Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka, writing for our “Covid-19 and the Social Sciences” series, queries why Covid-19 has not become an “event” for Western social researchers: an accident that radically reverses the normal order of things. Instead, he demonstrates that the Black bodies of research assistants continue to carry the weight of a colonial system of knowledge production, rendering them vulnerable to dangerous conditions. How, Bisoka asks, might a decolonizing response change research practice—and how have African artistic productions helped to map this terrain?
Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka
Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka is a lawyer and political scientist. He obtained his PhD at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He works on three theoretical and epistemological challenges that he is developing in recent years through several collaborations: the subjective approach to power in access to natural resources (since his PhD thesis); the reformulation of the peasant issue in studies on armed groups in Africa (as part of a postdoc at Ghent University); and the development of an Afro-critical perspective in social sciences (in a project with Cambridge University and the African Postgraduate Academy of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt). Bisoka has taught in recent years at the Rift Valley Institute and several other universities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Belgium. Before moving into research, he worked for ten years on development cooperation in Africa and Europe and continues to collaborate in this sector on issues of development, governance, and security. He has published numerous articles in English and French in several leading journals as well as in several books and journals readily available to his African students and colleagues. Bisoka has also won several international awards and grants—including from CODESRIA and a SSRC African Peacebuilding Network (APN) (2017). He has recently been elected into two visiting scholarships to Oxford University (2019) and Cambridge University (2020).