The interdisciplinary and transregional approaches are considered desirable for numerous grant proposals in social sciences and humanities. Yet they pose not only inspiration, but a challenge, due to various ethical and language issues (multilingual team with English as working language, translation of the terminology, different local languages in the focus areas). During the IRS Seminar with Prof. Johan Lagae these aspects should be discussed through sharing observations from previous fieldwork. Questions about the ethical standards for the collaboration with local academics, translators, or guides and drivers should be addressed, as well as other everyday challenges related to local specifics, i.a. concerning the ethics of photography (e.g. how to depict a slum in a respectable way towards its inhabitants; cf. Lester 2018) or sensitive handling of postcolonial heritage. We are also looking forward to an exchange about the dealing with our own positionality as researchers.
Johan Lagae is Full Professor at Ghent University teaching 20th Architectural History with a particular focus on the non-European context. He received an MSc Degree in Engineering: Architecture from Ghent University in 1991 and obtained a PhD degree with a dissertation on 20th century colonial architecture in the former Belgian Congo from the same institute in 2002. In autumn 2007, he resided as a Chercheur invité de la Fondation de France at the Institut National de l’Histoire de l’Art in Paris and in autumn 2019, he will be a fellow at the Paris Institut des Études Avancées. His current research interest are colonial & postcolonial architecture in (Central-) Africa, African urban history, colonial photography and colonial built heritage. Between 2010 and 2014 he acted as co-chair of a European Community funded COST-action entitled ‘European Architecture beyond Europe’ (www.architecturebeyond.eu), and is co-founder and editorial board member of ABE journal). He has published widely in edited volumes and international journals such as Third Text, Journal of Architecture, Cahiers africains, Photography & Culture,… and co-authored several books and journal issues, among others for the architectural journal OASE. He is also active as a curator and has contributed to several acclaimed, Congo/Africa-related exhibitions, such as The Memory of Congo. The Colonial Era (Tervuren, 2005), Congo belge en images (2010) and, most recently, A chacun sa maison. Housing in the Belgian Congo 1945-1960 (Brussels, 2018).