Programme

7 October: Public Conference Opening and Keynote, First Panel 

2:00 pm (UTC+2) | LIVESTREAM | ENGLISH

Opening Remarks

PD Dr. Bettina Brockmeyer, Prof. Dr. Rebekka Habermas, Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lindner

Introduction

Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michelle Müntefering

Keynote Lecture

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Writer, Nairobi, Kenya

Derelict Shards: The Roamings of Colonial Phantoms

Chair: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lindner, Historian, Cologne, Germany 


3 pm (UTC+2): COFFEE BREAK 

conference introduction

3:45 pm (UTC+2) | via ZOOM | ENGLISH

PD Dr. Bettina Brockmeyer, Prof. Dr. Rebekka Habermas, Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lindner 

1st Panel: Shared History: Colonialism

4:00 – 5:30 pm (UTC+2) | via ZOOM | ENGLISH

The panel analyses the impact of colonialism both on overseas colonies and on Europe. It focuses on local contexts, states and organisations, highlighting the agency of people and economic, political and social dynamics. Furthermore, it should reflect that colonial involvement takes place in a trans-imperial context. 

Prof. Dr. Michelle Moyd, Historian, Bloomington, USA: African Sovereignties and “Counterinsurgency” in German East Africa, 1890-1908

Prof. Dr. Bertram Mapunda, Archaeologist, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Can Colonialism Ever Have a Positive Element? A Reflection on the Three Decades of German Colonial Rule in Tanganyika

Dr. Kokou Azamede, Historian, Lomé, Togo: The impact of German colonialism in West African societies. The case of Togo and Ghana

Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Buettner, Historian, Amsterdam, Netherlands: Remaking Europe Through Migration: Colonial Legacies in Context

Chair: Dr. Larissa Förster, Cultural and Social Anthropologist, Berlin, Germany  


8 October, Second and Third Panel 

2nd Panel: Shared History: Post-colonialism

Time: 2:00-3:30 pm (UTC+2) | via ZOOM | ENGLISH

Both in the former colonies as well as in Germany and Europe we are today confronted with the manifold and powerful legacies of colonialism and racism – cultural assets and artifacts, knowledge and human remains, language and linguistic usage, monuments and street names, collective memory and political relations. Thus, it is necessary to critically question collections, museums, knowledge, and politics and to reveal their genealogies and underlying racist conceptions. 

Prof. Dr. Andrew Zimmerman, Historian, Washington, USA: Robbery, Representation, Restitution, and Destruction

Prof. Dr. Ciraj Rassool, Historian, African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies, Cape Town, SA: Restitution, decolonisation and the work of undoing race in the museum

Joshua Kwesi Aikins, Research Associate, Development Policy and Postcolonial Studies, Kassel, Germany: Shifting the Perspective of/on Colonial Commemoration: Decolonising Public Space in Germany

Chair: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lindner, Historian, Cologne, Germany


3.30 PM (UTC+2): COFFEE BREAK 

3rd Panel: Shared History: Projects

Time: 4:00-5:30 pm (UTC+2) | via ZOOM | ENGLISH

For a long time, Europeans held the sovereignty of interpretation over colonial history in academia as well as in some wider audiences. This panel explores how the history of colonial violence, economies and knowledge production can be reappraised without the creation of new hierarchies. How can we develop, write, and communicate a shared history? What are the possibilities and limits of such a history? 

Dr. Manuela Bauche and Christian Kopp, Historians, Berlin, Germany: Bridging Divides? Collaborative Projects, Entangled Injustices and German Memory Politics

Dr. Michael Mel, Artist, Curator, Goroka, Papua New Guinea: Sharing Stories – Shared Space

Uwe Jung, Archival Sciences, Potsdam, Germany: The Archive Guide to German Colonial Past – An opportunity for dehierarchized access to documents 

Chair: PD Dr. Stefanie Michels, Historian, Hamburg, Germany  


9 October: Fourth Panel and Public Discussion 

4th Panel: Shared Future

Time: 12:00 – 1:15 pm (UTC+2) | via ZOOM | ENGLISH

This panel asks how a common future can be shaped. Which possible role models exist, which ideas and previous realisations help to build sustainable projects, institutions and spaces for reflection? This panel focuses on existing and planned events, alliances and network ideas. 

Flower Manase, Curator, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: The future of Africa-Europe ‘collaboration’ on shared history

PD Dr. Bettina Brockmeyer, Historian, Erlangen & Hamburg, Germany: Proposal for a Center for Research on Colonialism and Racism

Prof. Dr. David Simo, German Studies, Yaoundé, Kamerun: Is it possible to imagine collaborative knowledge productions to resist existing asymmetric structures?

