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HomeWriting German Colonial History Today. Renewed Issues and Perspectives

Writing German Colonial History Today. Renewed Issues and Perspectives

Écrire l’histoire coloniale allemande aujourd’hui : enjeux et perspectives

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Published on Thursday, May 02, 2024


What are the new issues and perspectives of writing German colonial history today? This conference attempts to provide an overview of the latest works on German colonialism after more than two decades of research upon that subject. It focuses on four major topics, which are at the core of recent historiographical debates: transimperial connections, the agency of indigenous actors, the extent of German imperialism and postcolonial Germany.



Wednesday, 22 May 2024

  • 6.00 pm – opening keynote Joël Glasman (Universität Bayreuth), The Production of Indifference. Colonialism and the origins of European Apathy

Thursday, 23 May 2024

9.00 am – Welcome and introduction (Delphine Froment, Mathias Hack, Robert Heinze, Tobias Wagemann)

9.30 am – panel 1: The transimperial dimensions of German colonialism

Chair : Christine de Gemeaux (Université de Tours)

  • Benedict Oldfield (Uppsala University), Indians and German colonialism in East Africa
  • Willeke Sandler (Loyola University Maryland), “The War was a great link”: Interwar Tanganyika as Transimperial Space

12.00 am – lunch break

1.30pm – panel 2: The agency of indigenous actors and German colonial rule

Chair: Antje Dietze (Universität Leipzig)

  • Sabine Hanke (Universität Tübingen), Feathers from paradise: Indigenous perspectives on hunting birds of paradise in German New Guinea, c. 1880s-1920s
  • Tiendjo Nouwezem (Université de Douala), Indigenous people in the process of urbanisation in Cameroon during the German period: the case of Douala
  • Kodzo Abotsi (Université de Lomé), Writing German colonial history in Togo based on the writings of the colonized: the case of petitions and newspaper articles (1902-1914)

3.30 pm – Coffee break

6.00 pm – roundtable: German colonialism from both sides of the Rhine – Historical transfers, historiographical dialogue

  • Nina Kleinöder, Christine de Gemeaux, Catherine Repussard and Matthew Fitzpatrick

Chair: Jakob Vogel (Science Po, Paris)

Friday, 24 May 2024

9.30 am - panel 3: The chronological and geographical limits of the German empire

Chair: Nina Kleinöder (Otto-Friedrichs-Universität Bamberg)

  • Katherine Arnold (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München), Natural History Collecting as a Tool for Interpreting German Pre-Colonial Entanglements
  • Paul Csillag (European University Institute Florence), Crusade Romanticism – Friedrich III’s Orientreise as an indicator of imperial intentions
  • Clara Torrao Busin (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris), From a Line on the Map to a Border Corridor to the Front: Spatial and Social Impacts of Border Drawing in the Kionga region (Northern Mozambique)

12.00 am – lunch break

1.30 pm – panel 4: Economy and labour

Chair : Henry Kah (University of Buea)

  • Esther Jocelyne Tonye and Léopold Sédar Edong (Université de Douala et Université de Dschang), Heritage, memory, and German colonial history in Cameroon: between appropriation and rejection? The example of the German bridge over the Sanaga and the Njock railways tunnels in the collective memory of the Bassa people
  • Edith Nadège Tchuenmogne (Université de Dschang), German post-colonial period in the Southern Cameroons: the impact of the return of the Germans to economic life.
  • Tomas Bartoletti (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich), Colonial Beetles in German Samoa: Economic Entomology and the Ecological Crisis in the Coconut Plantations

3.30 pm – Coffee break

4:00 pm – panel 5: Postcolonial Germany and postcolonial worlds

Chair: Jakob Vogel (Sciences Po, Paris)

  • Clémence Andreys (Université de Franche-Comté), Building a new culture of remembrance of German colonization: the works of museums and citizen groups
  • Jana Otto (Leibniz Universität Hannover), Exhibiting or Concealing the Colonial Past? – The Family Archive, Post-colonial Memory, and Material Culture in Germany
  • Derrick Dang (Université d’Ebolowa), Germany in the Cameroonian tourist space from 1896 to 1987. Construction of tourism infrastructure, tourist Germanophobia and promotion of the Cameroon destination
  • 6:00 pm - ending keynote: Matthew P. Fitzpatrick (Flinders University) Liberal Imperialism in German Samoa: Exception, Exemplar or Empire as Usual?

7.00 pm – conference closed

Organising committee

  • Delphine Froment (Université de Lorraine, Nancy),
  • Mathias Hack (Universität Leipzig, Leipzig),
  • Robert Heinze (German Historical Institute, Paris)
  • Tobias Wagemann (École Normale Supérieure, Paris).

Scientific committee

  • Hélène Blais (École Normale Supérieure, Paris),
  • Antje Dietze (Universität Leipzig),
  • Christine de Gemeaux (Université de Tours),
  • Joël Glasman (Universität Bayreuth),
  • Henry Kam Kah (Université de Buea, Cameroun),
  • Walter Nkwi Gam (Leiden University),
  • Catherine Repussard (Université de Strasbourg),
  • Jakob Vogel (Science Po Paris),
  • Yixu Lu (University of Sydney).



  • Institut historique allemand Hôtel Duret-de-Chevry 8 rue du Parc-Royal
    Paris, France (75003)

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Wednesday, May 22, 2024
  • Thursday, May 23, 2024
  • Friday, May 24, 2024


  • colonialisme, histoire coloniale, colonialisme, allemagne, namibie, tanzanie, rwanda, burundi, papouasie nouvelle guinée, togo, cameroun, samoa, postcolonialisme, kaiserreich


  • Robert Heinze
    courriel : rheinze [at] dhi-paris [dot] fr
  • Delphine Froment
    courriel : delphine [dot] froment [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr
  • Mathias Hack
    courriel : mathias [dot] hack [at] uni-leipzig [dot] de
  • Tobias Wagemann
    courriel : tobias [dot] wagemann [at] psl [dot] eu

Information source

  • Delphine Froment
    courriel : delphine [dot] froment [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Writing German Colonial History Today. Renewed Issues and Perspectives », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Thursday, May 02, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/10soz

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