IU School of Liberal Arts
Didier Gondola's childhood friends wouldn't be surprised that he is teaching history at the university level, since he is the son of two educators. But after being born in the Congo (where his father was a department director in the Ministry of Education) and growing up in Paris, they might be surprised at where he is teaching: at IUPUI in the American Midwest.
Gondola, a faculty member in the history department of the IU School of Liberal Arts, has built an international reputation as an expert in many facets of his homeland. He wrote the widely studied The History of Congo, and both speaks and writes extensively on colonial Africa, popular culture on the continent, the history of slavery and the slave trade, and gender and urban issues in both west and central Africa.
His work has drawn widespread admiration: he won a 2004 Joseph T. Taylor Excellence in Diversity Award, and earned an IU Trustees' Teaching Award in 2002-03.
The well-traveled faculty member enjoys sports - he plays squash and soccer, and has run numerous mini-marathons and other distance races - but also enjoys two other passions: cooking (he's a cordon bleu chef) and listening to classical music, often savoring the music while whipping up a spicy dish of his own recipe for family and friends.