Chair: Junior Prof. Dr. Ulrike Schaper, Historian, Berlin, Germany

Concluding remarks

Time: 1:15 pm (UTC+2) | via ZOOM | ENGLISH

PD Dr. Bettina Brockmeyer, Prof. Dr. Rebekka Habermas, Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lindner


1.30 PM (UTC+2): LUNCH BREAK 

Public Panel Discussion: Dealing with the legacies of colonialism and racism in a shared future 

Time: 2:00 pm (UTC+2) | LIVE STREAM | GERMAN (SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION IN ENGLISH)

Dr. Ibou Diop, Romance Studies, Berlin, Germany

Prof. Dr. Albert Gouaffo, German Studies, Dschang, Cameroon

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lindner, Historian, Cologne, Germany

Jackie Thomae, Writer, Berlin, Germany

Hadija Haruna-Oelker, Independent Journalist and Political Scientist

Chair: René Aguigah, Deutschlandradio Kultur 

René Aguigah

René Aguigah, born 1974, is head of the department “Literature Philosophy Religion” at Deutschlandfunk Kultur, where he has been employed since 2010. Previously he was the editor responsible for non-fiction at the magazine “Literaturen” and editor of the “Kritisches Tagebuch” of WDR 3. He lives in Berlin.

Sharing Stories – Shared Space.

This conference, Colonialism as Shared History, provides an opportunity to share stories of projects that have been developed and shared in museum spaces that recognize and value indigenous ways of seeing and experiencing the world. Between source communities and the Australian Museum, the exhibition Holosa: Mud men of the Komunive of Asaro offers the opportunity for the Komunive to bring and share their stories and knowledge and gift the Australian Museum their masks for the communities – in Australia and in Komunive – for a shared future.

In order to experience the space, Ples Namel is established as a physical presence and as a metaphor for communities to consent and engage. Experiences, memories, and knowledge – both the personal and social – are brought to the fore in the encounter.

Joshua Kwesi Aikins

Joshua Kwesi Aikins is a political scientist, human rights activist, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kassel’s Department of Development and Postcolonial Studies. His research interests include the interaction between western-style and indigenous political institutions in Ghana, post- and decolonial perspectives on ‘development,’ cultural and political representation of the African Diaspora, coloniality, and the politics of memory in Germany. In Germany, he served as an expert member of the Parliamentary Commission of inquiry on Racism and Discrimination in the State of Thuringia from 2017 to 2019. As a senior researcher with NGO Vielfalt entscheidet – Diversity in Leadership he co-developed the first differentiated equality data instrument that takes into account all dimensions protected under Germany’s Equal Treatment Act. This forms the basis of the just-completed Afrozensus.de the first large scale community survey for Black African and Afrodiasporic people in Germany. From 2013 to 2015 he coordinated the writing and finally presented the most comprehensive civil society led parallel report to Germany’s state report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Aikins serves on the advisory board of Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (Initiative Black People in Germany) and is involved in diaspora empowerment and the ongoing decolonial renaming of Berlin streets as part of a shift from colonial to anti- and decolonial commemoration in and beyond the German capital. In this context, he was a core member of a team whose efforts led to the renaming of Gröbenufer, a street honoring an enabler of the Brandenburgian enslavement enterprise on the shores of today’s Ghana, to May-Ayim-Ufer, now honoring the Afrogerman poet, social scientist and activist. In Ghana, he served as an associate researcher for the Ghana Constitution Review Commission.

Picture: © Tania Castellví

Shifting the Perspective of/on Colonial Commemoration: Decolonising Public Space in Germany

The shared history of colonial violence – still a marginal point or an omission in school curricula and Germany’s public culture of critical commemoration –  is inscribed into German public space in the form of colonial commemoration. Street names and monuments across the country honor the planners and perpetrators of German colonial aggression. The fact that such namings occurred not just during German colonialism but also during National Socialism points to the many personal and ideological connections between them –  the ways in which the latter drew on the former remains documented in German public space. The contestation of colonial street names and the movements for renaming thematise these linkages and the ways in which colonial continuities shape contemporary Germany. The demand for shifting the perspective of and on Colonial commemoration is presented as a decolonisation of public space in Germany, where clear patterns in an accelerating public debate and policy around these imprints of colonial history allow for insights into the changing dynamics of commemorating colonialism and addressing its continuities.

Kokou Azamede

Dr. Kokou Azamede received his doctorate in 2008 in Historical anthropology at the University of Bremen. He is since 2008 lecturer in the Department of German Studies at the University of Lome. He is a successively research fellow of the Volkswagen Foundation, the DAAD on the North German Mission Society in Bremen, and of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation on the Colonial photography at the University of Frankfurt/M.  His research interests include transcultural studies; Colonial photography; German colonial and missionary history in West Africa. He created the website http://kolonialfotografie.com/ for the didactical use of colonial images from Togo. His publications include:

Transkulturationen? Ewe-Christen zwischen Deutschland und Westafrika, 1884-1939, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2010.

How to use colonial photography in Sub-Saharan Africa for educational and academic purposes: The case of Togo, in: Sissy Helff / Stefanie Michels (eds), Global Photographies: Memory – History – Archives (Image), Bielefeld: Transcript, 65 -77.

