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School of History

Dr Reuben Loffman


Senior 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.


I am part of a group run by Professor Pierre-Philippe Fraiture (Warwick University) that is producing an edited collection called: Central Africa and Belgium: Empire and Postcolonial Resonance.' This collection will be published by Leuven University Press (date TBA). My chapter has not yet been formally accepted. I am also part of another group run by Dr. Eveline Bouwers in Mainz, Germany, which will produce an edited collection for Routledge on Catholics and Violence in the Nineteenth Century. Again, my paper has yet to be formally accepted. I am due to have a chapter, entitled 'Récupération de l’esclavage en Afrique centrale: Le travail forcé dans l’État indépendant du Congo, 1885-1908,' published in the forthcoming: Histoire Mondiale de l'Esclavage.




Chapters in Books

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


Public Engagement

I have appeared on the 'AskHistorians' podcast (link is external). I have also appeared on 'The Conversation' YouTube channel (link is external). I have offered commentary for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) (link is external). I will be featured on The Know Show Podcast (link is external), the Ecclesiastical History Society Podcast (link is external) and the Mile End Institute Podcast (link is external) at some point in the next few months (I have already recorded these podcasts so they are in the production phase).

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