Doctorate Projects

Completed Doctorate Projects

„Disparate Zukunftsvorstellungen. Kolonialbewegte Jugend zwischen der Weimarer Republik und dem Mandatsgebiet Südwestafrika“, published entitled: „Kolonial bewegte Jugend. Beziehungsgeschichten zwischen Deutschland und Südwestafrika zur Zeit der Weimarer Republik (Bielefeld: transcript 2019)


Record in the catalogue of the German National Library:

Researcher: Dr. Susanne Heyn
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald / Prof. Dr. Kirsten Rüther (Universität Wien)
Funding: Hans Böckler Stiftung

„Afrikanische Initiativen zur Abolition an der Goldküste, 1841-1897. Die Einstellung lokaler Akteure zu Sklaverei und Sklavenhandel“, veröffentlicht als: „Von Sklaverei und Freiheit. Afrikanische Initiativen zur Abolition an der Goldküste (1841-1897) (Frankfurt/Main: Campus 2019)


Record in the catalogue of the German National Library:

Researcher: Dr. Steffen Runkel
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald / Prof. Dr. Jan-Georg Deutsch (†), Universität Oxford
Funding: DFG (Joint project „Nach der Sklaverei. Die Karibik und Afrika im Vergleich“)

"Traditions can be changed: Tanzanian nationalist debates around decolonizing ‘race’ and gender, 1960s-1970s”

National independencies in Africa harbored a multitude of hopes, fears and expectations. Tanganyika (the mainland of today's Tanzania), being the first East African state to gain independence in 1961, was no exception to this. A spectrum of Tanzanians worked devotedly to build a society in a country that had been shaped by the “racial” and gender order as well as economic exploitation of colonialism.  After independence, not only politicians but also a public that supported the broad direction of Nyerere’s politics began to explore and debate the specific implications for Tanzania’s nation building project. This project explores how a nation that emerged out of decades of colonialism attempted to restructure itself in independence. In doing so it demonstrates that in the course of the 1960s an increasing spectrum of social groups seized upon the opportunity to voice their opinions, critique and visions for an independent nation. While some aspects, such as the significance of "race" were heavily moderated by the editors, calls for gender equality developed a rather independent dynamic, which included a mounting government critique. However, this development began to dwindle quickly with the independence of the former Portuguese colonies in 1975.

Researcher: Dr. des. Harald Barre
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald / Prof. Dr. Mathias Bös (Institute of Sociology, LUH)    

Ongoing Doctorate Projects

„Fachkräfte für die Entwicklung. Fortbildungskooperationen zwischen Ghana und den beiden deutschen Staaten, 1956-1976"

From the mid-1950s, both the FRG and the GDR organised developmental training programmes for foreign professionals. The competing programmes in East and West Germany were among the first major development projects in the two German states. In contrast to other developmental measures, the training courses did not take place in Asia or Africa, but in Germany. The German-German competition was particularly strong when African and Asian governments sent skilled workers to East and West Germany, creating a triangular constellation. The effects of this triangular constellation should be examined using a case study: the training cooperation with Ghana. The West African state was one of the first to work with both the FRG and the GDR.
The dissertation project analyses the West German and East German programmes in comparison. Based on the research consensus that development policy was strongly shaped by system conflict, the work asks how the German and African actors negotiated this in concrete interaction. The focus is therefore on a twofold question: Which interests did the governments involved have in the training and further education programmes? And: To what extent did the East-West conflict and North-South relations influence the projects - or what other factors did influence them?
By including not only the East and West German participants, but also the African states and participants as actors in the study, the work allows for a transnational perspective on the history of German development policy. In addition, the analysis of the educational cooperation between Ghana and the Federal Republic and the GDR offers new insights into the specific relationships between these three countries.

Researcher: Jana Otto, M.A.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Birthe Kundrus (Universität Hamburg) / Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald

„Erwerbsstrategien und Wissensproduktion von Objekten der kolonialen Kamerun-Sammlung des Landesmuseums Hannover" (Arbeitstitel)

The dissertation project examines the development of the ethnographic collection of the Landesmuseum Hannover with a focus on the colonial acquisitions of objects from Cameroon. On the one hand, particular attention is paid to the context of the property acquisitions, i.e. the social, cultural, economic, political and legal circumstances under which the objects changed hands. On the other hand, the groups of actors involved in the process of exchanging objects, the associated social transfer of knowledge, the production of knowledge and the change in the meaning of the objects, as well as the collection practices and forms of presentation of the Provinzial- and Landesmuseum in Hannover are to be analysed. The objective is to show the extent to which individual actors exerted influence on social life and the attribution of meanings to objects and which role objects from the colonies played in the exhibitions of the Provinzial- and Landesmuseum in Hannover in general.

Furthermore, the thesis would like to demonstrate that a methodical holistic approach which includes ethnographic and historiographical research methods and thus allows for a change of perspective and takes into account the socio-political framework is indispensable in order to consistently conduct postcolonial provenance research.

Researcher: Bianca Baumann, M.A.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald
Funding: VolkswagenStiftung (Joint project: Provenienzforschung in außereuropäischen Sammlungen und der Ethnologie Niedersachsens - PAESE)

„Fragmente kolonialen Sammelns. Erinnerungskulturen zur Kamerun-Sammlung von Kurt Strümpell (1872-1947) im Museum und der mündlichen Überlieferung“ (working title)

The dissertation project deals with the objects that Kurt Strümpell, an officer from Braunschweig who was deployed in the German colony of Cameroon from 1900-1912, handed over to the museum in his hometown. The objective is to examine how and under what circumstances Strümpell acquired these objects, what acquisition modalities existed and how these were related to German colonial rule. Contexts of violence as well as the diversity and complexity of property acquisitions in the colonial context should be taken into account.

Based on questions of provenance, the investigation investigates various cultures of remembrance about the collection and asks to what extent (post) colonial structures are inscribed in them. How were and are colonial employment contexts remembered or kept silent? The colonial culture of remembrance is questioned on the basis of the museum documentation. In order to research the culture of remembrance in Cameroon, interviews are conducted with representatives of communities of origin. Finally, as a basis for a post-colonial culture of remembrance at the Städtisches Museum Braunschweig, provenance research is carried out with the help of other archival sources, publications by Strümpell and current research literature.

Researcher: Isabella Bozsa, M.A.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Reinwald
Funding: VolkswagenStiftung (Joint project: Provenienzforschung in außereuropäischen Sammlungen und der Ethnologie Niedersachsens - PAESE)