Vom »Heidentum« zum Christentum? Die Evangelisierung im westafrikanischen Missionsgebiet des Ewe-Landes in Missionsbildern, 1884–1914, in: Judith Becker, Katharina Stornig (Hg.): Menschen – Bilder – Eine Welt Ordnungen von Vielfalt in der religiösen Publizistik um 1900, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz, Mainz: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag, 65-90.

Restitution, decolonisation and the work of undoing race in the museum

Working from methods and lessons of the South African experience of restitution from Austria, as well as some experience of advising on human remains restitution in Germany, this presentation will discuss the dilemmas and debates on restitution and entanglement in museums with colonial histories in Germany. It asks how it may be possible to rethink collecting histories, museum infrastructures and disciplines so that the challenges of restitution and decolonisation can be properly appreciated. Is it possible in the end to undo the colonial foundations of the modern museum?

Bridging Divides? Collaborative Projects, Entangled Injustices and German Memory Politics

The divisions that colonialism once produced resonate until today – and have also shaped structures and practices of remembrance to colonialism in Germany: While decolonial activists, many of them with familial links to histories of colonization, have been significant driving forces in advancing the public debate on (de)colonization, they are usually (if at all) only being assigned marginal roles in the planning of exhibitions or cultural programs that address colonialism. Also, narrations on colonialism still often work merely as an additive to a master narrative on German History – a structure which leaves connections to other forms of historical injustices unmarked.

Recently, some projects have aimed at overcoming these divides: In 2015, the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibilty and Future (EVZ) decided to encourage the development of didactic material that would address the entanglements of colonialism and national socialism. And in January 2020, the Berlin-based long-term project DEKOLONIALE Erinnerungskultur in der Stadt (Memory Culture in the City, funded by the Berlin Senate and the Federal Culture Foundation) started, which has been drafted in an intense collaboration of afro-diasporic and postcolonial non-government organisations and the Berlin City Museum (Stadtmuseum Berlin).

The presentation will comment on the chances and pitfalls of such attempts to bridge existing divides. Is DEKOLONIALE a best practice example for collaborative work “at eye level”, as the director of the Berlin City’s Museum recently suggested? And how successful have attempts been to narrate and remember colonialism in an entangled way?

Manuela Bauche

Manuela Bauche is a historian with a focus on the history of colonialism and of life sciences of the 19th and 20th centuries. She also has several years of experience in historical-political education. Her dissertation examines the relationships between the fight against malaria, state rule, racism and classism in Cameroon, German East Africa and East Frisia around 1900. Since January 2019, Manuela Bauche has been the director of the project on the historical-political examination of the history of the building Ihnestr. 22. She is a member of the steering committee of the project Dekoloniale. Erinnerungskultur in der Stadt.

Picture: © Kerstin Kühl

Conference concept

‘Africa’, ‘Asia’ and ‘Oceania’ are no longer objects of European history and European decision-making. In the post-colonial age of globalization, we are facing an era of ever closer political, economic, social and cultural interdependence, but also strong ruptures in societies around the world. In order to better shape our future together, we also need to come to a common understanding of our history – in the sense of a shared history, although not necessarily assessed equally in all parts. We need political, cultural and academic exchanges, including disputes about the colonial past in order to come to a better mutual understanding of our colonial history and of the strong roots of racism.

Meanwhile controversial public debates about the colonial past have been going on for decades in almost all countries, the debate in Europe has intensified only recently. We are witnessing public debates about an entangled global history and the question of how to deal with the material and immaterial witnesses of such an interconnectedness. These debates take place in universities and museums, in theatres, literature and newspapers, in parliaments or civil society initiatives and on the streets. The focus lies on questions about the restitution of colonial objects, the impact of colonialism and racism, and different ways of reading history.

However, remembering and coming to terms with a shared history can only be successful if the demand for a discussion on equal terms does not remain an empty promise. To this end, it must be possible to create a diverse and heterogeneous space of memory, the arts, and research, which deepens existing cooperation and opens up new forms of cooperation.

The aim of the conference is, therefore, to bring together research, the arts and civil society – namely from the former colonies and Germany – in order to question the past, present and future of colonial memory. What could a shared history look like? The conference should help to concretize and set in motion co-operative research.

Is it possible to imagine collaborative knowledge productions to resist existing asymmetric structures?

We already have a shared common world functioning which is shaping a common future. This common world functions on the basis of conscious and unconscious asymmetries, hierarchies and power relations. The question is: how do we resist these powerful structures and imagine new ways of dealing with each other and working together. It is an ethical and an epistemological question. I will address some strategies of creating collaborative structures of knowledge production to overcome the existing models.

