African History

The primary research interest on African History carried out in Hannover is the political, social and cultural parameters and forms of expression of African modernity, which developed in the intertwining of unequal but reciprocal relationships in the Atlantic and (post) colonial era. In terms of time, the paradigm shifts and epoch breaks of the “long” 19th and “short” 20th centuries are paramount; Spatially, the focus is primarily on regions in the west (Senegambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia) and the east (Tanzania, Kenya). Thematic priorities are political and social restructuring processes (territorialisation, border regimes and violent regimes, ethnicisation, religious change), changes in production methods, forms of settlement and mobility structures (market economy, urbanisation, migration), differentiation and individualisation (gender, family and generational relationships) as well as self-perception and world views (knowledge and belief systems, cultural practices).

Ongoing research projects

  • Views from German East Africa
    "Views from German East Africa" is a German-Tanzanian educational research and exhibition project in cooperation with the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover and the College of Humanities at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). This project is currently still in the planning phase.
    Year: 2023
  • Colonial Traces in Hanover: Web relaunch and exhibit
    As early as 2003, the LUH History Department published the website "Colonial Traces in Hanover." Emerging from a student teaching research project, it provided information about the local historical intertwinements with German colonial history and has since met with sustained great public response. The teaching research project is now dedicated to updating and expanding the website. Topics will be conceived and implemented in the context of project seminars.
    Led by: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald and Jana Otto, M.A.
    Year: 2022
  • Ethnographic and Anthropological Spoils of War from Military Expeditions in German East Africa as Collections for German Museums
    The research project examines ethnographic and anthropological war spoils from German East Africa as a structural phenomenon of colonial military actions and collection items for German ethnological museums. The project includes basic historiographical and contextual research on military looting of cultural objects and human remains based on a representative selection of colonial military operations.
    Led by: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald
    Team: Eva Künkler, M.A.
    Year: 2022
    Funding: Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (DZK) Magdeburg
  • International Summerschool: "Anthropology and Contemporary Visual Arts From the Black Atlantic" (2019-2021)
    Planned as a series of three Summer Schools (Dakar, Senegal, in March 2019; dates in Hannover, Germany, in April 2020, and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, in June 2021 have been postponed due to the covid pandemic), the project takes a close look at contemporary visual art from Africa and the American and European diasporas.
    Led by: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Kerstin Pinther (University of Regensburg) & Prof. Dr. Christoph Singler (Université Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Besançon, France, until 2019).
    Team: Dr. El Hadji Malick Ndiaye (Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire, Université Cheikh Anta Diop & Musée de l'Art Africain, Dakar/ Senegal); Dr. Sterlin Ulysse (IERAH/ISERSS, Port-au-Prince/ Haiti); Dr. Romuald Tchibozo, (FASH/ Département d'Histoire et d'Ar
    Year: 2019
    Funding: Volkswagen Foundation
  • Knowledge for Tomorrow
    Since 2013, Prof. Dr. Reinwald has supervised and coordinated the Volkswagen Foundation's interdisciplinary funding initiative Knowledge for Tomorrow. Post-doctoral Fellowships in the Humanities in Sub-Saharan and North Africa. This program supports high-ranking scholars in the humanities and social sciences on their way to becoming university professors and assists them in establishing international collaborations, academic networks and the training of young scholars - a contribution to capacity building at African universities.
    Led by: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald, African History, Department of History
    Team: Rahel Kühne-Thies, M.A., African History, Department of History and Petra Rothenhäuser, Administration, Department of History.
    Year: 2013
    Funding: VolkswagenStiftung

Completed Research Projects

  • Symposium „Dealing with Violence - Resolving Conflicts in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean“
    The use of violence as a resource of power, as a means of containing social crises, or as a means of settling internal and inter-societal conflicts has also permeated political orders and social systems in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean in various forms, and not only since the beginning of European expansion.
    Led by: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald, Prof. Dr. Christine Hatzky, (Latin American History, Department of History), Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Gabbert (Cultural Anthropology/Sociology, Institute of Sociology)
    Year: 2022
    Funding: VolkswagenStiftung
  • PAESE - Provenance Research in Non-European Collection and Ethnography in Lower Saxony
    The collaborative research project PAESE, is based on a close cooperation of the universities in Hannover, Göttingen and Oldenburg with various museums in Lower Saxony (Hannover, Hildesheim, Göttingen, Braunschweig & Oldenburg). Through the joint research of the non-European ethnological collections there with researchers and museum representatives of the different regions of origin (Namibia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Central Australia & Papua New Guinea), the project systematically contributes to the international transfer of knowledge between universities and museums.
    Led by: Prof. Dr. Reinwald
    Year: 2018
    Duration: 2018-2022
  • Indian Ocean - Space on the Move
    The group research project was conducted at the Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin (today Leibniz Zentrum Moderner Orient) from 2000-2003 under the project management of Dr. Brigitte Reinwald & PD Dr. Jan-Georg Deutsch (†). 'Indian Ocean - Space on the Move' attempts to unravel the complex heterogeneity of the societies on the Indian Ocean rim which have been profoundly affected by the long-term exchange of people, goods, and ideas via the seaways that engendered translocal processes of accommodation and interaction, as well as of conflict and dislocation. Concentrating on the western part of the Greater Indian Ocean, the project focuses on the making (and unmaking) of historical and symbolic spaces and the multiple patterns of social interaction that have evolved in the interstices of land and sea, thus favouring an analytical approach that assumes the existence of historically changing frames of reference. In the case of the Indian Ocean these frames were shaped - inter alia - by shipping routes, 'maritime traffic rhythms', and migration movements within which the coastal towns and villages of the Indian Ocean rim and its islands emerged as nodal points of social, cultural and symbolic contact and communication. The five researchers working within the wider project examine working patterns and networks of maritime labourers (Ahuja), social biographies (Deutsch), diasporic family histories (Hartwig), perceptions and constructions of ethnic and cultural difference (Bromber), and the processing and representation of intercultural relations in the pictographic media (Reinwald).
    Led by: Dr. Brigitte Reinwald & PD Dr. Jan-Georg Deutsch (†)
    Year: 2003
    Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • Akteure des Wandels. Konflikt und Synthese orientalischer und okzidentaler Kulturen in Lebensläufen und Gruppenbildern
    The group research project was part of the research program "Demarcation and Appropriation in Globalization" and was carried out at the Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Berlin (now Leibniz Center for Modern Oriental Studies) from 1998-2000 under the project leadership of Dr. Heike Liebau and Dr. Katja Füllberg-Stolberg. The seven subprojects dealt with individuals and groups in selected regions of Asia and Africa who acted as "agents of change" at the intersections of cultures in the period from the 18th to the mid-20th century. As converts and missionaries, bureaucratic and political elites, peasant leaders, war veterans and Islamic groups, they moved in the field of tension between indigenous traditions, Western modernization, capitalist development and colonial rule.
    Led by: Dr. Heike Liebau und Dr. Katja Füllberg-Stolberg
    Year: 2000
    Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
    Duration: 1998-2000

To the Subject Area African History