UF’s Nancy Rose Hunt Receives Major Book Award for Congo History

Nancy Rose Hunt, UF professor of history and African studies, has received the Martin A. Klein Award honoring the best histories of Africa. The American Historical Association will present the award to Hunt in January 2017 during their 131st Annual Meeting.

A Nervous State: Violence, Remedies, and Reverie in Colonial Congo, published this year by Duke University Press, focuses on the effects of colonial rule of the Congo on social, reproductive, and mental health and introduces into the literature the healing cults that were formed in response. Hunt discusses the Belgian Congo's postwar push for development and the injustice it layered in the infrastructure, such as through the siting of an infertility clinic where a penal colony and an abuse-laced factory stood. She explores the rise of dreamscape songs and expressive dance among the Congolese healing from the wounds left by King Leopold's rule, challenging the typical catastrophe narrative of the Belgian Congo in favor of an ethnography of its people's recovery from violence. Also a filmmaker and visual anthropologist, Hunt fuses her creative sense with her background as an archivist to produce A Nervous State, a well-crafted and enlightening medical history of the Congo in the early-to-mid 20th century.

Hunt's previous accolades include the Herskovits Book Prize for her first book, A Colonial Lexicon: Of Birth Work, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo (Duke, 1999), and numerous fellowships for archival and ethnographic research in Africa and Europe.

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