Proposal for a Center for Research on Colonialism and Racism

As an historian, I am trained to think about the past. But in my talk, I will do the opposite. I will think about the future. The problem of dealing with the artefacts in European museums and archives that were taken from former colonies has become urgent. The problem requires political solutions, which must include their return. However, these artefacts constitute more than a political challenge. They also challenge scholars in both the Global North and South. We must find ways to tell the stories of artefacts that do not speak for themselves. And we should do so cooperatively, among countries and disciplines. So, we need collectively to create new concepts. Therefore, in my brief talk I propose the foundation of a new institute in Germany, an institute for research, education and public discussion that will pursue the aims of this conference, that is, an institute for “colonialism as shared history”.

The future of Africa-Europe “collaboration” on shared history

This presentation intends to discuss the Future of Africa-Europe “collaborative projects” in 21st C under the aspect of shared history. However, I’ll start by questioning the “shared history” terminology to broaden the discussion. First “what the term shared history or heritage mean?”, second “What are the existing similarities or common features in this history?” I argue that “shared history” is diplomatic jargon that hides or erodes the underlying factors in colonialism history, that were supposed to be discussed for critical self-reflection in order to provide guidance for future “collaborative projects”.   The history of colonialism is profound on its own context as it influences the current social, economic and political status of the former colonial states (Africa). This history has created a margin that still separates colonizers from colonized through “inequality, racism, segregation, oppression and exploitation. In that understanding, the discussion of the future of Africa-Europe collaboration is still facing problematic concerns for discussions. However, this presentation suggests sensitive approaches should be considered to both ends in order to build “new relationships”, “openness”, “partnership”, “consultancy”, and resolve “trust issues”.

The Archive Guide to German Colonial Past – a web portal for research and education

Numerous documents relating to the German colonial period are stored in German and European archives. Representatives of the formerly colonised societies have to overcome special hurdles in order to be able to evaluate them. In addition to the German language and the writings used, this applies in particular to the contextual knowledge necessary to understand the documents. How must an offer be provided that facilitates this access? The project “Quellen zur Kolonialzeit” (“Sources on the Colonial Period”) carried out at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office addresses this task. The resulting archive guide to German colonial history contains not only the main archival database but also innovative additional services. These extend to the possibilities of direct participation in the modelling of the common past. Regardless of this, the fundamental problem arises of how the meta-information on documents can be enriched with reasonable effort in such a way that it meets the evolving demands of society. In the context of the project, the potential of the free knowledge database Wikidata will be demonstrated as an example. It can be used as a link between institutionally developed archive catalogues and the information provided by users.

Robbery, Representation, Restitution, and Destruction

Across Europe and the United States, activists have been tearing down statues of white supremacists — politicians, slave traders, and military officers, and the like. This is surely part of the same engagement with the material traces of global white supremacy as the struggles to deal with objects of colonized peoples held in European museums. But the arts and crafts and tools of colonized people held in European collections should not, of course, be destroyed like the statues of white supremacists.  These artifacts are, more or less, stolen property that should be returned as one part of a broader process of reparations. Even body parts – though they might also be considered as evidence for murder investigations – can be returned at least partly on the analogy of stolen property.  But what about the photographs and plaster casts of body parts that also form a part of many, if not all, collections? They are objects of representation rather than robbery. This paper will consider the violent processes by which these representations were taken as a way to relate them to the destruction of white supremacist statues, in order to think about what justice might mean in regard to these objects.

Remaking Europe Through Migration: Colonial Legacies in Context

As is well known, multiple varieties of migration have long reconfigured the populations and cultures of nations across Europe, including but far from restricted to those that once had overseas empires.  After 1945, increased inward flows from colonies (and ultimately former colonies) fundamentally transformed not only distinct European metropoles that attracted peoples from territories they once held in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.  On a far wider scale, migration had a deep impact on many countries whose minority groups originating from outside Europe did not invariably come from their own former empires.  In the limited time available, my comments will briefly note general points and flag different examples, situating issues such as diversity, identity, and belonging within a transnational European context—one in which intra-European and other mobilities are deeply entangled with those extending from imperial legacies.

The impact of German colonialism in West African societies. The case of Togo and Ghana

The German presence in West Africa dates back to the second half of the 19th century with the arrival of the Protestant North German Mission Society among the Ewe people on the coast. The Protestant mission marked the life of the Togolese through evangelization for about a century. It was joined 40 years after its establishment by the German colonial administration which founded the colony of Togo and led it until the outbreak of the 1st war. In the meantime, the German colonial administration brought in the Catholic Mission of Steyl as a counterweight to the Protestant Mission, and allowed the Basel Mission to operate in the northern part of the colony. Thus the colony of Togo was covered under German influence in religious, socio-cultural, political and economic fields. Nowadays the daily life of many Togolese people is full of memories of the German period through attitudes and actions that refer to the legacy of the German past. The socio-cultural, economic and even political environment of the Togolese people reveals material and immaterial signs of the German-Togolese past. 

