The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a reputation as a failed state and a bottomless quagmire. There are many Congolese realities, however, separated by geographical factors, and some parts of the Congo are doing quite well at the current time. Professor Hoover will be talking about Eastern Congo and the very real tragedy of the areas neighboring the west branch of the Rift Valley. They owe as much or more to the technology of mining coltan, gold, and other minerals of this area than to Congolese capacities to form an effective administration in the area.
Dr. J. Jeffrey Hoover earned his Ph.D. in African History from Yale University, specializing in Tribal Structures in the Congo. His doctoral research was on the origins of the Lunda political system during the 17th through 19th centuries, doing pioneer work with historical linguistics in investigating how a multilingual commonwealth could spread over a thousand miles of African savanna without modern transportation and communications. He also has a degree from Luther College, in Iowa.
He and his wife Ellen, also a Yale Ph.D. in African History, have taught and raised a family in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1979. He is a senior professor in the Department of History at the University of Lubumbashi, and the Director of University Libraries. He also teaches at Katanga Methodist University at Mulungwishi and has served as dean and library head there. In 1985-1991 he served as director of a medical infrastructure rehabilitation project funded by USAID in western Katanga, and has been a consultant to various international organizations and companies. The Hoovers are employed by the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.