • (2016) 'On the Fringes of a Christian Kingdom: The White Fathers, Colonial Rule and the Báhêmbá in Sola, Northern Katanga, 1909-1960.' Journal of Religion in Africa (link is external), 45, 3-4, pp.279-306.
  • (2014) 'An Obscured Revolution? USAID, the North Shaba Project, and the Zaïrian Administration, 1976–1986.' Canadian Journal of African Studies (link is external), 48: 3, pp.425-444.
  • (2012) ‘Men and Women of the Water: The Lokele of Stanleyville and Yakusu under Belgian Rule, 1885-1960.’ African Studies (link is external), 71: 1, pp.52-70.
  • (2011) ‘In the Shadow of the Tree Sultans: African Elites and the Shaping of Early Colonial Politics on the Katangan Frontier.’ Journal of Eastern African Studies (link is external), 5: 3, pp.535-552.

Review Article

(2008) ‘A History of Violence: The State, Youth, and Memory in Contemporary Africa.’ African Affairs, 108: 430, pp.125-133.

I have also reviewed books for African Affairs, The Journal of Modern African Studiesthe Journal of Southern African StudiesAfricaThe Times Literary Supplement and H-Net France. I have also contributed to The Conversation.


I  welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research  on any aspect of sub-Saharan African history from 1850s, including:  

  • political authority and trade in the late pre-colonial period;
  • the negotiation of power relations under indirect rule;
  • the politics of decolonisation;
  • the history of local, national, and international development;
  • violence and warfare in Central Africa from 1870s to the present

Current PhD Students

Joe Macdonald - Interwar nationalism in Eswatini and Lesotho