The present contribution aims to show the impact of German colonialism in Togo in the domination and/or interactive relationships between Germans (missionaries, traders and colonial administrators) and the natives of Togo in the period from 1847 to 1939.

Can Colonialism Ever Have a Positive Element? A Reflection on the Three Decades of German Colonial Rule in Tanganyika

Tanganyika (today Tanzania Mainland) was one of a few German colonies in Africa. The Germans reigned Tanganyika, then called Deutsch Ostafrika, for 33 years, from 1885-1918. Expectedly, a large part of this period was characterized by acts of discontent and resistance from the local people who, through deceitful colonial agents, led by Carl Peters, had been conned through fraudulent contracts that led to power usurpation. Nonetheless, colonial administrative and economic operations proceeded, sustaining only minor delays. After the three decades, the Germans left noticeable impacts, both negative and arguably positive, tangible and intangible that are traceable. This paper attempts to survey the German history in Tanganyika in order to identify observable relics, with a focus on economy, socio-politics, and culture.

African Sovereignties and “Counterinsurgency” in German East Africa, 1890-1908

African peoples and polities asserted their sovereignty against German imperial encroachment between 1888 and 1907, sometimes through armed opposition, sometimes through negotiated settlements or alliances. Those who refused to negotiate or subjugate themselves to German authority often suffered devastating consequences at the hands of the colonial army or its auxiliaries, made up mostly of African troops.

This narrative, while accurate on its face, sacrifices texture for smoothness. But other readings become possible when historians turn their attention to underused historical sources that offer glimpses of African understandings of authority and legitimacy in governance during this period.

This paper examines how East African notions of sovereignty, self-defense, or self-determination informed their interpretations of, and responses to, German incursions that threatened their lives, livelihoods, and cosmologies. Their efforts to defend themselves often appear in the historiography as “rebellion,” a word that assumes German legitimacy as political actors in this period in East Africa. Its use thus reinforces a German perspective of racial and civilizational superiority over East African peoples. Germans, for their part, imagined the wars they provoked to be “counterinsurgencies” that would lead to the “pacification” or subjugation of African peoples. This paper undertakes a critical examination of how we might reinterpret this period through the lens of African determination to defend their sovereignty, across different registers, and in the face of sustained German violence. Although this paper focuses on German East Africa/Tanzania, its methodological approach has wider trans-imperial applicability.

Bettina Brockmeyer

Bettina Brockmeyer is a historian and Privatdozentin at Bielefeld University. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Hamburg since 2020. Previously, she was a research associate at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Her research focuses on colonial history, including the politics of memory and the history of human remains. Her second book analyses the biographies of a settler, a chief, and a missionary in East Africa. Selected publications:

“Geteilte Geschichte, geraubte Geschichte. Koloniale Biografien in Ostafrika (1880-1950)”, Frankfurt/M.: Campus (forthcoming),

Interpreting an Execution in German East Africa. Race, Gender, and Memory”, in: Dörte Lerp, Ulrike Lindner (Ed.), New Perspectives on the History of Gender and Empire. Comparative and Global Approaches, London: Bloomsbury 2018, pp. 87-113,

together with Frank Edward and Holger Stoecker: “The Mkwawa complex: A Tanzanian-European history about provenance, restitution, and politics”, in: Journal of Modern European History 18:2 (2020), pp.  117–139.

Elizabeth Buettner

Elizabeth Buettner has been Professor of Modern History at the University of Amsterdam since 2014.  Her publications encompass earlier work on Britain and late imperial India and memories of the ‘Raj’ in postcolonial Britain, particularly Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India (Oxford University Press, 2004); her more recent research focuses on postcolonial migration, multiculturalism, and memories of empire in Britain and other Western European countries.  Since her book Europe after Empire: Decolonization, Society, and Culture was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016, her research has extended further into the overlapping histories of postcolonial Europe and European integration.  This counts among the topics covered within the European Commission-funded Horizon 2020 consortium project she is now part of that explores ‘European Colonial Heritage Modalities in Entangled Cities’ (ECHOES; see http://projectechoes.eu)

For more information, see: https://www.uva.nl/en/profile/b/u/e.a.buettner/e.a.buettner.html

Ibou Diop

Ibou Coulibaly Diop is a university teacher and researcher. Since his studies in romance philology and German as a foreign language at the university of Berlin and Potsdam, he has been focusing his research on contemporary literature and especially on questions of globalisation. His current research looks at theories of Black literature, transculturality, fropolitanism and cosmopolitanism.

His latest publications focus on French-speaking women’s literature and negritude.

Picture: © Yero Adugan Eticha

Andreas Eckert

Andreas Eckert is Professor of African History at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Since 2009 he is also Director of the Käte Hamburger Collegium “Work and Human Life Course in Global History” (re:work), funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. He widely published on 19th and 20th century African history, colonialism, labor, and global history and served for many years as editor of the Journal of African History. Eckert also regularly publishes for German newspapers like the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” and “Die Zeit”. Most recent books: “Global Histories of Work”, ed, 2016, and “General History of Labour in Africa, 20th and 21st Centuries“, ed., 2019. He is about to complete a Short History of Colonialism, to be published by Princeton University Press.

