Elias Nepa

Job title: 
Geist Undergraduate Fellow, Best Undergrad Thesis in African Studies
Research interests: 
Fellowship Year(s): 2021
Project/Theme Title: Coming of Age in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Abstract: Coming of age is commonly considered to be a transition into a sort of life stability and autonomy. Uniquely, some of the sources of stability and autonomy come from institutions - a stable labor market, marriage as an institution, a stable housing market. In constructions of coming of age in the West, we have institutional markers known as the 5 markers of adulthood - marriage, economic independence, purchasing a property, having children, moving out of your parents home (Silva, 2013). These markers are buoyed by a robust and arguably stable institutional architecture. However, What does coming of age look like when this institutional architecture is compromised, unstable, in flux? This research seeks to understand, from the perspective of those coming of age in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), what the defining characteristics and institutional markers of coming of age are for youth growing up in instability. This research also further seeks to understand how these experiences vary between more and less stable, conflict ridden regions. Utilizing an ethnographic approach this research.