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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:School Wars: Church, State, and the Death of the Congo
Author:Boyle, Patrick M.
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic terms:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subjects:Church and State
educational policy
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/161485
Abstract:Two conventions tend to shape appraisals of the Belgian Congo (Zaire) and the manner of its decolonization. The first describes the colonial power structure as an alliance of State, Church, and large corporations. The second portrays decolonization as tumultuous, chaotic, or simply 'gone awry'. This article argues that the link between late colonial Church-State relations and the relatively smooth decolonization of the education sector suggests a different political analysis of the period. Two interrelated claims comprise the argument. First, struggles between Church and State for control over the direction of education demonstrate that this wing of the triple alliance was much weaker than has been presumed. The so-called 'school wars' in the 1950s actually threatened to destroy the colonial web. Second, these same conflicts generated changes in colonial policy such that the 1960 move to 'independence education', unlike transitions in other administrative and political sectors, occurred with relative ease. The article examines the development of collaborative relations between Church and State in education before 1939, the differences that surfaced after World War II over which schools to promote in the colony, the conflicts of the 1950s, and the implications of this 'lutte scolaire'. Notes, ref.