Larissa Förster

Larissa Förster, PhD, is Head of the Department of Cultural Goods and Collections established in 2019 at the German Lost Art Foundation, and Associate Member of the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage at the Humboldt University, Berlin. She is a cultural and social anthropologist with a regional focus on Southern Africa and works on issues of postcolonial provenance and return with regard to artefacts and human remains. She co-edited „Museumsethnologie – Eine Einführung. Theorien – Praktiken – Debatten“ (2019) and „Provenienzforschung zu ethnografischen Sammlungen der Kolonialzeit. Positionen in der aktuellen Debatte“ (2018).

Albert Gouaffo

Albert Gouaffo has been a professor of German literature and cultural studies as well as intercultural communication at the Université de Dschang since 2014. Since 2015, he is the head of the department of applied foreign languages in the philosophical faculty of the same university. In December 2018, he was elected deputy president of the Association of German Studies in Sub-Saharan Africa (GAS) in Senegal. He is on the scientific advisory board of the Center for Cultural Heritage Losses (Colonial Contexts), on the project “Postcolonial Remembrance in the City” (Berlin), as well as on the project “TRANSMED! Thinking of the Méditerranée and European consciousness” at the German-French Youth Office, Berlin.

He studied German and Francophone African literature at the universities of Yaoundé (Cameroon), Hanover, and Saarbrücken. In 1997, he received his doctorate on the subject of “The Experience of Foreignness and Literary Reception Process. The Reception of Francophone African Literature in the German Language and Cultural Area 1949-1990”. In 2006 he habilitated at Saarland University on the topic “Knowledge and Cultural Transfer in a Colonial Context. The Example of Cameroon-Germany”. Currently, his research interests are postcolonial studies, German-African migration literature, memory topographies, colonial history, provenance research. Recent publication with Stefanie Michels: Colonial connections – transcultural memory topographies: The Rhineland in Germany and the grasslands of Cameroon. Bielefeld: Transcript-Verlag 2019.

Rebekka Habermas

Rebekka Habermas is a professor of Modern History at the University of Göttingen and held guest professorships in Oxford, Paris and New York. Her research interests lie in colonial history and history of knowledge. She has worked on the gender und religious history and in recent years, on the history of German colonialism, particularly in Africa and Oceania. She has also addressed postcolonial approaches, issues of knowledge transfer and questions of restitution. Her publication include: 

Skandal in Togo. Ein Kapitel deutscher Kolonialherrschaft, Frankfurt a.M. 2016;

Thieves in Court. The Making of the German Legal System in the Nineteenth Century, Cambridge 2016;

Rebekka Habermas (Ed.), Negotiating the Secular and the Religious in the German Empire. Transnational Approaches, Oxford 2019;

Rebekka Habermas/Richard Hölzl (Ed.), Mission global. Eine Verflechtungsgeschichte seit dem 19. Jahrhundert, Köln; Weimar; Wien; Böhlau, 2014.;

Rebekka Habermas/Alexandra Pzyrembel (Ed.), Von Käfern, Märkten und Menschen. Kolonialismus und Wissen in der Moderne. Göttingen 2013.;

Frauen und Männer des Bürgertums. Eine Familiengeschichte (1750-1850), Göttingen 2000, 2002.

Hadija Haruna-Oelker

The political scientist Hadija Haruna-Oelker lives as an author, editor and presenter in Frankfurt am Main. She mainly works for the Hessische Rundfunk – among others for the radio-magazine “Der Tag” (hr2 Kultur) and she moderates the regular event “StreitBar” at the Anne Frank Bildungsstätte in Frankfurt. Her work focuses on youth and social affairs, migration and racism research. Haruna-Oelker is co-editor of the anthology about black perspectives in germany “Spiegelblicke – Perspektiven Schwarzer Bewegungs in Deutschland” (Orlanda Verlag). She is the winner of the KAUSA Media Prize 2012, donated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and the ARD Radio Prize Kurt Magnus 2015. She is part of the journalist Association “Neue Deutsche Medienmacher*innen” (NDM) and the Initiative of Black People in Germany (ISD). More: www.hadija-haruna.de

Uwe Jung

Uwe Jung, born 1968, studied African Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Study of library and information sciences, also in Berlin. For many years head of the library and information department at the Goethe-Institut in Cameroon. Research assistant at the Department of Information Sciences at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences.

Christian Kopp

Christian Kopp is a historian, curator and activist of the NGO Berlin Postkolonial. He has supported the campaign in commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Berlin Africa Conference (in 2009/10), the initiative No Amnesty on Genocide! (since 2011) advocating reparations for Ovaherero and Namas and the ongoing campaign No Humboldt 21! (since 2013) demanding a moratory for the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. Since January 2020 he is part of the program DEKOLONIALE Erinnerungskultur in der Stadt and in charge of its digital story mapping and exhibition projects. 

