Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program
Empire in Africa: History vs. Hoax with Bruce Gilley

In the 1998 book of popular history King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa, Adam Hochschild presents a horrific picture of the African Congo under the rule of of Belgian King Leopold II in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. This book has served to solidify in the public mind an image of the Belgian colony as one of unmitigated brutality and exploitation.

But what if that picture is misleading or even blatantly false?

In the May/June issue of The American Conservative, Professor Bruce Gilley argues that it is. In his essay, Dr. Gilley argues that the book is rife with errors and outright dishonesty, rendering its thesis untenable, and suggests that this presentation has inaccurately colored the interpretation of European colonialism in Africa and elsewhere.

On May 10th at 2:00 PM ET Dr. Gilley will join TAC managing editor Jude Russo on a webinar to discuss his essay and the broader question of colonialism.

Bruce Gilley is a Professor of Political Science at Portland State University. His research centers on democracy, legitimacy, climate change, and global politics, and he is a specialist on the comparative politics of China and Asia. He is the author of The Right to Rule: How States Win and Lose Legitimacy (2009) and China’s Democratic Future (2004) in addition to several co-edited volumes. His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Comparative Political Studies, Environmental Politics, Politics and Policy, Democratization, and the European Journal of Political Research. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Democracy and the Journal of Contemporary China. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University; an M.Phil. from the University of Oxford; and a B.A. from the University of Toronto. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at Oxford University from 1989 to 1991 and a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Princeton University from 2004 to 2006.

Jude Russo is the managing editor of The American Conservative and a contributing editor of The New York Sun. His writing has appeared in First Things, The Lamp, and elsewhere. He holds an A.B. in classics from Harvard and an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University. He lives in his native Maryland with his wife and two daughters.

Click Here to Register.

Date and Time
May 10th, 2023
2:00 PM ET