Annual Fund support for David Livingstone conference

As part of the School’s commitment to the African Initiative, the Annual Fund is supporting a conference in Zambia as part of a series of events worldwide marking the bicentenary of the birth of explorer David Livingstone. Organised by the International History department and the Livingstone Museum, in conjunction with the Livingstone-Zambia 2013 events committee,Imperial Obsessions will take place between 19 – 21 April in the Zambian city near Victoria Falls that bears the explorer’s name.   

Funded by an Annual Fund grant, a diverse group of historians, explorers, curators, literary scholars, geographers and installation artists will converge on Livingstone to exchange ideas and views about the explorer’s life and legacy, as well as related issues of colonial rule, imperialism, slavery, education and humanitarian intervention. It is hoped that in addition to academics, African teachers, NGO workers, museum and heritage specialists will attend.

“The event promises to be a fascinating exploration into the life and legacy of Livingstone, and a fitting way to mark the bicentenary,” said Dr Joanna Lewis, lecturer in International History and organiser of the conference. “It will engage LSE research from a number of disciplines with a wide non-academic audience in Africa. It simply would not have been possible without the generous support of the Annual Fund.”

David Livingstone was one of the most influential and popular explorers of the Victorian
era. The combination of his exploratory travel in 19th Century Africa, his writings and his poverty-stricken upbringing inspired a generation of humanitarians, missionaries, entrepreneurs and colonial empire builders to fulfil his aim of bringing ‘commerce, Christianity and civilisation’ to Africa. The effect this had on the lives of millions of Africans ensured a legacy that is as far-reaching as it is controversial.

Keynote lectures at the conference will be given by Tim Jeal, author of the biographyLivingstone, and John Mackenzie, author of David Livingstone and the Victorian Encounter with Africa. For more information on the conference, or to register, visit