Ulrike Lindner

Ulrike Lindner is a professor of Modern History at the University of Cologne. Her research interests lie in comparative, colonial and global history. She has worked on the history of social policy and in recent years, on the comparative history of European empires, particularly on German and British colonies in Africa. She has also addressed postcolonial approaches, issues of knowledge transfer between European empires, and questions of colonial labour. Her publication include:

Koloniale Begegnungen: Großbritannien und Deutschland als Imperialmächte in Afrika 1880-1914, Frankfurt a. M./New York: Campus, 2011; (co-edited with Sabine Damir-Geilsdorf),

Bonded Labour. Global and Comparative Perspectives (18th-21st Century), Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016;

(co-edited with Dörte Lerp): New Perspectives on the History of Gender and Empire: Comparative and Global Approaches , Bloomsbury Academic: London (2018). 

Flower Manase

Flower Manase is the Curator of History at the National Museum of Tanzania (Museum and House of Culture, Dar es Salaam) since 2009.  She has (BA Hons) in History and Archaeology and Msc.  in Natural Resource Assessment and Management, University of Dar es Salaam. Ms. Manase has worked in projects related to Germany colonial history, including “ReMIX”: “Afrika in Translation” in Tanzania, University of Bayreuth, and the German Colonialism exhibition “Fragments past and present” by the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Ms. Manase has also widely participated in ongoing debates and workshops in relation to “colonialism history/ projects” and “restitutions”. This includes the museum conversation workshops and conference organized with Goethe Institut in Kigali and Dar es Salaam. She is currently working on the provenance of objects collected during colonial period at the Museum and House of Culture, Dar es Salaam and Ethnological Museum, Berlin. 

Bertram Mapunda

Bertram Mapunda is a Professor of Anthropology and History at Jordan University College, TANZANIA, where he also served as the Principal of the College. Bertram is an alumnus of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (BA-Archaeology, 1989) and the University of Florida, USA (MA-Anthropology, 1991; and PhD Anthropology, 1995). Since 1995 he has been teaching archaeology, anthropology, heritage management, cultural tourism and history at both undergraduate and graduate levels; leading field-schools, as well as supervising MA and PhD students, first at the University of Dar es Salaam, and since October 2017, at Jordan University College, in Morogoro.   Throughout, he has remained active in field research, both personal and collaborative from which he has produced several publications including three edited books, two single-authored ones and over 40 book chapters and journal articles in archaeometallurgy, public archaeology, heritage management, cultural tourism and social history. Bertram has also served in various administrative positions, including Coordinator Archaeology Unit (4 years), Head, Department of History and Archaeology (6 years), Principal, College of Arts and Social Sciences (4 years); Principal College of Humanities (2 years)—all at the University of Dar es Salaam,  and Principal, Jordan University College, Morogoro (current position). 

Michael Mel

Michael Mel focuses on Indigenous processes of art-making, teaching, learning, and performing primarily within the context of mbowamb (the Mogei) of the Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea. His art performances and publications explore and articulate indigenous ways of seeing and experiencing art-making, body adornment, performance, and engagement. Conference keynotes have been shared in Papua New Guinea, Australia, Germany, and Canada. He has had opportunities to engage and share with others and has performed in and curated exhibitions in Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Caledonia, UK, US, and Canada. He completed a Ph.D. from Flinders University in South Australia and was a recipient of a Prince Claus Award from the Prince Claus Foundation in the Netherlands for his work in cultural communities for the Pacific. Michael is currently the Manager of Pacific and International Collections at the Australian Museum in Sydney, Australia.

Stefanie Michels

Stefanie Michels is an academic senior at the Institute for History at Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf. She holds an MA in African Studies from the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) and received her Ph.D. from the University of Cologne with a dissertation on German colonial invasion in the Cross River Area of Cameroon. Her second book was on the visual representation of the German colonial soldiers in Africa. She was co-initiator of a collaborative research project of the colonial connections between the Rhineland in Germany and the Grassfields of Cameroon, some of the results were presented in exhibitions in Düsseldorf and Dschang, see also: Koloniale Verbindungen – transkulturelle Erinnerungstopographien, Bielefeld: transcript (co-edited with Albert Gouaffo) and www.deutschland-postkolonial.de for an interactive presentation of research results.

Michelle R. Moyd

Michelle Moyd is a historian of eastern Africa, with special interests in the region’s history of soldiering and warfare. Her first book, Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa explores the social and cultural history of African soldiers (askari) in the colonial army of German East Africa, today’s Tanzania. The book examines how askari identities were shaped by their geographical and sociological origins, their ways of war, and their roles as agents of the colonial state. Her research interest lies in bringing the experience of nineteenth-century African-American soldiers into a broader analysis of soldiers of empire. Her publication includes:

Linguistic Disobedience: Restoring Power to Civic Language, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018 (co-authored with Yuliya Komska and David Gramling),

“In Service of Empires: Apaches and Askaris as Colonial Soldiers” (with Janne Lathi), Janne Lahti, ed. “Entangled Empires: German and United States Colonialism in a Connected World” (Palgrave 2021), forthcoming,

“Imagining African Warfare: War Games and Military Cultures in German East Africa”, Wayne Lee, ed. Warfare and Culture in World History, 2nd edition (NYU Press, 2020), forthcoming, With Joël Glasman,

“Military and Police” (with Joël Glasman) in General Labour History of Africa, edited by Stefano Bellucci and Andreas Eckert (James Currey Press, 2019).

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was born in Kenya. She is the author of the novel Dust, which was shortlisted for the Folio Prize. Winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, she has also received an Iowa Writers’ Fellowship. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s and other publications, and she has been a TEDx Nairobi speaker and a Lannan Foundation resident. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

Picture: © Maurice Weiss/ OSTKREUZ

Ciraj Rassool

Ciraj Rassool is a Senior Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and directs the Remaking Societies, Remaking Persons Supranational Forum. He directed the African Programme in Museum and Heritage Studies at UWC for 15 years. During 2015-2016, he was a visiting fellow at Morphomata Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Cologne, where he continues to serve as Associate Member of the Global South Studies Center. He was on the boards of the District Six Museum and Iziko Museums of South Africa. He has previously chaired the Scientific Committee of the International Council of African Museums (AFRICOM), and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the study of the Physical Anthropology Collection ‘Felix von Luschan’ at the Museum of Ethnology at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany. Among his latest publications are

The Politics of Heritage in Africa: Economies, Histories and Infrastructures (New York 2015), co-edited with Derek Peterson and Kodzo Gavua;

Rethinking Empire in Southern Africa (published as Journal of Southern African Studies, 41, 3, June 2015), co-edited with Dag Henrichsen, Giorgio Miescher and Lorena Rizzo,

Unsettled History: Making South African Public Pasts (Ann Arbor, 2017), written with Leslie Witz and Gary Minkley;

Missing and Missed: Subject, Politics, Memorialisation (published as Kronos: southern african histories, 44, 2018), co-edited with Nicky Rousseau and Riedwaan Moosage.

Ulrike Schaper

Ulrike Schaper is an Associate Professor (Juniorprofessorin) of Modern History at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her research has an emphasis in the global history of late nineteenth and twentieth century Germany. Currently, she works on West German sex tourism between ca. 1965 and 1995 in order to examine intersections of globalization, sexual liberalization and commodification in West-Germany’s relation to the “Third World”. She has worked extensively on German colonial history, colonial knowledge and colonial law and received her Ph.D. in 2010 with a study on the colonial legal order in the German colony of Cameroon. Published under the title Koloniale Verhandlungen – Gerichtsbarkeit, Verwaltung und Herrschaft in Kamerun 1884-1916 by Campus Verlag in 2012, this study approaches the colonial legal order from a cultural history perspective and analyzes how law and jurisdiction became sites in which colonial rule was demonstrated, implemented and negotiated.

David Simo

Cameroonian born scholar. Professor of German and comparative literature and culture at the University of Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon.  Director of the African German centre for scientific cooperation. Alexander von Humboldt ambassador scientist in Cameroon. Research fields: literary theory, History of Literature, Intercultural and transcultural studies, postcolonial criticism. Publications include:

Interkulturalität und ästhetische Erfahrung. Untersuchungen zum Werk Hubert Fichtes. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1993

Die Erfahrungen des Imperiums kehren zurück. Inszenierungen des Fremden in der deutschen Literatur. Comparativ; 12,2. Leipzig: Leipziger Univ.-Verl., 2002

Afrikanische Deutschland-Studien und deutsche Afrikanistik. Ein Spiegelbild. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2014

Jackie Thomae

Jackie Thomae, born 1972 in Halle, grew up in Leipzig and Berlin, works as a journalist and television writer. Her debut novel Momente der Klarheit (Moments of Clarity) was published in 2015. She was shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2019 with her second novel Brüder (Brothers). She lives in Berlin.

Picture: © Urban Zintel

Andrew Zimmerman

Andrew Zimmerman studies revolutions, political thought, imperialism and capitalism. Originally a historian of Germany and Europe, their geographical focus now also includes the United States and West Africa. Their teaching and research explore decolonizing approaches to history, including transnational archival research and the use of social and political theory. Their recent research has focused on the global history of the U.S. Civil War, Reconstruction, and the New South. They are the author of Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South (Princeton, 2010) and the editor of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Civil War in the United States (International Publishers, 2016). They are currently writing a history of the Civil War as an international working-class revolution with roots in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. It will be called “A Very Dangerous Element.” Their scholarship has been supported by organizations including the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.